In the news · Language · Reading

“Thousand-yard stares”

Many phrases have entered common usage since Coronavirus began to dominate the headlines back in March: “social distancing”, “track and trace”, “immuno-compromised”. A phrase that has been around for many years but has only registered with me in the last few months, when reading articles about Coronavirus, is the “thousand-yard stare”. I first encountered it… Continue reading “Thousand-yard stares”

Language · On my radio

Am I the kind of person who will ask a question, answer it, and then do it again repeatedly?

Have you noticed how some people in public life respond to a question by asking their own questions, and answering them, without any input from anyone else? Some British MPs do it. I have given up watching the BBC1 show “Question Time” in recent years but watched it regularly at the start of this decade.… Continue reading Am I the kind of person who will ask a question, answer it, and then do it again repeatedly?

In the news · Language · Notes from West London

“Dump Rubbish … and we’ll fine you up to £400”

There are signs on some of the busier roads here in West London which read as follows: “Dump rubbish in the street and we’ll fine you up to £400”. The text is laid out rather more dramatically than that, all in upper case, and is printed in different colours and font sizes. It’s on a… Continue reading “Dump Rubbish … and we’ll fine you up to £400”