2020 Part 1 – Jan-June

I think it’s safe to say that 2020 isn’t quite how anyone would have envisioned at 23:59 on New Year’s Eve 2019. It’s probably about as far away as you could get from the reality we’re all living now. Covid-19 has brought terror and anxiety to all global citizens and the Globe’s economies and health care systems to their knees.

I’ve cried for the thousands who have passed away here in the U.K and their families and friends. I’ve also been majorly saddened to watch as country after country has struggled to cope with this fast moving, devastating disease.

I’d liken it to a toppling domino trail, ‘click-click-click’ as each country succumbed to Covid-19 one-by-one and the governments struggled to battle their way through the intricacies of supporting individuals, families, the NHS, while trying to protect businesses, employers and employees, and the self- employed.

I wondered, we all wondered how our lives would change, but it all sounded, despite the death rates, as though this would build to a rippling wave and we would all get back to normal (if we just #stayed home, #washed our hands, #protected the NHS). I doubt anyone saw the tsunami building, our governments, our leaders, certainly didn’t.  Our chief medical and scientific officers said if we all followed the advice on hand hygiene and social isolation we’d be looking at a good outcome.

I’m not hugely into politics, although like anyone else I have an opinion on whether they’re doing a good job or not. I think the Conservatives were beginning to lose touch with the promises they’d made in the run up to the general election. Then Covid-19 came along and propelled all ministers into the bright lights of the ever-hungry media. They’ve continued to struggle their way through what is an unprecedented time, one which anyone would struggle through. They’ve been through the proverbial sh*t storm but have only reached the eye; there is more yet to come.

There’s no practice run for something like this. I’ve been as frustrated as the next guy at the stumbling of government ministers to cope with questions from news agencies and the general public, however, these are just human beings who would never have imagined such an occurrence when running for office. They’ve made mistakes. They’re not infallible. Human beings never are.

Where are the 20,000 people who should have been the maximum number of fatalities we were told would be “a good outcome”? They’re buried under the extra 22,153 (as of 00:39 18th June 2020) people who have died, which is not a good outcome. And the numbers, we’re told, are reducing and lockdown is gradually being lifted.

For me the lockdown lift is too much, too soon. We only have to look at numbers coming out of Bejing yesterday – there were 79 new positive cases. We are in the position now of being able to look back. “Hindsight is a wonderful thing”. I am praying we all look back and make our current decisions based on what we’ve seen and experienced. We have to use our common sense. A second wave is coming.

This is a self indulgent post really. It’s a way of thinking through the past few months of my life and how all the above has affected me. I mean there hasn’t really been much happening for me to discuss out loud here, other than Coronavirus.

Rewinding a little…

My depression had already hit again in late 2019 (that was the part where I disappeared again so soon after announcing I was back).

From February I’d begun to slowly feel stronger and I was at the stage where I’d considered starting to blog and write again. That was very quickly impossible as fear began to take hold with each passing news programme.

I’m scared of dying. I’ve struggled with it since I was 25. I was a wife and mother and all of a sudden, when my son was a few months old I had this irrational fear I’d die and leave my husband and son alone.

It (death) is one of the things within the global pandemic I’ve found hardest to cope with. The hardest thing to cope with is not seeing loved ones. For me that’s primarily my son.

My son is now a fully grown man . He lives down near the South coast with his fiancee. We’ve (hubby and I) not seen him since November when he and his (then) girlfriend came home for his Dad’s birthday because he wouldn’t be home for Christmas. We were due to see him (and by now his fiancee) in London in February for his 25th birthday but we didn’t as the weekend we’d pencilled in clashed with his friend’s 25th birthday. His friend lives in London. We were then due to see him in April – the week after lockdown happened.

And now my 50th birthday is approaching at speed! He and his fiancee were coming home to help me celebrate. It’s the thing which would make me happiest (other than Covid-19 being obliterated forever!) But it’s not happening as it’s a long train journey, long London underground trip then another long train journey. I don’t want them to risk their health and they don’t want to either. Besides that it would be breaking the idea of continuation of shielding everyone in as best a way as possible.

We’re extremely lucky in 2020 that we have technology which allows us to stay in touch so easily. VoIP, video calls and email, text messaging, Facebook and other social networking platforms allow us to see our loved ones and hear them. This would be so much harder if we had to rely on snail mail, especially given that with an increase in internet shopping Royal Mail deliveries are a few days behind.

