But you’ve GOT to get written permission…!

“But you should have got written permission!” shouted the Chairperson of a charity group, connected to a public sector entity, of which I am a member. “Why the hell didn’t you?”

“Permission to do what?” I snorted.

“Well, permission to take photos of that department which we were asked to critique.”

“I made sure there were no staff members or other people in the photos as the rules state, and just illustrated the problem rather than write it all out.Must get written permission“But you should have got permission!”

“From whom? We don’t need permission if there aren’t any staff members or other people in shot.”

“Oh, well, I don’t know, but you should have got permission.”

Our Chairperson at the time was a retired formed Head Honcho within another public sector organisation. Given his high-flying title you’d think he would have been very comfortable with decision making and knowledge of who needs what permissions to do what, where, when and more. [Read more…]

Essential Latin phrases for your next trip to southern Europe…

You never know when a little conversational Latin might come in handy. Some years ago at a lunch party I sat next to a lovely lawyer – the father of a friend of mine – whose only quirk was that halfway through a sentence he would switch from speaking English, into Latin. He would continue in Latin for several minutes before casually resuming English.

Latin not exactly being my second language, I smiled beatifically and used the downtime to chew my food.

Funny Latin phrases

Sentio aliquos togatos contra me conspirare. (I think some people in togas are plotting against me.)

What made it even more unusual was that far from this being in a romantic, vine-draped al fresco restaurant in Tuscany … or even a studious, book-lined coffee shop in Oxford or Cambridge … this was on a farm in rural Leicestershire, England.

No wonder the lawyer’s wife drank. She would be on the tipple of sweet vermouth from shortly after breakfast and by tea-time was almost catatonic. I guess her Latin wasn’t much better than mine.

To help you avoid a similar fate, here are some Latin phrases you might find useful on your travels

[Read more…]

Writing about cycling dangers: where next?

About a year ago I was trolled by nearly 400, er, trollers, because I wrote a social media post saying that the death of a lady cyclist – mother, and citizen – due to a collision with a van in one of the UK’s very crowded town centres – might have been avoided had there been better (and separated) facilities for motor-powered vehicles and cycles in that town.

Writing about cycling dangers: where next?

“Actually motorists give cyclists a wider berth if they aren’t wearing helmets, anyway” says Rosie. Would you take that chance? And with your small child in a flimsy cycle trailer?

These cyclist trolls infested every element of my social media presence, my Amazon author page, my Google status and more to the point threatened me in my home (at the time I lived alone) and followed me around in every imaginable online place.

They were furiously writing to all and sundry about what an awful woman I must be to say that cyclists should watch out for motorised traffic and ride defensively, rather than blithely hit the roads and expect any other road users to shape up and ship out of the way. Especially in the southern part of the UK where totally inadequate roads are mostly choked with heavy traffic and grumpy drivers, the self-righteous superiority attitude of many cyclists is, in my view, an accident waiting to happen.

Here we go again … are small children safe on crowded roads in these flimsy cycle trailers?

[Read more…]

Writing by hand – why it’s still so important for everyone

I am the world’s most terrible scribbler.

Writing by hand - why it's still so important for everyone

Are you addicted to scribbling notes?

I hand-write all over everything in my (home) office. I have scribble pads in my living room. Beside my bed. In my bathroom (yes, really.) I write all over those pads during the day and collect up the scraps of paper each morning to see if any of the rantings make sense.

Most don’t, but a few do escape recycling.

But that’s not writing by hand. [Read more…]

Weddings – it’s official. Women’s speeches are IN!

Society eyebrows were raised in many well-heeled quarters a few weeks ago when Meghan Markle let it be known that she was going to make a speech at her wedding to the UK’s very eligible bachelor, Prince Harry.

Weddings: it's official - women's speeches are IN

In the modern world of the 21st century, women have been making wedding speeches for many years. But a High Five to Meghan Markle who, we’re told, intends to make a speech at her upcoming wedding to the UK’s Prince Harry in May 2018 despite this being a break in royal protocol…

“Meghan Markle will be doing things differently from those who wed at Windsor Castle before her, with reports that she is planning on breaking tradition by giving her own speech,” wrote Rose Burke in The Independent, Jan 29th 2018. “As an advocate for women, it shouldn’t be too surprising that Markle plans on ditching the tradition. In a not-so-distant past, women were considered to be little more than property worth about as much as a few cows and a small patch of grass. Owned by their fathers from birth, girls would eventually be married off to the highest bidder.” [Read more…]

Spelling: how to tell your Ances from your Ences

When you’re writing, have you always thought that whether a word ends in “ance” or “ence” is pretty much a guessing game? I did, until I started researching for this series. And I’m delighted to tell you that there is a little bit of logic in there, somewhere, after all. For some “ances” and “ences,” anyway. But let’s get the illogical ones out of the way first…

Spelling: how to tell your Ances from your Ences

Whether we like it or not, correct spelling does matter. And not just in the supermarket…

Words that end in either Ance or Ence, for no obvious reason

Of course with English being English, there are some exceptions. Most of the grammar resources I checked out basically throw their hands up in the air and say “exceptions? Just memorise them.” So let’s start with those: there is no reason why they end as they do, other than the peculiarities of this crazy language. [Read more…]

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