memoirs, art and fragments by Thomas Milner

Archive for the ‘language’ Category

The texture of memory

The texture of memory.

My new Kindle

My new Kindle.

Halcyon days

Halcyon days.

Hemmed in by events

I’m checking into hospital on Monday 11th Feb for another bout of neurosurgery (round 4) so all my psychic energy will be focussed on that.

And if you were to ask how I felt about this, I would reply:

Vexed, displeased, irked and gutted

Fed-up and put-upon,

Hemmed in by events,

Squeezed by fate

HEMMED IN - PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER

HEMMED IN – PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER

A bit like this picture in fact

A room with a view

I have just spent most my morning  admiring the sporadic flocks of migrating birds on their way north in the early spring (while at the same time catching up on Radio 4 podcasts of The News Quiz).

The birds winter in North Africa (lucky them) and then rendezvous in the environs of Algeciras in Morocco to await to their turn for streaming funnel of avian life crossing the Dire Straits to Gibraltar and beyond. My particular contingent then wheel west along the Algarve coast until they reach the Cape of Sagres before turning north and eventually crossing in front my bedroom window – left to right using the narrow corridor of pine and eucalyptus forest between the village and the ocean.

later they will build their nests in the bosky fields of Hampshire (lucky them).

A miraculous cycle of nature, a spectacle laid on just for me. The message is clear – relax and be in harmony with nature. Go with the flow.

The view from my bed in the morning

After lunch (stewed chicken with pasta – a culinary mésalliance in my opinion) I return to my room for a nap/siesta/snooze/40 winks from I wake 30 minutes later. I then dutifully carry out my physiotherapeutic exercises. First an isometric routine for beginners (even I, handicapped as I am) can do them in my chair followed by a lurch/stomp/stumble on my walker/Zimmer frame down the corridor outside my room.

Up the corridor to the right is a bathroom into which I enter/slip/pop to lean back against the radiator for my straighten-the-back-to-improve-my-posture exercise (with some deep breathing thrown in). After a while I get tired/bored with the straighten-the-back-to-improve-my-posture exercise and put my hand into my pocket where I encounter my mobile phone (not a «smart» phone but-pretty-intelligent-for-the-price) and take a rather eery picture of myself, taking a rather eery picture of myself, taking a rather eery – OH JUST SHUT UP WILL YOU!

RATHER EEIRY PICTURE OF MYSELF

RATHER EERY PICTURE OF MYSELF

I return back down the corridor to the end and turn right to admire the fine view of our local church (I don’t mean that the church per se is particularly fine – just the view of it).

After tea (the old dears can’t be doing without their tea, you know – it’s a lifetime habit, useful survival skill as well in case they starve to death between the twin fueling stations of lunch and early dinner. They dunk (good word) their bread or biscuits into heavy outsize cups of tea or milky coffee made from turnips (you have to be a weightlifter to be able to raise them to your lips) instead they crouch devotionally in front of the heavy cups and spoon the resultant pap into their mouths) so after tea, I spend time in my atélier working on my lastest painting.

VIEW FROM ATELIER

VIEW FROM ATELIER

Back in my room I’m beginning to run of steam.

«… Fragments, that I have shored up against my ruin»

And at the end of the day the sun sets at the orbiting rim of our world.

Anglo-Saxon rocks

I fell in love with my own language

When I was in my mid-thirties

You know how it is

First I noticed it

Then I felt drawn to it

Lastly I fell for it

Hook, line and sinker.

 

Those old tribesmen

Round their fires at night

Little dreamt that their

Mode of communication

Would journey to the stars

 

English is on a roll

Sibilant and sinuous

Compressed, economic

Fed by the dual rivers of

Romance and Germanic

Lyrical fused with bluntness

Softness with violence

Races prevail

Hegemony of

Ubiquitous language

Probes the four quarters

Of the spinning world

Whispering susurrus

Subtle persuasion

 

And as a bonus

It’s the idiom of rock and roll

Yes, English really rocks

PEACE, LOVE and ROCK & ROLL

PEACE, LOVE and ROCK & ROLL

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact.

Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.

The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius

Halcyon days

Did you know that the word «halcyon», as in halcyon days,

comes from the ancient Greek word for a «kingfisher»?

                                                    How’s that for a completely        

Unnecessary,

Uncalled for,

Unwanted,

Unwarranted,

Unsolicited,

A-propos-of-nothing,

Gratuitous,

Pointless,

Out-of-the-blue

And totally irrelevant piece of etymology?

KINGFISHER

KINGFISHER

Wanted!

The police are looking for this this man in connection with his last blog:

PORTRAIT

The general public is warned not to approach him directly but to get in touch with the local authorities, as he is dangerous and armed with a scathing, acerbic and mordant wit.

He has been known to use the following (banned) literary devices:

litotes, metaphor, paradox, paronomasia, periphrasis, epizeuxis, episthrophy/antistrophy, antithesis, oxymoron, cacophony, scesis onomation, assonance & alliteration, brachylogies,  anaphora, satire, irony and even sarcasm.

Sometimes he ventures trenchant and pithy observations on the Human Condition.

He quips puns & one-liners;

Cracks jokes & jibes;

Banters & jests;

He’s a wise guy.

And lastly he looks a bit creepy.

I would suggest nabbing him after lunch as he is nodding off for a post-prandial snooze in front of a TV show featuring a woman who makes her own pumpkin-jam according to special secret recipe from her village … yawn … yawn … snore … snore.

I don’t feel old. I don’t feel anything till noon. That’s when it’s time for my nap.

(Bob Hope)

The beauty of English

I have just been watching Kenneth Branagh’s majestic version of Hamlet and marvel once again at the beauty of our language.

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,

And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;

No more; and by a sleep to say we end

The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks

That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;

To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,

Must give us pause:

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE – SKETCH by THOMAS MILNER

Thirty nine shades of grey

You’ve all heard of the grey areas of moral/ethical/sexual protocol in the bedroom (and how a certain book caused the sales of hand-cuffs to rocket by 400% in the UK alone) arresting stuff no doubt but let’s not go there.

Allow me instead to introduce you to the world of grey food.

Not rather grey, not quite grey, not fairly grey, not greyish but completely grey, utterly grey, absolutely grey – a dismal, dreary, drab, depressing grey.

The Chinese have a saying: may you live in exciting times.

 (Well we certainly do live in exciting times, what with our various crises – economic, ecological, socio and geo-political, moral and spiritual).

 But the Spanish greeting: may nothing new happen to you today is more to my taste, so the following incident took me by surprise.

 It was unexpected; it came at me from an angle low on my left flank when I was looking the other way.

 (It was a bolt out of the blue).

It’s dinner time. First there is the usual yellow soup which is OK if one is partial to that kind of thing – as for me I can take it or leave it but what the heck we eat to live here (not the other way round).

Then you can knock me sideways and call me Dick Turpin if the main course doesn’t turn out be more soup; but not just any old soup; this stuff is special; this stuff is grey!

Well I’ll be jiggered, I think, whatever will these inventive and resourceful people come up with next? Blue spaghetti, green potatoes … anyway grey soup was a «first» for me.

Brief description:

•             Name:   Farinho de pão

•             Colour:  Grey

•             Odour:  Fishy, definitely fishy

•             Shape:  Amorphous

•             Texture:   Viscose

We are served thus: a dose/dollop/splurge of the stuff/substance is ladled/sloshed onto our (not-soup-but-normal) plates, in such a way that there is a slight danger of the capillary effect coming into play in cases of plate-overload (which can be messy, very messy).

The buzz-word of the meal (farinho de pão) started at one end of the dining hall and spread/creaked/whined/rumbled from table to table like a mournful mantra.

 I calculate that these immortal words (farinho de pão) were repeated (in tedious succession) between 50 and 60 times.

Hey-ho, grey thoughts on a grey day.

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