But I still miss my boy.

I’m grateful that I’ve not lost anyone to Covid-19. I’m grateful the government is trying to help us through this. I’m grateful for technology.

So, I’m looking forward to a Coronavirus-free future. When exactly that’ll be who knows? I’ll be joining every party celebrating that it’s gone (or that we’re all able to be vaccinated).

But most of all I’m going to have my arms ready to hug my son, his fiancee and my hubby as tight as is humanly possible and for as long as I can.

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OUP “Word of the Year”

Oxford University Press (OUP) has announced its ‘Oxford Word of the Year 2019’ and  ‘Climate Emergency.’ It was also no surprise to see the short list for the entire year was full of references to ‘Climate‘.

climate emergency

‘Climate Emergency’ saw an increase of 10,796% year on year increase in 2019. Others from the short list with high year on year increases include “Climate Action”  with 266%, “Climate Crisis” with 2,510% “Global Heating” with 18,358% “Eco-Anxiety” with 4,291% and “Ecocide” having an increase of 681%. There are other words too ‘Climate Denial’, ‘Eco-anxiety’, ‘Flight Shame’ and even ‘Extinction’.

2019 has seen a huge increase in awareness of climate change and the issues we, as the human race, and also wildlife are facing. As well as the most highly visible, older action groups such as GreenpeaceCeres and the WWF 2019 has seen the rise of the new kids on the block – Extinction Rebellion (Belated Happy 1st Birthday wishes), and activists such as @Greta Thunberg raising the awareness of the views of the youngest of the generations.

The Climate Emergency is swiftly moving at a pace where we will not, as a race, be able to reverse the damage which has been done in the decades preceding the current one. The next decade will see climate and ecological disruption at catastrophic levels and this will be as a result of ongoing Biodiversity Loss, Extreme Weather Events, Desertification, Crop Failure, Water Shortages, Rising Sea Levels and Wildfires.

These will in turn lead to disease, the displacement of millions of people, the increased risk of conflicts and wars and thus, have a major impact on the human rights of everyone affected by these negative events.


For a look at the full article on the Word of the Year and the shortlist check out the OUP website here.

For full up to date information on the Climate Emergency check out the Extinction Rebellion website here.



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Word of the Day

Today’s word is ‘Wonderwall’ and today’s dictionary is Urban Dictionary

I chose this word because this is also today’s earworm. I’m hoping by putting ‘IT’ out there it may be gone from my ear and I can concentrate on other things – like writing!


  • somebody you find yourself thinking about constantly; you are completely infatuated with them.

‘[…] she’s my wonderwall’

Picture from themindsjournal.com

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Daily Writing Meme

eAnyone doing NaNoWriMo will totally understand this image, especially now we’re all 13 days in and may, or may not be meeting our targets. My desk doesn’t look quite as bad as this but I have a pile of text books and two notebooks of stuff I’m hoping to use within the project.  I’ve finally settled to how to balance my blog and my writing. I will do social media for a couple of hours every morning so I can keep up with what is going on out there and from lunchtime onwards will write continually until it’s time to prepare dinner in the evening. It has only taken me a number of stressful days to realise this and get my head sorted out – panic was starting to take over and I didn’t want 1 or the other of the 2 to not be done. If you’re doing NaNo 2019 good luck. If you’re not good luck with whatever you’re working on! Until next time! NN 🙂

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I’ve Been Nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award

I arrived back to Nattinatters HQ today to find my blog has been nominated for the ‘Sunshine Blogger Award’ by a writer whose writing and blog I greatly admire. PeterWynMosey’s short stories and daily writing challenges set by other bloggers and writers are of a very high standard which makes me wonder why he follows me and has nominated me for the award as I feel I still have a long way to go before my writing reaches his standard. Thank you Peter for nominating me regardless 🙂

To accept the nomination I have to

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog 
  • List the rules and display an award logo on blog post.
  • Answer the 11 questions
  • Nominate 11 new blogs.
  • Ask nominees 11 new questions
  • List the rules and display an award logo on blog post.
  • Answer the 11 questions
  • Nominate 11 new blogs.
  • Ask nominees 11 new questions





What is your favourite song, and when did you first hear it?

I have 2 and I wrote a blog post about favourite songs/lyrics not too long ago. Here’s a link to that post.

If you became the leader of the country that you live, what would be the first thing that you would change? 

