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Word of the Week: Panic

a pan

Today is Friday 13th. As if we haven’t got enough to worry about. In fact, we’ve got a pandemic to panic about – a pandemic that’s causing pandemonium. A pandemic that’s causing pandemonium in Pangbourne.

You’ll have noticed that all these words begin with ‘pan’ and you’ve probably guessed what’s coming next: they’re all related, right? (more…)

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Word of the Week: Wet

otter word of the week

It’s hard to say this when there are otters swimming down your street and your living room’s knee deep in sewage but we ought to be grateful for the rain. It’s a wet planet we live on – 71% of its surface is covered in water (probably more like 72% at the moment) – and that is what makes it our home.

We are wet. More than 50% of the human body is water and if we don’t drink the stuff for three days we die. Simple as that. We wouldn’t last long on Mars.

The reason I’m telling you all this stuff you probably already know is because of the word dishevelled. I’ll explain. (more…)

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Word of the Week: Form

form word of the week

Apologies if you’re still recovering from filling in your Tax Return and have had it up to here with forms, but this won’t tax you, there are no cookies to approve and, as an incentive, I’ve thrown in an interesting fact about cheap worktops that you might want to share in the pub this evening. I’m not here to bother you with questions. Well, apart from these two…


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Word of the Week: Tackle

At 11pm tonight (our time, not their time), the UK leaves the EU. Life will never be the same again. Well, until 2.15pm tomorrow when Wales welcome Italy to Cardiff. And then 4.45pm when Scotland play Ireland in Dublin. And then 3pm on Sunday, when England tackle France in Paris.

Tackle – there’s a word that transcends international borders – French: tacle; Welsh: taclo; Scottish: tackle… We adopted it from the Germans and it has become an essential word in the culture of English-speaking countries. (more…)

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Word of the Week: Gargle

Gargle word of the week

The sun is out, the sky is blue, Trump hasn’t nuked anyone for a day or two, but it’s raining – raining in my heart.

Or rather head.

For reasons best known to itself, and without issuing demands, some virus or bacterium or other has chosen to attack my head, causing the various fleshy chambers inside by skull to go into the mucus business, in the same way that Ford went into the car business. (more…)

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Word of the Week: Nibble

Ainsley. Babcock. Bland. Carthorse. Dint. Ellesworth-Beast Major. Ellesworth-Beast Minor. Haemoglobin. Kosegin. Loudhailer. Mattock. Nancy-Boy Potter. Nibble. Orifice. Plectrum. Poins. Sediment. Soda. Ta. Undermanager. Zob.

Those of you with long memories and a birth date prior to 1970 will immediately recognise this as the register of names that featured in Rowan Atkinson’s ‘schoolmaster’ sketch, one of the highlights of The Secret Policeman’s Ball of 1979 – back in the days when charity fundraisers brought out the best in live entertainment, not the worst.


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