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Word of the Week: Own

person alone in silhouette

I recently had the melancholy experience of stumbling across an obituary for someone I know. Or knew. Stuart Christie, a daring anarchist who conspired to blow up General Franco and was nearly executed as a result, turned up next to me one day on the subs desk at Auto Express. He was one of two genuine anarchists on the desk at the time. And if you think that’s unusual, sitting opposite us was John L Walters from the band Landscape (remember Einstein A Go-Go?).


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Word of the Week: Ghost


It’s come to my attention that some of you think Brian, who fills in for me here occasionally, is a figment of my imagination – a spirit, a wraith, an eidolon, a kelpie… or just some bloke I made up to keep myself company.

So, to prove that he is real flesh and blood and not just some sprite conjured from the misty marshland of my mind, I asked Brian to write this week’s word and guess what he came back with…


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Word of the Week: Penchant

socks on a washing line

I’ve often extolled the virtues of the English language and its ability to provide precisely the right word for any given situation but, in truth, this isn’t entirely the case. Despite centuries of evolution, of growing and morphing to reflect the trends of any given time, there are still gaps – vocabularial holes that English alone has failed (or rather, not bothered) to plug.

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Word of the Week: Canvas

Tent in a storm

It’s camping season again. The sites and their toilets are open once more (you can almost smell it) and happy campers throughout the UK will be asking the usual questions: Where shall we go? What’s the weather doing? Have we actually got a tent? Is it watertight? What did you do with the pegs? How’s your lumbago? And what’s the correct spelling of canvas? (more…)

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Word of the Week: Roger

Jolly Roger pirate flag

There are certain customary jokes that are so well worn that they have ceased to be jokes at all and have shrunk back into the shadowy alcove of mundane tradition, as automatic as saying “bless you” when someone sneezes. For example, a friend sends you details for a meet-up of some kind; you respond with the universally recognised word of acknowledgement “Roger”; and they come back saying, “No, he can’t make it this week.” (more…)

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Blackcurrant and Rhubarb Cake

blackcurrant and rhubarb cake

It’s July and the blackcurrants are ripe, raising the perennial question: what the hell do you do with blackcurrants? Not a big fan of the jam. Can’t seem to make it taste like Ribena or fruit gums. At the same time, my rhubarb is throwing up its usual disappointingly small stalks (maybe I bought a bonsai version by mistake). So I decided to try adapting a favourite apple cake recipe to see if it might prove a tasty depository for all those blackcurrants and scraps of rhubarb. And guess what – it’s a bloomin’ revelation! (more…)

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