Sunday, 27 March 2011

More Walks

Much walking this week, a delight in the pleasant early spring sunshine. Not only will this benefit the waistline (ok substitute 'create' for 'benefit'), it also blows away the cobwebs and gets the creative juices flowing.
Most of my recent strolls have included the tow path of the Coventry Canal. Monday I strolled around the Kingsbury Water Park and Middleton Hall. On Friday the walk began on Hartshill south of Atherstone and descended through woodland to that same canal. It was a little early for the bluebells to be in bloom, however in two weeks I can guarantee the blue carpet will be a sight to behold.
I found the walk at the AA site and was glad I chose such a lovely day. The lingering mist in the vale did nothing to spoil the view, as this picture shows. The gradient quoted of almost 300 feet (90 metres) may sound a little daunting, however the ascent is not as steep as the descent through the woodland and even then it is quite manageable. However I did find the quoted minimum time of 90 mins rather ambitious. True, I did turn and explore the canal to the southeast before retracing my steps along the suggested route and did linger in conversation with a very charming lady exercising her dogs, yet I still reckon two hours would be more reasonable. Furthermore all three stiles have been replaced by kissing gates.
Walking again tomorrow, taking advantage of the reasonable weather before the rains descend later in the week. This time exploring the National Forest, the former Leicestershire coalfields and the Ashby Canal.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Healthy Body, Creative Mind

Over the last couple of weeks the first real signs of spring have allowed me to get back out on the road. We hear more than enough about the woes of being locked inside during the shorter days of winter - lack of sunshine means a deficiency of some vitamin or other while SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is held responsible for poor output.
Never having suffered from SAD (nor man flu either), I will admit the winter months have been detrimental to my writing. Hence I have taken advantage the sunnier days and trodden the footpaths near my home in Staffordshire. Not that I have ignored my writing while on these walks. On the contrary, it has enabled me to catch up on a number of podcasts, and also cleared my head enough to make a few notes on ideas for the future.
Just taking a few short hours away from the desk has helped immensely. Undoubtedly my writing had become a little stale while I have been locked inside and has benefitted from this breath of fresh air (and, as an added bonus, so has my fitness).
While I will undoubtedly clock up many miles behind the wheel in the coming months, I shall certainly do my utmost to continue to take time out to meander the footpaths, tow paths, and tracks of our green and pleasant land. Should you spot a figure plodding across country, holding an animated conversation when there is nobody else in sight, and going to great lengths to ensure he has the map the correctly oriented, I can guarantee that figure would by most appreciative of a cuppa (milk, no sugar).

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Free-Dumb of Speech

Grammatical errors and incorrect use of words is not a new phenomenon. Simply the ease by which we communicate in the twenty-first century has brought these annoyances to our attention.
I was born after received pronunciation had been largely abandoned by the BBC. During my formative years accents were heard everywhere - for example Michael Parkinson was probably the biggest thing on the BBC in those days, while Eddie Waring was heard every Saturday afternoon on Grandstand. Both northerners, their accents betrayed their origins but their words and grammar were quite correct. Today many presenters make a string of errors and effectively pass these on to the public.

For example, I hardly ever hear "bored with...." this days, the vast majority say "bored of....." which can only be through confusion between 'board' and 'bored'. Hence many must think the government has an office examining why the country is Board of Trade.

Could've (and should've) are perfectly acceptable contractions, short for 'could have' and 'should have' respectively. Yet when this word is split into its two constituents parts, most often for emphasis, we continually hear "Could of..." and "Should of...." or even "Could off ..." and "Should off...." in writing. I am bracing myself for the Facebook entry stating "Emma wants to off her baby at home."

Use of 'Pacific' instead of 'specific' can only be because these are people who simply never bother to read. Similarly the regions at the north and south poles are said to be the Artic and Antartic, when the map clearly shows the Arctic and Antarctic - an error also heard when purchasing an "artic roll".

Since the advent of the internet it has highlighted how so many simply have no notion of the correct use of it's and its; your and you're; to, too, and two; their, there and they're; who and whom; even an and and!

In conversation you still here libry or libary instead of library; borrowed instead of loaned; hampster instead of hamster; and increasingly esculator instead of escalator. Incidentally, please note the plural of TEXT is TEXTS and never TEXES. While "yeah?" and "right?" and "ok?" are never going to replace full stops, commas, or colons, nor will every sentence be a question, so please desist.

Finally a personal hate. The letter H is pronounced 'aitch' (look in the dictionary) it is NOT HAITCH as we hear again and again. Indeed it is constantly broadcast on ITV2 trailers suggesting such a programme is also available on "ITV2 Haitch Dee"