what have the Romans done for us

Ze kettle is boiling. With a German pronunciation. This is almost certainly because I am re reading Spike Milligan’s seven volume war trilogy. Totally politically incorrect and full of language with which Dominic Cummings would be comfortably familiar. V funny though. I suspect you need to have a particular sense of humour.

Later, the kitchen is buzzing. Kettle on again, breakfast consumed, about to consume cup three. I like that. Cup three, not cup number three. You didn’t need me to explain, did you. That was a statement not a question. You will have observed.

Today is Tuesday. Again! They keep coming around. Boring some might say but imagine if we had a different name for every day of the year. Or every day even. We would constantly be running competitions to decide what a day should be called. Just like storms and hurricanes, or Antarctic exploration ships.

No we can’t have Dave. Dave happened three thousand years ago. Still plenty of words left in the Oxford English Dictionary. The main one, not the shorter or the concise OED obvs. I do perceive a problem with this naming system. We would eventually run out of words, even if we went through every language in the book. Either we would need to start again or keep inventing new ones. 

This is fine up to a point. I doubt the pace of word naming would keep up with demand, sensibly. Even Shakespeare, who would sometimes stick a couple of hundred new words in a play, might struggle.

The other issue is people would struggle to remember the name of the day. For example I just randomly opened The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary Volume 1 A – Markworthy. Page seven hundred and ninety six has the Word Foudroyant at the bottom. First heard in 1840 Foudroyant has two meanings. The first is  thundering, stunning; also dazzling. Won’t bother you with the second meaning.

Now I can see you leaping instantly to the problem here. People are going to confuse Foudroyant with Fotmal and Fougasse, both of which lie very close to either side of our word. Fougasse is actually on the next page but visible, albeit one is at the bottom of seven nine six and the other is at the top of seven nine seven.

It doesn’t take a genius to understand why we stick to only seven words to describe days of the week. Notwithstanding the fact that most of the words in the OED weren’t invented when people started naming the days. The Greeks or the Romans probs. At least in the Indo-European world.

I’m not sure, to choose a random alternative culture, that the Awa Guaja tribe of the Amazonian rainforest has evolved its language and naming conventions in a similar manner but I will desist from geographical distractions here. There are already too many variables in this thread.

Bought the dictionary when I first moved to Lincoln as a fresh faced engineering graduate. Figured it had its place on the shelf but it is rarely referenced. I moved here on Sunday, January seventh 1984 having had a few months off and the book was probably bought that summer. It is interesting to note that January first 1983 is considered to be the official birthday of the internet, or so a quick Googling tells me. Most of you will recognise this as the date that ARPANET and the Defense Data Network officially changed to the TCP/IP standard. Nuff said.

All that remains for me to do here is to restate that today is indeed a Tuesday and not Cyesiology, Fantee or Gnathostegite. You will never again need to ask the question “what have the Romans done for us?”

I left the shed to do a bit of packing for tomorrow. Ten minutes max. By the time I got back it was getting dark. Only the Lagunitas IPA sign illuminated the inside. The mood lighting is now all on. The Lagunitas sign being lit up is an indication that the shed is, mostly, open for business. Whatever the nature of the business.


It is now totally dark out, light pollution aside. The brown leaves on the deck in front of the shed are lit up by the outside lights and I see the reflection of the Lagunitas sign in the French doors. Inside all is calm. 

I’ve brought my book with me but not yet felt inclined to delve. My screens distract. The curse of the screen, of the world wide web. Technology hangs around our necks like a leaden weight. The book is a well thumbed paperback. 

I’ve been monitoring progress with ticket sales for trefbash and we are pretty much where we were at this time last year. Notionally just twenty two tickets left now. Unless you want to actually pay for a ticket in which case I’d make one available especially 🙂That’s how I roll. Generous to a fault.

There is news. This afternoon has seen a busy Tref with a number of items struck off the jobs list. To whit the broken lightbulb in the bathroom has been replaced, the fridge magnets awaiting repair have been repaired, ish, and the bike rack has finally been hung on the garage wall using the special hanging hooks purchaysed from B&Q yesterday. This did involve a trip to Wickes to buy the right sized rawplugs. All now sorted and the space in front of my bench has been regained.

Bench space regained. Sounds like the sequel to the first bench space novel in which said worktop was initially tidied but then became cluttered once more.

By Trefor Davies

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