More English language lunacy: pronunciation poem from 1922

Many thanks to my son Tom who found yet another incredible testament to the sheer lunacy of the English language, in a poem written back in 1922 by Gerard Nolst Trenité (1870-1946), a Dutch observer of English.

Poem about English language

Say inveigh, neigh, but inveigle, make the latter rhyme with eagle.

Trust a sensible, no-nonsense Dutchman to show us how ridiculous English can be…and I’m so glad to realise that it isn’t just me, but several other writers over the years, who have felt the same way.

Let me start the ball rolling here in 2018, with three areas of my home city, Milton Keynes, England:

Broughton (pronounced Brawton)
Woughton (pronounced Woofton)
Loughton (pronounced La-owton)

Enjoy…

Gerard Nolst Trenité – The Chaos (1922)

Dearest creature in creation
Studying English pronunciation,
   I will teach you in my verse
   Sounds like corpsecorpshorse and worse. [Read more…]

What to write to overseas friends about Brexit…LOL

As we’re all wondering just what the hell will happen about Brexit to those of us who live in the UK, it can hardly be surprising that people living outside of the UK are utterly bewildered and wondering what even more about what will happen next.

I thought, therefore, that I would jot down a short, jocular poem (which you can sing to a favourite country music track, if you prefer) about Brexit to share when you’re emailing or texting your friends overseas. This poem will explain to them about as much as any of us here in the UK know.

Humorous poem about Brexit
THE BREXIT BLUES

(with apologies for a few expletives, but I have asterisked them.)

I got the Brexit blues, it’s giving me pain, danged Brexit
That Theresa May’s a star but she ain’t goin’ very far
‘Cos those good old boys called “Bruxellaires***
Got her right by her short hairs
And there ain’t nobody figures how she hacks it. [Read more…]

Mini writing tips: your summer menu on HTWB

I’m off home to Canada soon (August 8th) so will be corresponding with everyone from there, until I return to the UK early in September.

And in case anyone’s wondering what happens to my crazy house here in the UK full of rescued dogs and cats? While I’m away my friends move in with even more crazy dogs. So I pity any poor burglar who tries to get through about seven pairs of snapping jaws. Anyway:

Right now I’m working on some handy mini writing tips for you to use…

what do you want help for in your writing

What can you write to help a friend who is seriously depressed?

[Read more…]

Here’s to our Easter Feaster…

Have you started on the Easter eggs yet? Better read this first… (and a very Happy Easter to you from HTWB!)

Here's to our Easter Feaster...

To paint an eggshell
Is an art few do well

EASTER FEASTER

Here comes our Easter
Well, what a feaster!
Stuffing our faces for four solid days [Read more…]

Poet’s Corner: why is GIN so IN?

First, it was coffee. In a mere 20 years we (in the UK) went from “white coffee” or “black coffee” to 37 or more variants of coffee type, milk blend, preparation, flavouring, size, caffeine content and inside leg measurement. Then more recently, we went from “a gin and” (whatever accompaniment) to more than 30 different brands of it served with dozens of mixers from traditional tonic to golden-flecked puréed mosquito spit.

Poet's Corner: why is GIN so IN?

A great new cocktail called a “Mighty Mickey” – gin, lemon, soda and mouse droppings. (Or are they peppercorns? Hmmm.)

For a pre-dinner restaurant drink I will ask for a gin-and-tonic, but my 26 year-old son will chair a 20-minute discussion with the servers on how each of a dozen brands-and-tonic might best suit his mood of the moment.

Coffee is OK. I even know why a “flat white” and a “latte” are different. However for gin, here is an anthem. (NB: should be sung, but it’s not set to music yet. Still waiting to hear back from Ed Sheeran…) [Read more…]

Writing From The Heart – goodbye, my young friend

If you’ve lost a close friend or family member to cancer, this poem of mine may resonate with you. I wrote it about our beautiful 37-year-old cancer group member who passed away in 2017, leaving behind an 8-year-old daughter.

My language is rude as usual, but this time I don’t apologise other than asterisking out the rudest words. I was angry, as we all are at such a cruel curtailment of a young life.

Writing From The Heart: goodbye, my young friend

RIP Deb, whose favourite colour was blue.

DEATH

Who knows when your number’s up.
Three score years and ten, and then? [Read more…]

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