Have you eaten Granny?

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Hopefully NOT! But, people might think you have if you forget a simple comma. ‘Have you eaten, Granny?’ Sounds a lot better. Don’t you agree? Or maybe you did eat Granny *laughs* ~ joking, naturally.

Language is what makes us human. As the philosopher, Bertrand Russell, remarked one day: ‘No matter how eloquently a dog may bark, he cannot tell you that his parents were poor but honest. Only language can do that.’

Language is also power, and how we use it defines us. Think of Winston Churchill: ‘I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.’

And since the way we use language tells the world so much about us, it’s worth getting it right. Especially important as a writer. I’m a perfectionist. I edit and re-edit a zillion times, before sending my manuscript off to my publishers. There are NO typos in my books. Go on, check for yourselves: The Adventures of Eric Seagull ‘Storyteller’ 3-book-series

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I’m a punctuation perfectionist. (That doesn’t mean to say I always get it right, but I always aim to).

As a child, I would often read (yes) read the Oxford Dictionary. So many words…I found fascinating. My eldest daughter often says, ‘why use that word when something simple will do?’ BECAUSE MY LOVELY DAD DID IT ALL THE TIME! When she asks, ‘what does that mean’ (and she’s nearly 42). Cough! Get a grip. Why use simple words…when a more complicated word slips so easily off the tongue… sighs! My lovely dad taught me so much. And like a sponge, I soaked it up.

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Words have always fascinated me. So many meanings. When I lived at home with my parents, my dad liked nothing more than to stay up until 2am playing scrabble. I often won. He challenged most of my words. ‘Fair play’ he would nod, before heading off to bed.

I believe that people with better English skills are healthier and live longer lives because they (we) can understand and communicate better with doctors, nurses, and carers. And, alarmingly, good english is under threat. I blame most (not all) of this on mobile phone text messages! What kind of language is that? I write a text message in full, and with (ahem) commas!

Shut Up!

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

And it is not only children. Three-quarters of adults now use emojis to communicate with one another. If a small digital image – designed by someone else and generated for you (reader) – can express how you feel, who needs words? I DO!

Punctuation is essential to clear communication. Without punctuation, no one knows what’s going on. It is crucial…but the rules are changing. Spelling is important today in a way that it wasn’t when Shakespeare was a boy. My main character in my 3-book-series could do with a few English lessons. But then, he isn’t human, is he? No. He’s a Brixham seagull, for heaven’s sake. But, a clever one. Reporter for the Brixham Times newspaper, indeed. You can take a peep at my books, just click the link: Amazon Book Page    

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Grammar isn’t set in stone. Once upon a time, to split an infinitive was wrong, wrong, wrong. Since the coming of Star Trek in 1966, promising ‘to boldly go where no man has gone before’, we’ve all been at it. So to speak!

Well, not all of us! A few!

The rules may change, but it is important to know then, nonetheless.

FULL STOPS

IN TEXTS and tweets and even emails, some people seem to think any punctuation unnecessary. WRONG! It may take you marginally less time to write, but it will almost certainly take the intended recipient marginally longer to absorb. That is why, for example, (smiles now) (i.e) or even (e.g) – in the age of the telegram, when you paid for each word used, senders were ready to pay to include the word STOP if it helped make their message more comprehensible. I remember when my dad received a telegram on Christmas Eve (when I was young and only 21) informing him his mother, my Gran, had passed away.

In a nutshell, in contemporary written English full stops are used: (take a breath)

  1. To mark the end of a sentence that is a complete statement: You are reading my book. Thank you. (one hopes)
  2. To mark the end of a group of words that don’t form a conventional sentence, so as to emphasise a statement: You are reading my book. My book. Wow. Thank you.
  3. In some abbreviations, for example, Jan., if a full stop comes at the end of a sentence, you don’t need to add another full stop.

SEMI-COLONS

THIS won’t take long; it’s important, believe me.

Read that last sentence out loud and you should see exactly what the semi-colon is doing. It’s providing a pause that is longer and more significant than a comma, and less abrupt and intrusive than a full stop.

For those who relish nuance in their punctuation it’s the go-to punctuation mark. I love the semi-colon; for my money, it’s undervalued and underused. Many haven’t a clue when to use it, of course. Smiles broadly.

It should be used between two main causes that balance each other – or contradict each other – but are too closely linked to be written as separate sentences: I love my dog; she loves me. Yes, she does.

You must use a semi-colon when a comma is replacing a full stop in a quotation, or a quotation is linking two separate sentences: ‘I’m so sorry to have to tell you this,’ he said; ‘your cat as croaked.’