There’s so much going on with this country right now (the United Kingdom). I’ve lost all faith in the politicians who are supposed to be running this country and are making a total hash of it. I have a list as long as my arm of things I’d love to change so things work in a more organised way and in a way the country can afford, but for me right at this minute whilst it should be to get Brexit done I would rather go to sleep at night knowing there are no UK residents without food, clothing or a safe and warm home. ( I personally voted to remain in the EU as I have a strong sense of ‘one world, one family)’. Whilst some may consider this a naive attitude, it’s really the only way humans will continue to thrive on this Earth. There cannot be any self-centredness. We are a race which is consuming at an alarming rate which is just not sustainable.

There is an uneven distribution of wealth and resources. I agree that those who are millionaires, billionaires, etc., may have worked hard to achieve their status and position, however, when exactly will they spend their millions and billions? Whilst there are people in abject poverty, and I include the disabled, children and families in the UK within this, there should be a corporate consortium or community alliance (or both) which will replace school breakfast clubs, food banks and other charities currently helping homeless, hungry or deprived children and families, and the disabled who are unable to work, with adequate housing, clothing and foods so no one should have to go without their very basic needs catered for. This is the 21st Century not the Victorian era of Oliver Twist’s “Please Sir, I want some more?” No thank you UK, get it sorted.

What is one item of clothing that you own that you would not want to part with?

I have a women’s Grey, round neck Waistcoat which I bought hurriedly when I saw it in a sale at Dotty P’s (Dorothy Perkins) several years ago. There are so many pictures of me throughout the years wearing it and I have no plans to throw it away yet. The thing which is great about it is that even if I am wearing a t-shirt under it I still look smart, plus it means I can wear one of my many vintage or funky brooches – right now it has a very large hand-knitted poppy because here in the UK it is Armistice Day.

How many countries have you ever visited?

I think seven. I went to France, Belgium and Holland on a school trip, Spain (Balearic Islands) in my very early twenties, the U.S.A (Philadelphia and New York; Upstate and NY,NY), Canada (Niagara Falls is best seen from the Canadian side), then Spain (Mallorca twice), Spain (Tenerife) and this Summer Spain, Italy and France as we did a cruise around the Mediterranean.

Books or e-readers?

Both. There is nothing which could replace the smell of new ink on new paper. Walking in to a book store instantly relaxes me as I feel at home, however I do love my Kindle. I have so many classics on there as well as contemporary and literary fiction and if I am going on a long journey I will take it with me as it’s not as thick or heavy as 2 thick paperbacks in the suitcase or hand luggage.

What is your favourite movie? Why?

I’m struggling to come up with just one favourite movie. If I had to strictly pick one it’d be Forrest Gump. It’s a clever premise, a man with lower than average intelligence who re-tells his life experiences during some of the most important events in the late twentieth century history of the United States of America. I find the story moving and funny but also feel it shows the best side of human nature. The clever editing-in of Forrest into these events is amusing too. Tom Hanks is my favourite actor so that’s a huge bonus for me too as I’ll watch pretty much anything with him in.

When and where do you do most of your writing?

I used to sit in the living room, either on the sofa with my laptop, in front of the telly, or at the dinner table, but hubby built me a writing and sewing studio so I’m over there most of the time now.

What has been a job that you have had that you have liked the least?

I worked in administration for a Government department. My original line manager was a bully, plus I found the work very boring and repetitive; it was like a conveyor belt; one finished, on to the next one, same processes, done, onto the next one…yawn. I just couldn’t handle it so I took a career break and finally (at 34) had the opportunity to go to University to study English Language (Linguistics). In order to start the degree I had to resign my position. It was such a hard decision (not!)

What does your morning ritual look like?

I wake up, hubby does coffee and breakfast for the cat then for both of us; I have a glass of almond milk and a small pot of nuts; with the change in the weather I think I’m going to start having the milk warmed. I then shower, dress, and depending on if I have any appointments will either do my hair or not or put on make-up or not; usually when I’m in my studio all day writing I don’t bother with either; my hair goes back in a band so it’s out of my face and I stick my glasses on.

Do you often remember your dreams when you wake up?

Yes, quite often as most of them are on the weird side.

What would be one piece of advice you would give to someone starting a blog?

Try to read every day and write every day. I’ve not been doing this too long and it’s so easy for life to get in the way. Read other blogs, like, comment and network to build your following as well as other bloggers as they’ll be grateful for every single one.



