River Wissey Lovell Fuller


January 2004

Les has a tilt at modern English useage

I have always enjoyed a play on words so it came as no surprise that I was pleased to read about a Crystal Palace footballer, Gerry Queen, who was sent off in a match for fighting. Next day a newspaper headline read, "Queen in brawl at Palace". Nice one.

Another one referred to Douglas Bader, a famous fighter pilot who lost both legs in a plane crash, and was later awarded the Victoria Cross. The headline read, "Legless VC opens new Pub". Yet another one was about the British 8th Army during the last war. It read, "8th Army push bottles up Germans" This last one however owes more to the absence of an apostrophe. If you put this after the word "push" then it makes more sense.

It could be said who cares about whether you use the apostrophe? Who cares about punctuation? The remarkable thing is that the best selling book at this Christmas just gone is just that, a book all about punctuation.

I was recently in conversation with a dear friend of mine, no it wasn't the delectable Miss Jones, she's gone cavorting off with some Airman at Lakenheath. "I am very interested in Anglo-American relations," she told me and that was the last I saw of her. No, I'm talking about my other dear friend an ex-school teacher, and I said to him one day, can you talk to me in a language I don't understand? To which he replied, you want me to speak in German or French? I said no, stick to English; which left him totally confused. I had to remind him that I left school at 13 and that when he started talking about nouns, verbs, plurals, adjectives and even definitive nouns whatever they are, I had to hold my hands up in protest. I didn't understand a word he was saying. In fact he might just as well have been talking German or French.

He was, as it happens, the same person who introduced me to the word, "Missive". One day he said to me "I see you are still busy with your missives!" To which I had to ask him what he meant? I hadn't got a clue. It could be said that if I have now reached the age of 74 does it matter if I don't know my definitive nouns from my missives, so what? I have managed ok up to now. But I don't think I go along with that, after all it's never too late to learn.

And this was brought home to me when I recently went to Methwold Church to listen to the Downham Swing Orchestra. Playing the Saxophone, which is of course my favourite instrument, was a certain person who is 80 years young and it seems he started to play the Sax. only three years ago. So if this young man can do it, so can I. After all, I have already got my Saxophone; not only that but I'm six years younger, a mere chicken.

Finally can I put in a plug for my Book for which, at the moment, sales stand at over 200? Should anyone who likes reading, like what I write, like a copy please give me a call, 728482, and I will be pleased to come and see them.

Les Lawrence

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