‘Would you like her cremated?’ his assistant inquired; ‘we have a special offer this month.’

2015-02-01 13.37.19With me thus far? Lips are getting dry. Nips out to put the kettle on.

I’m back in the, er, room. 

Semi-colons come in handy, too, with lists, when a comma alone is not up to the job.

COLONS

THINK of it as a pair of binoculars place vertically on the table. The binoculars (bins, ahem) will remind you of the colon’s core purpose. It is there to help you look ahead. I LOVE A COLON.

The colon does not separate or stop (like the comma, semi-colon, or full stop): it introduces what lies ahead: it takes you forward.

You can use the colon for three principal tasks:

  1. To introduce a list: Five people walk into a bar: an Englishman, an Irishman, a Scotsman, a bishop, and an actress.’ No, it’s not a dirty joke I’m about to tell you all…though I know a man who would.
  2. To introduce direct speech: “The barman asks: ‘Is this some kind of joke?”’
  3. To introduce an explanation or summary of the first part of the sentence or to take it further in some way: “There are two problems with this joke: it is teetering on the edge of political incorrectness and it isn’t funny.’

APOSTROPHES

ACCORDING to every public opinion survey, the misplaced apostrophe – are the two linguistic horrors that distress most of us the most. Probably authors.

LOOK around you as you walk down any street and they hit you in the face like a series of Smokin’ Joe Frazier’s left hooks. They’re unbearable – and everywhere. Incredibly, not everyone feels the same way.

My cuppa tea’s gettin’ cold – slurps! Translated – My cup of tea is cold.

Thanks for dropping by today.

Cazzy

My books Caz Greenham, Children’s Author 

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Found any typos in my post?

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Caz x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Time…to sit and stare

I thought I’d share this poem with you today. How often do we take time to sit and stare, and take in the natural beauty all around us? Most of the photos are my own.

What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare. No time to stand beneath the boughs and stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass, where squirrels hide their nuts in grass. No time to see, in broad daylight, streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at beauty’s glance, and watch her feet, how they can dance.

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No time to wait till her mouth can enrich that smile her eyes began. A poor life this if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.

By William Henry Davies.

Before you go, do drop by and browse my books 📚

The Adventures of Eric Seagull Storyteller 3-book-series

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img_1735A poem a day.

Christina Rosetti – Remember

Remember me when I am gone away,

Gone far away into the silent land;

When you can no more hold me by the hand,

Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.

Remember me when no more day by day

You tell me our future that you plann’d:

Only remember me; you understand

It will be late to counsel then or pray.

Yet if you should forget me for a while

And afterwards remember , do not grieve:

For if the darkness and corruption leave

A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,

Better by far you should forget and smile

Than that you remember and be sad.

 

 

 

A Poem a day…so they say.

img_1735‘Tis said, ‘a poem a day keeps dementia at bay’ ~ I read in my local newspaper this morning.

‘At whatever age you are,’ according to a professor, ‘you still have the capacity to learn new things if you put your mind to it. There’s no shortage of brain cells as you grow older.’ Well, I have to agree with him on that one.

And here’s one to get you started:

William Shakespeare – Sonnet 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate.

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimmed;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,

Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,

When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Before you go: browse my books

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Beatrix Potter. Queen of The Lake District.

Beatrix Potter…my favourite author…

IRELAND TODAY

Beatrix Potter, the writer of one of the most beloved children’s book of all time, The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902), was a woman of immense talent, indefatigable spirit, and generous heart.

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Helen Beatrix, the eldest of the two children of Rupert and Helen (Leech) Potter, was born on 28 July 1866 at 2 Bolton Gardens, South Kensington, London.  Although Beatrix and her brother, Walter Bertram (1872-1918), grew up in London, both were deeply influenced by long family holidays in the countryside, first in Scotland and later in the English Lake District, and by their northern roots.

As was the custom in families of her class, Beatrix was educated at home by several governesses.  An eager student of languages and literature, she grew up loving classic folk and fairy tales, rhymes and riddles.  Her talent for drawing and painting was discovered early and encouraged.  She drew her own versions of such stories as Cinderella

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Join Me On My Stroll in #Brixham Bay

Pretty Brixham. I wouldn’t live anywhere else! And why would I?

Photos (and I have many) taken during my dog walk in the picturesque Fish Town of Brixham Bay.

All Saint’s Church situated just a short stroll from my home and has so much history. At 8pm each evening, we can hear the church bells ringing out “Abide With Me” (a Christian hymn) written in 1847 by Scottish Henry Francis Lyte. He set it to music while he lay dying of tuberculosis; he only survived a further 3 weeks after its completion.