Roxi St Clair

Refresh Her

All Things Tudor

Wandering Ambivert

To Write Or Not To Write and What To Write

You Are Enough

A Real Lady Drinks Whiskey

The Alchemist’s Studio

Fictive Dream

Soul Writing Project


  1. If you could close your eyes, wish to be anywhere, and when you opened your eyes, be there, where would that place be? Why?
  2. Thoughts on the plastics polluting our oceans and ideas for resolution?
  3. Who was your favourite teacher in secondary school (UK) high school (U.S) and why?
  4. How would you politely end a conversation with a person who won’t stop talking?
  5. Have you ever eaten food past it’s ‘Sell By’ or ‘Use By’ date?
  6. What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?
  7. If you could ask your pet 3 questions what would you ask them? If you don’t have a pet, ask a farm or a wild animal instead.
  8. It’s the start of a Zombie Apocalypse. You can only take the first 5 things you touch with any part of your body. What will they be?
  9. What is your favourite book? Why?
  10. You’re told you are going to cook for 4 celebrities. What will you cook and for who?
  11. Charles Dickens or Charlotte Bronte?

Well, that’s my nomination accepted, thanks again Peter 🙂

sunshine-blogger high quality


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Back with a…little bang…?

Hey! I went again didn’t I? I had a slight blip and fell in to a little bit of a dark hole. I then realised my plans to be fully prepped for the start of Nanowrimo 2019 on 1st November were slipping but I managed to semi sort my head out and wrote well at the start, however my son and his girlfriend came to visit for a few days and all research and writing went out of the window. As we’d not seen them for 8-9 months I wanted to be fully present.

I’d organised a surprise bonfire and sparklers for the 6th and cooked baked tatties, bangers and beans. On 7th we went to a photography studio for a 1 hour session of a mix of casual and smart shots. As we’d had no portrait sittings since late Summer 2005 it was great to know we’d have a new collection. The reason behind my wish for new pictures is because since my older sister had a major stroke a week before her 50th birthday this May, and with my 50th next Summer, I’ve become more aware of my own mortality and I’d want there to be recent pictures of us all together. I lost my Dad in 2005 and the only picture I could find of him with me was on my wedding day 12 1/2 years earlier. I’d asked for shots of Hubby and I, Hubby and I with our son, both individually and with both of us, and then some shots with his girlfriend included. They then had a few of them on their own. I am so excited and cannot wait to see the results when the photographer sends me a sneak preview and then posts me the disc with the rest on. Janine was fantastic with all of us. We were all feeling more than a bit awkward but she’s very bright and cheerful and got us all laughing and we all really enjoyed ourselves. Here’s a link to her Fleet Photographics Facebook Page. While we were back in Cambridgeshire we visited an old friend (she’s not old, I’ve just known her since she was 4!). We didn’t get back to Norfolk until late.

Nat and Gary

On Friday we all had a chilled day. I spent the time reading the pile of research books I have to help my Nano project along; I’m striving for authenticity and I’m hoping having researched my subject that it’ll show.

On Saturday it was hubby’s birthday and we celebrated with a trip to the cinema to see ‘Joker’ and then went to an American-style diner ‘Fatso’s’. I wasn’t sure about ‘Joker’. I’ve never seen ‘The Dark Knight’ where Heath Ledger portrays, what so many people insist is the best Joker characterisation ever and wondered if I should wait until after watching The Dark Knight before seeing ‘Joker’. As hubby wanted to see it while it was still in the cinemas we all went to see that. I have to say Joaquin Phoenix’ is fantastic as Joker and blew me away! If he doesn’t get at least an Oscar nomination there is something very wrong with those nominating.

So my sunshine left Norfolk 5 hours ago and after a grocery shop I’m here to let you all know I am HERE! I am BACK and I’m going to be hitting Nano full throttle. As I set myself the challenge of writing 60K words in place of the usual 50K (yes I am as mad as that seems) my daily word count should be around 2,300 – 3,000 words per day…Until next time! NN 🙂


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Daily Writing Meme

I found this and it’s hugely inspirational, especially as tomorrow is the beginning of #NaNoWriMo. For us fiction writers, I’d guess the majority know that #NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, but I discovered the other day there are a few people who do not know. The briefest explanation is it is a commitment/challenge for writers to complete a 50,000 word novel draft. There are non-fiction writers who do use the site now to give them a target to work towards.

