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And the most hated word in the English language is…

Okay, the methodology kind of sucks here. Looks like they derived it from monitoring tweets and internet chatter, but here goes: the most hated word in the English language is “moist.”

The article is at pains to explain that we aren’t talking “word rage” here — words that are wrong or jargon or trendy or just get on your tits. Like like. Or twerking. Or a’ight.

We’re talking words that are somehow indefinably creepy and wrong. There was speculation that it’s the vaguely sexual nature of “moist” that make it objectionable, but synonyms like wet, damp, soaked, drenched and soggy don’t make the cut. Whereas “ointment” and “goiter” often do — so perhaps it’s the “oi” sound.

What? Yes, this is my post for tonight. Cut me some slack — I was expecting a Dead Pool. I could’ve gone with “Crispi sets fire to house with bacon” or “Forest Hill man dies after vibrator stuck up his bottom“, so count your blessings. And have a good weekend!

August 29, 2014 — 9:41 pm
Comments: 17

…we wait…

I knew somebody was gonna do it. Drew nipped in and got Joan Rivers — and, what’s more, I don’t see a previous pick from him in this Dead Pool, so it’s going to stick.

Unclear what her status is, at the moment. If she’s officially declared dead before 6WBT tomorrow, the new Dead Pool is on! If not, we wait (but I still fancy Drew’s odds). Stay tuned!

Oh, also…poor Joan Rivers. Liked her. Sorry to see her go.

August 28, 2014 — 8:51 pm
Comments: 15

Field trip!

Well, the good news is, field trips for work are to much cooler places than they used to be. The bad news is, they’re as full of stupid bullshit as ever.

Today, I had an all-day class about collecting and storing certain kinds of specimens. Instead of just, you know, telling us important shit we need to know, we started the class by brainstorming. (“You don’t know shit about this subject, so why don’t we write down several flipchart pages of ignorant shit off the top of your head”). And then we had to role-play (“break into groups of two and one of you pretend you’re a brontosaurus and one of you pretend you’re the kind of stupid shit a brontosaurus might eat.”)

Role play. I swear to god we did.

Also, most of it was about applying for grants and handicap access and…oh, I have a bad feeling this is a hotbed of lefty nonsense. Pff! Academics.

August 27, 2014 — 10:06 pm
Comments: 16

Indulge me

You guys’ll have to forgive me; I love this flower festival stuff. It’s so weird and stupid and lovely.

The sheep are made out of teasels. The knight in the stained glass window is Sir William Cock. Here it is big and in color because you know you want it.

I’ll stop now. Season is over. No more flower festivals 🙁


August 26, 2014 — 8:58 pm
Comments: 19

A special message from Her Maj

Or Her Maj’s autopen, anyhoo. Another weekend, another flower festival. Actually, the last we’ll have for the year.

This is a holiday weekend, so there was one final one scheduled for today, but it rained like a bastiche and we didn’t go anywhere. I played Mass Effect and saved the universe. Also, Doritos and Coca-Cola.

As I am technically still on holiday, I bid you adieu. No, nobody had Richard Attenborough.

August 25, 2014 — 10:44 pm
Comments: 6

It ain’t over ’til the fat lady bumps and grinds

Welp, there it is: the official end of Summer. The circus has come to town. Actually, this circus comes to towns all around us beginning in about June, but we traditionally go when it reaches Rye, and we look upon it as the end of the fête season (and the beginning of the bonfire season).

We went last night. It’s a week early this year. That seems about right for this Summer (it’s been gorgeous for the most part, but it’s suddenly gotten chilly).

Every year, this one gets smaller and sadder and we wonder if we’ll see it again. This year, there’s a definite rumor that they won’t be able to use this field again. But if they turn up at all, we’ll go see them in some other town.

I didn’t bother taking a good camera this year. I never get any decent pictures, and last year they fussed at me for trying. I like this grainy cellphone picture Uncle B took anyway. This fat chick had a hula hoop act, and she was awesome. Seriously one of the biggest applause getters of the night.

So there you have it. There she is. Pack up the shorts, folks — it’s over.

