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Crafty Cab

You may have spied an unlikely sight rumbling through the streets around the Alexandra Palace if you were in London in October 2013 – a knitted taxi! You may even have noticed a photo of it in last issue’s Cast On section…. Read more

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Here’s One I Made Earlier

Just got back to Casablanca after an extraordinary week in the UK, which culminated in my appearance live on Blue Peter. Challenging in the extreme, and involving this series of events: 1. Ian and I taking a boat (courtesy of the marina office) to board our Dutch barge, so that we could retrieve the huge […]

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These Doors are Alarmed

A couple of weeks in the UK brings with it the questionable delight of receiving texts to my mobile phone. Received 15:24, from my son’s school. Reminder: Remembrance Service tomorrow. All welcome. Please arrive by 1020, for a 1030 start. There will be a retiring collection. Received 15:25, from the mother of one of Archie’s […]

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Nonsensical Ninnyhammers

It is my great hope and belief that a child who comes across an obscure word such as ninnyhammer or brabbler in my Carnaby stories will repeat it – either using it correctly (with the help of the definitions provided on the page) or however they like – as a form of nonsense word or […]

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Biggys and Numpty Muppets

Harvard professor of psychology Steven Pinker has described language as the means by which we come to pair a meaning with a sound. So when we hear the word chair we visualize something upon which to sit, and when we hear the sound duck we expect to see or hear about a feathered bird. These […]

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The Sense Behind Nonsense

Has anyone else found himself or herself in the situation in which they are trying to communicate with someone in a language that they and the other party don’t have in common? Picture this: you are on holiday – you desperately need a rolling pin (don’t ask me why) but try as you might, you […]

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Sympathetic Oranges

This week, I have been wondering why so many of us have shunned so many fantastic words and phrases that were once woven into our daily use of English. In asking myself this, I realized that I too have dropped certain words. . . When I was young, I once stumbled whilst trying to pronounce […]

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Why bother with ignoramuses?

There’s a word I came across recently: blatteroon. The instant I heard it I knew it was going to be one of my favourite endangered words. This one ticks all the right boxes; sounding great, insulting (without being crude), memorable and surprisingly easy to spell. Meaning ‘a senseless babbler or boaster,’ blatteroon has all but […]

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