The hardest thing when I write is to go without editing as I go. It’s something I’ve always done – which is why I’ve probably never had a book published as it’s just never good enough and I think if left alone I’d continue editing until I edit the story out of the story!

Anyway, for all you writers out there; Pantsers,Planners or Plantsers, who are committing to the 30 days of writing Good Luck! See you on the other side! Until next time! NN 🙂



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Happy Halloween/Samhain

Hi Everyone

Happy Halloween! And Samhain greetings to those who follow the nature religions.

happy halloween

It’s that time of the year where we all share our love of spooks, dressing up and sweets/candy. My husband and I have done fancy dress parties several times but we’ve moved away from our friend networks so this year is a lot quieter.


As a coincidence my #NaNoWriMo project this year is based around witchcraft so I’ve been discovering a few things I didn’t know, despite thoroughly checking out different traditions, etc., for previous parties. Hopefully, if you buy the book this project is to become you’ll be able to learn some of these new things throughout the pages.

I may be disappearing quite a bit as I am determined that this will be THE year I actually earn the NANOWINNER t-shirt I’ve bought in 2 prior years, but never actually deserved. My third is on order, however and I am going to wear it on 1st December and photograph myself in it to share with all of you!

I’m determined to try and write short posts and continue Word of the Day, Writing Memes, Reading Memes and Inspirational posts as I do enjoy hunting out things to share.

If you’re heading out to celebrate either of the festivals tonight, stay safe and enjoy yourself! Until next time! NN 🙂


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Word of the Day – Malfeasance

Today’s word is ‘Malfeasance’ and today’s dictionary is the Cambridge Dictionary


EXAMPLES of malfeasance

Against a background of corporate greed and malfeasance, a renewed focus on transparency and accountability is or seems to be permeating the business world.

Donors have often stressed the lack of ‘political will ‘, to account for limited action against high-level state malfeasance.

Creative Writing Challenge – A story in 250 words or less about your favourite city – Cambridge

I have several favourite cities, but I’ve chosen the city of my birth and where I grew up.

The most famous view known of Cambridge – Kings College and its Chapel. Picture credit https://cambridgeangels.com/


Cambridge has been a human settlement since pre-history with an Iron Age settlement dating from the 1st Century AD. There is additional evidence of historic settlement with the discovery of a 3,500-year-old farmstead. Moving forwards the area was occupied by the Romans and was known as the small town of ‘Duroliponte’ or ‘Durolipons’.

The Britons abandoned ‘Cair Grauth’ immediately after the Roman withdrawal in 410 AD. In the fifth century AD the area was settled by the invading Anglo-Saxons and known as ‘Grantebrycge’ or ‘Granta-bridge.’ By the time of ‘Middle English’ language, brought to Britain by the Duke of Normandy aka William of Normandy or King William I, the settlement’s name changed to “Cambridge.” William built a Castle there in 1068, which even now is known as Castle Hill and at the very top are the castle ruins.

Where I grew up was an area named Arbury. The name came from the name of a Roman Camp, earthworks for which had originally been found in Medieval times. Excavations in the 1950s found a Roman villa and mausoleum with stone coffins from the 2nd century.

Cambridge continued to grow and with several colleges being founded by different Kings over the years between now has a population of 125,758 within the city itself and 280,000 in total throughout it’s wards/suburbs, including Arbury and others such as Chesterton, Abbey, Newnham, etc.,. All members of the population are known as Cantabrigians.


Cambridge wards
By Nilfanion, created using Ordnance Survey data, derivative work by Maxxl2, OpenStreetMap and cmglee – Cambridge UK ward map 2010 coloured.svgCambridge-Openstreetmap-08-06-13.svg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32307088

I could write about Cambridge for hours and hours but there is already so much information about it on the web and this project was restricted to 250 words!



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Word of the Day #29

Today’s Word is ‘Galbanum’ and today’s dictionary is Collins Dictionary



a bitter aromatic gum resin extracted from any of several Asian umbelliferous plants of the genus Ferula, esp F. galbaniflua, and used in incense and medicinally as a counterirritant.

