A bit of Symi and a lot of word-ramble

September brings cooler weather, though not cold, I am wearing a shirt at the desk in the mornings again, for the first time in a couple of months. But both the balcony and side doors are open and the cat is still trying to sleep on my feet as I work, which is a sure sign that it is still hot enough. When it gets cold he prefers to go and sleep elsewhere, for a reason only a cat would understand. [caption id="attachment_12986" align="alignleft" width="300"]Symi Greece photos Oops, someone left the water running.[/caption] But, while I am at the desk I wonder what the oldest word in the English language is. Why do I wonder this? I have no idea, it’s one of those things only a writer would understand, I suppose. I did a search, online, to see what would come up as the oldest word(s) in the English language and the two top results caught my eye. One was from the Daily Mail and I thought, ‘What would they know? They will probably suggest ‘scandal’ and ‘tripe’ or somesuch, and the other was the BBC. So, caught between a rock and a hard place I went to the BBC first. [caption id="attachment_12987" align="alignright" width="300"]Symi Greece photos How many village bar owners in one place? (Opening of the Jean & Tonic)[/caption] Well, remind me not to apply to Reading University if I want some thrilling word action. “Reading University researchers claim "I", "we", "two" and "three" are among the most ancient…” I was hoping some something like ‘Frahduk’ or ‘Gristwell’, ah well. Apparently the clever folk at the university used computers to analyse the change in words over time and also predicted some words that would go out of use first. They came up with the likes of ‘Squeeze’, ‘Guts’ and ‘Stick’ for reasons only university researches would understand. I was rather hoping for ‘Daly’ and ‘Mail’ and ‘Referendum’ but it looks like they are here to stay. The rest of the knowledgeable BBC article was about scientific research on word development and the use of computers to calculate the rate of change in…. [caption id="attachment_12988" align="alignleft" width="198"]Symi Greece photos At a party on Nimos recently[/caption] When I woke up, I went to the Daily Mail, pausing en route to wonder about anagrams (Milady Ali, I aim daily, A laid Limy, et al) for no reason at all. And wouldn’t you know it? It was the same article as the BBC, only told in a little more depth. Example: 'If you look at "thou", "I" and "who", we can now tell they are probably at least 15,000 to 20,000 years old. The sounds used then for these meanings were probably very similar to those used today.' Interesting but still not the fun read I was hoping for. I went back to my search results: Fart – Wikipedia. Yes, well I’d probably agree with that, and there are some people who do indeed live, breath and probably fart Wikipedia, and someone with no life on their hands but plenty of time has made up a whole page about Fart and claimed it is ‘one of the oldest words in the English vocabulary.’ I’d like to see their source for this claim. Apparently it is kin to the word ‘Ferzan’ which is Old High German. Poor old Germans always get the blame. I smelled (or smelt) a rat though, and things became more complicated on this Fartipedia page as I was told that this word appears in the old English song, ‘Summer Is Icumen In.’ “…where one sign of summer is "bucke uerteþ" (the buck farts).” So we’ve gone from Ferzan to something that sounds like a cat producing a fur ball, ‘Uerteþ!’ And I am not even sure what a ‘þ’ is. [caption id="attachment_12989" align="alignright" width="225"]oldest english words Oldest English words[/caption] Hope is restored as I look at my fourth and, you will be pleased to learn, final search result. “The Project Gutenberg EBook of A Dictionary of the First or Oldest Words in the English Language, by Herbert Coleridge.” Well, at least he has a literary name. So impressed am I by this and by the fact it is completely free, I have even copied the link, so click here if you are a) interested, b) bored, c) still awake.  I’m not going to list them all (phew!) but it starts with Aback, has some gems in the Ws, suck as Wluine, Woht and Wlatful, and ends with Ȝulping. I can only assume that ‘Ȝ’ is a Z. But that’s enough Ȝuling (yeling) from me, I detect a Ȝonie in your voice (yawn) so I‘m off.
Friday, September 19th, 2014 No Comments
Categorized Under: Day to day

