As a child and early teen, the vocabulary and pronunciation of my native tongue were expanding. We lived in a relatively posh neighbourhood. The influence of the maternal side of the family, hailing from the Black Country was limited. Sadly the memory of my grandfather speaking has faded.

According to Wikipedia the ‘Black Country dialect preserves many archaic traits of Early Modern English and even Middle English and can be very confusing for outsiders.’

A typical informal greeting would be ‘Owamya aer kid?’ (How are you?). A suitable response could be, ‘Ar ah’m owkay tar’ (Yes, I’m okay, thank you).

My accent has softened; it is frequently incorrectly identified as Scouse or northern English. This would fit with the influence of the paternal family coming from Wales.

Being a shy introvert, I relied on myself to interpret and solve the idiosyncrasies of the English language aided with a dictionary, although I did not understand phoentic spelling.

A notable example of silently self learning was the word ‘determine’. For years I read it as ‘debtor-mine’. I somehow interpreted sentences without understanding the meaning of the word.

What a revelation it was when the realisation dawned.

Halcyon daze?

Today, Friday 13th, lunch time, I was drifting off, post quiche Lorraine and salad. My consciousness was teleported to a moment in my teenage years. A warm English Summer’s day in 1979.

I vividly remember the gentle breeze as I lay on a sun parched patch of grass in Birmingham. Dozing as I listened to Knock on Wood by Amii Stewart on a battery operated, handbag sized, portable cassette player with carry handle. Very similar to the one pictured above, I would record songs from the radio.

The weight of my eyelids was getting the better of me as I drifted off whilst reading a paperback science fiction novel, The Weapon Shops of Isher by A. E. van Vogt.

Halcyon daze?


The past tense of dig is dug, surely jig and jug follow the same rule. The basis of the English language is far more complex.

The verse below is extreme frippery. Reflections of musings of three letter words ending in ‘ig’ that have a corresponding ‘ug’ ending word.

Big bug in the fug
did not dig the fig
He dug the Mig on
A rig.

Pig the pug plays tig
On a rug and does
Jig in a jug on
A tug

The first draft was constrained by four single syllable words per line, the first letter of the three letter words, alphabetically, dictated the order of the lines, and ug after ig.

A big bug did
Dig and dug not
A fig in the fug
Nor jig in a jug

Mig on a mug
Pig the pug goes
To rig a rug
For tig and tug

Chalk bytes

Playing with ArtStudio at the weekend reminded me of primary school; we were equipped with wooden lift topped desks although we didn’t use the inkwells. I remember having and using a personally assigned timber framed rectangular slate and white chalk. Compared to todays high tech world this period of change from nib and ink to ball point and felt tip pen was like upgrading operating systems.