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Word of the Day #28

Today’s word is ‘Phosphene’ and today’s dictionary is Merriam-Webster.com



phos·​phene | \ ˈfäs-ˌfēn  \
An impression of light that occurs without light entering the eye and is usually caused by stimulation of the retina (as by pressure on the eyeball when the lid is closed) or by excitation of neurons in the visual system (as by transcranial magnetic stimulation). Early studies have demonstrated that direct electrical stimulation to neurons of the visual system will cause a subject to perceive points of light (phosphenes).— George Scarlatis
phosphenes gif

Phosphenes is the word you’re looking for to describe the luminous floating stars, zigzags, swirls, spirals, squiggles, and other shapes that you see when closing your eyes tight and pressing them with your fingers. Basically, these phenomena occur when the cells of the retina are stimulated by rubbing or after a forceful sneeze, cough, or blow to the head.

History and Etymology for phosphene

The word phosphene comes from the Greek words phōs (light) and phainein (to show). Phaineinis also a contributing element in such words as diaphanous, emphasis, epiphany and phenomenon among others.

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Word of the Day #27

Today’s Word is ‘Irrational’ and today’s dictionary is Lexico.com



Not logical or reasonable.

‘irrational feelings of hostility’
1.Not endowed with the power of reason.
‘Whenever you encounter a system that seems so irrational, you should ponder what’s going on beneath the surface.’
‘Man is an irrational being, morals are irrational, and have no metaphysical foundation which make them “real” or worth paying any attention to.’


(of a number, quantity, or expression) not expressible as a ratio of two integers, and having an infinite and non-recurring expansion when expressed as a decimal. Examples of irrational numbers are the number π and the square root of 2.



  • An irrational number or quantity; a surd.


Late Middle English from Latin irrationalis, from in- ‘not’ + rationalis (see rational).




unreasonable, illogical, groundless, baseless, unfounded, unjustifiable, unsound
absurd, ridiculous, ludicrous, silly, foolish, senseless, nonsensical, laughable, idiotic, stupid, wild
untenable, implausible, unscientific, arbitrary
informal crazy, mad
British informal barmy, daft
North American informal backasswards

rational, logical

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Reading Meme #6

I LOVE this meme! I taught my son the alphabet when he was 18 months old and read to him every night. I truly believe the earlier you start reading to them and introducing them to letters and numbers the easier they will find it to learn. Besides that, it’s introducing them to all the different worlds which exist inside and outside of our minds and our world. My son is now a writer – I’m waiting for him to set up his own blog as his stuff is amazing. I’ll be sharing as soon as he does it.


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Word of the Day #26

Today’s word is ‘Kalopsia’ and today’s dictionary is Your Dictionary




The delusion of things being more beautiful than they are.

‘China can bring on serious bouts of kalopsia in otherwise intelligent observers’ – The Times, April 24 2006

-noun. a condition, state or delusion in which things appear more beautiful than they really are. As a combination of the Greek roots kallos, meaning beauty, and opsis, meaning sight (or opos, meaning eyes), in English kalopsia can also mean beautiful sight or with beautiful eyes

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Creative Writing Challenge – Use these words in a story: grandfather, photo album, post office, and folder

Today was the day I’d been dreading for over a month. Grandfather had died five weeks ago and after the funeral was finally over just three short days ago it was time for us all to meet at the solicitor’s office for the reading of his will.

I didn’t much want to go, for it was unlikely he’d be bestowing much on me, as I’d disappeared for several years, which I won’t go into now, but I had my reasons. That does sound melodramatic and even stereotypical but that is what it is or was.

The smell which greeted us all as we made our way in through the hallway and up the grumbling staircase was one of age; that incredibly musty, trapped-in-history smell, of papers and folders ceiling-high in what you’d hope; if for the secretaries even if for no one else, was an organised state of disorganisation.

My brother was huffing impatiently, checking his watch about every ten seconds to see if time had moved on far enough for him to get back to work. His hands anxiously scraping through his hair when he saw only a matter of seconds had passed.

Dad had passed away eleven years ago and so everything he would have inherited was likely to be shared between us three siblings. As I said I’m not sure I’ll be included now as I feel it’ll be a case of ‘out-of-sight, out-of-mind’ and if I had been left anything Ian and Charlie were sure to contest it for years.

Mr Benjamin stood in the doorway of his office and called the five of us in. Mum made it her duty to get there first, so she was right under his nose. She was expecting a percentage of something from Dad’s inheritance too, claiming that as his ex-wife he should or would have made provision for her in her old age too. Why is what I want to know. She did the dirty on him and flew off into the world with the alleged love of her life, although he was not but strangely, she didn’t realise that had been Dad until he died. Families are strange things.