It is most often sung to English composer William Henry Monk’s tune entitled “Eventide” composed in 1861.

Henry Francis Lyte

Shortly after Lyte’s arrival in Brixham, the minister attracted such large crowds that the church had to be enlarged – the resulting structure later described by his grandson as a “hideous barn-like building”.

Stunning view across the outer harbour.

Lucy and Rosie

So well-behaved off their leads

Oxen Cove. Battery Gardens. Furzeham Green

Stunning sea views

I tend to use my iPhone to snap photos while I’m out and about in the bay. It’s small, easy to put in my bag or pocket. I’ve got a ‘real’ camera 🎥 but it’s a bit bulky to carry round. I might get mistaken for a sight seeing holidaymaker 😎 *laughs•

And then… home…we went!

My Books: The Adventures of Eric Seagull ‘Storyteller’ 3-book-series, set in picturesque Brixham Bay. Available on Amazon and most major online bookshops. Click the link or photo for more detail.

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Brixham Marina. The Spanish El Galeón graced our waters for The Brixham Pirate Festival.

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#Brixham Pirate Festival Weekend 2018

img_0744A sight to behold!

El Galeón weighs 500 tonnes, has an overall length of 160 feet and a beam of 32 feet. Four masts hold 6 sails which measure almost 11,000 square feet.

I was there. Were you? To get me in the mood, we…

…wined and dined (with husband Geoff) at the ever so busy and oh so popular Prince William at Brixham Marina: husband Geoff’s rump steak was cooked to perfecto. So was mine. My large glass of chilled Chardonnay was suitably chilled. Husband’s 🍺 pint of Tribute quenched his enormous thirst.

A huge thank you to the lovely Emma, and staff… we were, as usual, well looked after today.

And then…

the Brixham Fancy Dress… pirate ship… pirates and wenches a-plenty! All willing to pose in front of my lens. “Thanks me lovelies!” Find yerselves, if you be brave anuff!

Below: El Galeon, a Spanish galleon ship birthed at the Marina.

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And now for some ‘ansome pirates!

Busy times in Brixham Bay. Holidaymakers galore, me shipmates! And, The Prince William (my regular eatery when it’s not taken over by pirates, that is).There be that there ship, again! (me talking like a pirate)!

A sleeping pirut! (pirate) No doubt ‘e’ll be walking the plank later, me ‘earties!

What’s going on yer me ‘earties?

Below: And there I be… ‘having a quick photo with a pirut (pirate) wench! (I could get used to this pirate garb)

A pirut (pirate) serenade or three!

They do ‘ang ’em ‘igh in Brixham Bay! Did thee’st know? Anyone know what his crime was? Nor me, and I lives yer! (Bit of my pirate lingo)

They seems like a nice lot! (what a nice bunch)

Yer be another… been in that cage a long time! Aye shipmates!

An’ another…poor sod!

Busy town! Brixham quayside.

And they luvs a bit of sing-song! (great music, lads)

Pondering a bit of plundering, no doubt!

Oh dear, that li’l ‘un aint too ‘happy ’bout the music (bottom right) Never mind, it’ll be over soon anuff me lad. (little boy; bottom corner, not looking too happy)

Pirates love to pose, dids’t thee know?

‘Ansum pair!

Below: Happy to pose for me lens, too. Thank you shipmates.

Hey dudes! Looking good shipmates! Thanks for posing for me lens today! (if you be wanting a copy of yer photo, let me know!) 

Well, someone has to work… Brixham Ferry Service…

A pirut taking a selfie… whatever next? (pirate taking his own photo)

Oops, that seafaring wench has summat in ‘er eye, me ‘earties! (Lady has a fly in her eye)

Couple of sea dogs, i’ll be blowed!

Below: A right ole bunch…up to no good… Pirates of Brixham Bay planning their next a-plundering, no doubt! Looking good me ‘parties! Good looking bunch.

Below: Brixham security! (Well someone’s got to do it!) handsome trio.

Where’s yer pirate clobber, me ‘earties! ‘ansum trio I ever did see. (Mia’s dad in the middle, all the way from Thailand indeed. Welcome to Brixham Bay!

Well… had to have me photo taken with Mia’s dad, didn’t I? All the way from Thailand too!

And so tall, I just had to have another picture! (Shut UP)!

Pirate dog!

Brixham harbour… oh so busy!

And then… home I did walk… back again Monday 7th May for some more pirate photos, and a tasty lunch at my favourite place, The Prince William, just the other side of the harbour. See you there!

Cazzy

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Click here to buy my books ~ The Adventures of Eric Seagull ‘Storyteller’ set in Brixham Bay!

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Thanks me ‘earties!