Wednesday word of the week – Stopple

stopple is a stopper or plug, usually for a bottle. We seem to have quite a few. I’ve no idea if they work – once our wine is open, we drink it rather than go round stoppling it.

Actually stopple is the verb as well as the noun, but however you say it, it seems an odd thing to do.

Wednesday word of the week – Aardwolf

An aardwolf is a grey and black stripy, African animal, related to hyenas. It eats insects (up to 250 termites per sitting) and is nocturnal. They’re rather cute. I’m sorry I don’t have a picture – next time I’m wandering the scrublands of Easterm Africa at night, I’ll be sure to put that right.

I mention them because stories, amongst other things, are often listed alphabetically and being near the top can be an advantage in some situations and aardvarks have been overused for that purpose.

Three points are on offer to the first person to write a story titled, ‘Adam the Aardwolf’s Amazing Adventures Amongst the Agave in Aberystwyth.’

Wednesday word of the week – Lugubrious

Lugubrious sounds as though it should be something fun, doesn’t it? It actually means, doleful, mournful or dismal.

As far as I can recall I’ve only ever come across it in relation to speech, but characters needn’t just speak lugubriously, the could show their inner lugubriousness through a sad expression and dejected manner.

Much as I like the sound of foghorns, I think it would be fair to describe the noise they make as lugubrious.

Wednesday word of the week – Hyperbole

According to my dictionary, hyperbole (pronounced hyperbollee) is ‘an exaggerated statement not meant to be taken literally’. I wish someone would tell the media (especially the local news) and marketeers that.

People are never a bit upset and mildly inconvenienced when a bus service changes or the lift is out of order, they’re devastated, trapped and stranded. When there’s a mistake on their gas bill they’re not a bit surprised and then glad when it’s sorted out, they’re shocked, dismayed and horrified then hugely relieved.

Food manufacturers don’t release a new flavour, instead it’s an exciting new recipe or unique taste sensation. Products are never quite a good idea which might be useful, they’re innovative and life changing.

TV programmes are never quite amusing, they’re always hilarious and slide-splittingly funny. Presumably ‘they’ watch the director’s cut, leaving me with the version which got slightly lost in translation … either that or I’m just a complete and total misery. Yeah, could be that.

Here’s a picture of a deadly poisonous fungi I risked life and limb to photograph for you. Or, without the hyperbole, here’s a fungi which might not be good to eat and which was growing on a slope of wet grass, meaning that had I not been careful I could have slipped a bit as I walked up to it.

Wednesday word of the week – Calender

I’m sure you all know that a calendar is the kind of chart thingy with the days and months of the year divided up. You’re probably also aware that it’s very easy to type calender instead (you will be if you’ve read any of my drafts as I’m always doing it)

Did you know a calender is a real thing?

A calender is machine which uses rollers to press paper or cloth into smooth sheets. (The cat is sat on my slightly rumpled quilt, which is the closest photo I had. No, I won’t be producing an illustrated dictionary!)

Wednesday word of the week – Tribute

A tribute is a thing said, done or given as a mark of respect or affection.

Followed by ‘to’ it’s an indication of a praiseworthy quality (as an example, my dictionary gives ‘their success is a tribute to their perseverance’ which I particularly like).

A tribute used to be how miners pay was calculated and could also mean a payment made by one state or ruler to another.

Tribute was also the make of our old campervan (or do I mean model?)

Wednesday word of the week – Pipedream

pipedream is an unattainable or purely fanciful hope or idea. You know, like the hope that when you upgrade one thing on your computer you won’t discover your printer, working practices, hair colour and country of residence are all incompatible and need to be changed before you can do so much as open an email.

Compared with that, becoming a successful novelist seems a perfectly reasonable plan.

I did know the meaning of the word pipedream, but not its origin. It comes from the visions or hallucinations experienced by people smoking opium pipes. Obvious when I think about it – presumably I never had before.

Here’s an opium poppy, I grew. I don’t need to smoke them for them to raise my spirits.

Wednesday word of the week – Slight

Slight means of little consequence, barely perceptible or scanty.

If a person is described as slight they’ll be slender or frail looking. If you refer to someone slightingly you’ll be treating them as though they’re insignificant. I think that’s more than slightly rude.

Historically castles were slighted to make them useless for military purposes. This kind of damage can be seen in this photo of Kenilworth.

Wednesday word of the week – Monologue

monolgue is is either a long speech by one person, a dramatic work for one performer or a scene within a longer piece where just one person speaks. I’m not sure if that means anyone who talks to themselves is a monologist whose monological habits cause them to monogolize from time to time, but I expect it’s something like that.

I tried chatting to this chap, but that turned into a monologue.

Wednesday word of the week – Pie

A pie is a baked dish with pastry on the top and bottom (just on the bottom is a tart, just on the top is a gastro pub cheat). Easy as pie means very easy (so why can’t those over-priced pubs get it right?). A pie chart is a representative circle divided into sections.

Pie in the sky* is unrealistic expectations or promises (possibly made when pie-eyed which means drunk) A pie can also be a piebald (black and white) animal or bird, a chaotic mess of printers’ type or a former currency unit in India.

*Not to be confused with pie in Skye which is a picnic on a Scottish island.