August 22, 2014 — 7:58 pm
Comments: 12

Big questions

One last one from the flower festival: the washing up. They just picked a convenient tomb near the door and set up the wash basin. So, there you go.

In our own church celebrations, I’ve been shocked to see wine cooling in the baptismal font and people playing at boules among the graves.

I wish I could convey to you the English attitude to church, at least down here. Remember, I come from a place where church is intense and Jesus-y. The closest church to the family farm was Foot-Washing Baptist (we weren’t members, though). It’s just a whole ‘nother thing.

Church is obviously important to many here, and they put a lot of effort into keeping things going. It is very much about maintaining these beautiful and terribly expensive old buildings. This particular church pre-dates the Norman Conquest — it’s Saxon, for cri-yi.

But it would be a mistake to say the attitude is entirely material and not at all spiritual. There is a sense of the fitness of the ancient rituals, of observing the appropriate rites of birth, marriage and death and the seasonal observances. But, really, I do think many of these churchgoers believe in God and think their prayers go someplace.

It’s all very puzzling.

Now, the big question — the fact they’re nearly all Of A Certain Age, does it mean their kind will die out with this generation, or will the next generation of oldsters step in and take their place? In perpetuity?

August 21, 2014 — 9:51 pm
Comments: 16

Everything’s better with googly eyes

So this village church — the one with the cool tomb — was having its flower festival. That’s why we were there. I’ve posted about flower festivals before — I just love these things. They are so unspeakably weird.

What happens is, the congregation agrees on a theme, and people do flower arrangements based on the theme. Then they place them around the church — including supposedly sacred spaces. Going in, you’re given a program that describes the tableaux by the numbers. Then, at the end, there’s cake and tea.

If that doesn’t sound too weird to you, read on.

The theme of this show was Ladybird Books. Ladybird is a children’s book publisher going back to the Nineteenth C, much like our Little Golden Books. As we rounded the corner, the very first display was a giant decapitated Barbie head on a plinth. You know, like those big doll heads for girls to play with hairstyles. Only, this one didn’t have a neck, and instead of hair, it had long, long tendrils of raw wool hanging down over the drapery. And flowers.

I’m thinking, holy shit it’s the ISIS flower arrangement. I consult my program: Rapunzel. Huh.

There was the Pied Piper, which was a leather hat, flowers and many rubber rats. These googly-eyed vegetables (I have no idea). One old boy had done a large display of plastic dinosaurs and convincingly Jurassic-looking plants. Seriously, there were like thirty of these things all over the church.

Somebody played the organ and we all had tea and cake in the pews.

It’s not all women, but it is all old people. I’ve decided I like old people. Which is just as well, really.

August 20, 2014 — 10:39 pm
Comments: 6


Back in late June, reader rodent rescued up this beautiful beast and named her Suzie. She’d been dumped in an industrial park to fend for herself. Suzie repaid her debt by knitting this beautiful mini-me!

Then I spent some time scribbling flocked wallpaper all over them, because I can’t resist doodling on other people’s cats, and rodent’s photo was a bit dark and unfocused (Suzie, like all good mothers, tucked her infant safely into a dark box).

Just look at those baby toes. We will expect regular doses of d’awww, rodent.

August 19, 2014 — 9:43 pm
Comments: 12

The most gothick thing EVAR

The winged skull is just a taster. Click for the whole tomb.

It’s the grave of John Cheney, who died on the 20th of September, 1601. And presumably his wife and daughter, who are mentioned. I think the slate inscription stone must have shattered as they pulled it out to stuff more people in the ‘ole. Brrr!

This is on the wall left of the altar in a little village church in Sussex. More on that later.

We started Saturday at an airfield, because we heard a rumor the two Lancasters were going to fly over on their way to an airshow.

Of the over seven thousand Lancaser bombers built in WWII, these two are the last in the air, and they’ve been kept airworthy by cannibalizing some of the others. One of them usually lives in Canada, so…last chance.

We waited and waited and it didn’t happen. So we headed to this church, miles away, and suddenly the planes flew across our path, low and spooky. No time to stop and take pictures. Wish we’d gotten closer. Glad we didn’t miss it.

August 18, 2014 — 9:58 pm
Comments: 20