Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Now I am so far outside the square there is no point looking back - is there ever any point, except for fun? Fun is something that is not too hard to find and that is good and it can be found in the tiniest of things and most unusual and unexpected ways. For me it is often to do with something someone innocently says that sends a whole conversation into quirky and creative places. Maybe this is a family trait - it is certainly something that I enjoy enormously with Alex and Hugh - and whole conversations swerve madly from one direction to another with puns and quips and tangents and a lot of laughing. Certain other people can join in - I can think of maybe 3 or 4 - but it is not everybody's cup of tea. It is great to meet a new person who has the same sense of humour as yourself because it just makes things fall into place so much more easily. Words -so much of my life is about words.

By exchanging emails and only having contact with a person through writing I find it more difficult to see what they are thinking unless they write lots of words. I love reading humorous stuff but that's not what I's the intended joke which is not necessarily clear or even implied to the reader, that is most difficult to get. I need to see the face and the body language, I think. One friend I write to sometimes is great in this way, because we knew each other first, before we started writing emails. I can see them and hear them in my mind and know what they are saying, even without so many words.

My father used to be great with words and every week or so from when I was very small he would teach me a new word - how to use it and spell it - to expand my vocabulary. He called them awkward words and he would spell out a-w-k-w-a-r-d every time until my mother and I got really sick of it but he never gave up, until the day he died, teaching me new words! The last words he taught me were to do with chemistry - something I never thought he would have known anything about. Amazing how much you don't know about a person, especially your parents, I think. For a bloke that didn't finish school he had a wonderful cauldron of words that he was always stirring and adding to, like spices, and pulling samples out to test and would pull out the interesting ones right in the middle of a conversation about something else, much to the irritation of my mother, whose forte is maths and logical thinking! How they ever became attracted to each other is a mystery to me but it means that my boys and and I have a lot of funny genes all rolling around in that big cauldron, especially when we throw Roger into the picture too.

Having spent a considerable time learning and using other languages, I think my English vocabulary has diminished. However, in the last few months I can feel the recesses of my mind opening up and every now and then a forgotten word will come to me unexpectedly, when I am searching for just the right expression to say something on the blogs. Somewhere in there are all those a-w-k-w-a-r-d words my father taught me and I want to dip into that cauldron of words more often and even add a few spices and extra ingredients myself.


chaiselongue said...

What a lovely image, Kate - a cauldron of words bubbling away, making a tasty mix, new flavours melting into the old ones. I worry, like you, that because I spend a lot of time speaking French (not terribly well, but passably) and learning Occitan and Spanish, with a bit of Welsh in my background, I'll forget English words - but there all still there. New languages don't fill up the mind, they expand it, and offer new opportunities for fun with the words (double meanings, etc.). A lot of humour in Wales is based on puns which use English/Welsh versions of words and differences between them.
Our daughter was here last week helping with the writing course and as always when she and/or our son are here we pick up odd catch phrases which run as a theme through the week and make us laugh - that's what families do!! It's great isn't it? Must stop now - I'm in danger of writing a comment as long as your post.

Ian said...

Youu paint a lovely picture with your words. We have allowed our modern lives to become controlled by "stuff", and it's good to put it all behind you, so you can get a clearer view. See you in September, or is it October?? No worries, no plans!!!