Some creative update news today

Shocking The Donkeys, my (co-written) screenplay, is heading for the London Greek Film Festival as you may know. We entered this for the screenplay competition after Anne Zouroudi suggested it to me; I’d not thought of doing that before. [caption id="attachment_12980" align="alignleft" width="300"]Symi Greece photos Random Neil Gosling images today[/caption] It looks like it’s one of the oldest screenplays in the competition, having been written in 2011, but that should make no difference to its chances. It also looks like the scripts get voted on by members of the Greek Film Lovers Club, but to join that you have to sign up for a year and pay. So I'm not asking anyone to do that, it would seem unfair if fiends and family voted as the script with most votes wouldn’t necessarily be the best one, simply the one belonging to people with lots of extended family. So, the script will stand on its own merits. There will be a synopsis and more information about it at the Festival website soon, they tell me. Meanwhile the programme of events has been announced on their site. [caption id="attachment_12981" align="alignright" width="198"]Symi Greece photos Ruin with a view[/caption] I had a reply from a publisher who had asked to see the first three chapters of ‘The Judas Inheritance’. They have now asked to see the whole manuscript, so I need to prepare that. I am a bit sceptical about this particular publisher and won't name them. They have a two-tier system. They publish in the traditional way, small advance or no advance, and you get a percentage of sales etc. And they also ‘vanity’ publish, which is something I won’t do. I suspect they will um and ah over the MS and then write and say they’d love to publish it if I will send them £750 or something, in which case I will say thank you but no thank you, I've already got it for sale at no cost to me. And while that’s going on I think I might have found a course that would suit me. I was looking for an MA as you know, but that’s too expensive for me, even if I did get accepted. But I have found a course through the Writer’s Workshop that says it’s more of a mentoring setup; work with a published author on writing a novel, take as long as you need, within reason, and pay in stages, completing the course when you have a publisher ready novel completed. I’ll be looking into this a bit more over the coming weeks as I save up. [caption id="attachment_12982" align="alignleft" width="253"]Symi Greece photos No idea what this is (oh, I just worked it out. Click to enlarge.)[/caption] The other thing I have been working on, ‘Lonely House’, is still being checked by my editor friend in the UK while I am still sending out letters to agents about it, though I've only written to three so far, none of whom have replied as yet. And as for the film, ‘The Judas Curse’, I have seen the first three minutes of edited and sound-edited footage and it’s looking very good. It’s going to take a while for them to complete it of course, but it should look great in the end. And that’s my current creative news. In the real world, work at the shop continues, the sale is still on, Neil has had nice numbers on his photo walks recently and they are carrying on too, bar work continues and it’s proving hard to get away from it at times, after work I mean, so it’s a case of ‘must try harder’ which I am doing. Let me see, I think that’s it… the cat is okay, the bedroom window still has not been fixed (landlord’s responsibility) but it’s only been five months since he saw it, the ground cover plant thing in the garden has taken off, there’s lots of drilling and banging going on over at Vila Hani and the neighbour’s son has become fixated on 1980’s Rock music, but I can put up with that. It’s all Guns N’ Roses (shooting season has just started) and Bon Jovi at the moment, but I can cope, I'm a Survivor.
Thursday, September 18th, 2014 No Comments
Categorized Under: Day to day

Wine night countdown, our Symi news

We are on a bit of a countdown now, there are only four more wine nights to go until we have our last one, which will be on October 13th weather permitting. Monday nights’ was an excellent one, as they tend to be, with around 40 to 50 people coming down to have a browse, a buy, a drink and a chat. The photos today were taken by Allan. [caption id="attachment_12974" align="alignleft" width="300"]Symi Dream wine night (photo by Allan Robinson) Symi Dream wine night (photo by Allan Robinson)[/caption] So, a lot of people have been asking, ‘What are you going to do when you close the shop?’ And really they should be asking Neil because I will carry on carrying on doing what I do when I carry on doing my stuff: writing, bar work, more writing. Neil on the other hand will be looking for something to do, but there’s no rush to find it just yet. We’re going to bring things back from the shop and make an office/den/lair upstairs in the moussandra so he can work from there. But all in good time. It’s not the end of the season yet. [caption id="attachment_12975" align="alignright" width="300"]Symi Dream wine night (photo by Allan Robinson) Symi Dream wine night (photo by Allan Robinson)[/caption] No sir, in fact it is currently busy season, at least it is at the bar where I had my first real panic, ever, yesterday. Some of the local guys were there when I arrived, as they often are, and they were drinking bottles of beer. When the time came for the next order I started ringing the items into the till, fine. We use a code so you put in, for example, 22 for a large beer, 21 for a small, and so on. Well, I don’t often serve this particular bottled beer so I looked up the code, 19, and tapped it in, then, luckily I checked the display on the till to make sure I’d done it correctly. It read something like: Small beer, 2.50, Ouisky 3.50, Xeiniken 333,250…. What?! Mild panic. Call for Stathis to help me find the cancel button… No can do. Look in instruction manual… No help. Phone Jenine… Jenine pops up, finds cancel, it cancels the Ouiski (Whisky, there’s no W in Greek) but not the incredibly expensive Xeiniken (Heiniken, to use the character H would come out at Ieiniken or something). What to do? I don’t want to trouble Yianni during his siesta, and I can't leave the thing un-rung as I need to ‘cut’ the receipt. So I think, ‘oh well, I put in the correct code,’ (checks code, yes I was right) ‘so if the machine has been incorrectly coded that’s not my fault. Yiannis can explain the incredible cost of a bottle of beer.’ And I press Total. [caption id="attachment_12976" align="alignleft" width="300"]Symi Dream wine night (photo by Allan Robinson) Symi Dream wine night (photo by Allan Robinson)[/caption] And all is explained, all is well too, I am pleased to say. The till receipt makes it clear. Whereas the till display is all bunched up, the receipt has a little extra room and reads: Xeiniken 330 cl €2.50 – so that was a great big Phew! And probably the most exciting moment of my bar career this year. And so, after that excitement, what other news? Well, none that I can really think of. We have a quiet week this week (famous last words) after the previous couple of very social weeks. The next big thing to look forward to is a birthday on a boat trip on 28th – meanwhile, I am planning new teeth sometime this week, or I will be when the dentist phones to say the crowns have arrived. And then, I hope, that will be them all sorted for a long while. I am still looking around for a possible learning endeavour for the winter too, some kind of writing course, but have not found anything yet that I can afford, that’s of a suitable level of challenge. And that’s about it for updates today so I’ll potter off and be back tomorrow.
Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 No Comments
Categorized Under: Day to day

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