I sat at the back and let Uncle Matthew sit at the front with Mum and Ian. I wanted to be invisible, or ethereal, ghost-like. I felt that I should have stayed at home and just hear from Mr Benjamin when this was over. Charlie was not here, and Mr Benjamin mirrored Ian’s earlier actions, obviously anxious to start. He shuffled his papers, read a few lines then glanced back up, checked his watch, doublechecking with the ancient wall clock the time was correct. Giving a rasping sigh he looked up at the clock one final time before clearing his throat and beginning.

Half an hour later we all left the office confused and there was a hum of discussion which had been lacking prior to the appointment, although Charlie was hissing at Mum as she had scolded him for arriving late. There was precious little in the estate. Apparently, Grandfather had sold or mortgaged everything years ago and there were several legal commitments concerning those which would leave a big, fat zero.

For me, there was no disappointment as I had expected nothing. The one thing which had been bequeathed to me left me more confused than everyone else as it was something palpable, real. A photograph album. It was in the back-sitting room at the house and I was to collect it before tomorrow evening.

We all travelled to a swish restaurant for a meal which had already been paid by Grandfather. Mum was mouthing off at why Grandfather had left nothing and her entitlement to at least some of the non-existent estate. I had the feeling she had been relying on it for her own retirement. She’d just have to find some other man to jet off into the sunset with.

These family meals were a joke. There was no sense of family; no concern for the other parties despite the blood connection, no interest in each other’s lives, relationships or circumstances. Sad for others, but I have no remorse; left all the sentimental slush back far beyond the customary glimpse from the rear-view mirror. I was glad when everyone skipped dessert for coffees and even happier when the evening was over.

I jumped in a taxi with the briefest of goodbyes to everyone. There was nothing left to say; had been precious little over an uncomfortable dinner saturated with stilted, insincere conversation. Not wanting to return to my hotel room straight away I asked the driver to drop me outside some houses in a street I knew. Turning as if entering one of them I watched as the taxi pulled away and as soon as he was out of sight I turned and headed through the alley to the side of the terraces which led to the river.

Sitting on a bench in the darkness seems a crazy thing to do but I knew this town and the immediate vicinity very well. On the other side of the river was the land which led directly up to the mansion I would visit for the last time tomorrow.

My thoughts returned to my Grandfather, a man who had been kind, loving and even fun until the day everything changed for the entire family; the day Grandfather was at the centre of a voyeurism accusation and, despite his denials over a lengthy period of time, was discredited and with a full case of evidence found in the cellar, found guilty and sent to prison for fifteen months.

The scandal led to familial disgrace and many of us were assaulted, humiliated and suffered allegations and degradation to the basest of levels. I lost my friends, my boyfriend, had my hair pulled out in clumps at school and found excrement every night at the bottom of my bed until I’d been caught smearing it into the pillows of the three girls I knew had been responsible and had been suspended and sent home, which was the place I least wanted to be.

I must have fallen asleep as I was suddenly wide awake as could hear loud singing coming in my direction. Partygoers; lucky them. I stood and walked back through the alley to the terraces. My hotel was a short walk on the same side of the road, and I made my way quickly toward it, sighing with relief when I entered the warm, bright reception area.

Why do tomorrows approach so fast? It was already the morning and the alarm on my mobile phone was singing to me. I covered my head with the pillow but eventually admitted defeat and leant over to switch off the screeching 1990s track which I used to force me out of sleep. I wasn’t looking forward to today, apart from the taxi ride which would take me back out of here in the middle of the day, and sooner if I could do it. Collecting a photograph album from the mansion wasn’t going to take me long and I had no plans for a sickly-sweet plan to reminisce.

Arriving at the mansion I was met by Walter, who had been Grandfather’s assistant forever. We had all known the relationship between them was closer than implied; but in a time where acceptance wasn’t the watch word, they’d preferred to spurn recognition.

I hugged Walter briefly and he followed me to the rear sitting room. There was a tray with two large mugs of tea and an open tin of Family Circle biscuits on the coffee table. I smiled for the first time in quite a while. Walter used to save the smiley face, jam and cream-filled biscuits in a separate tub just for me and if I’d not visited for a while there’d usually be a whole tub of smiles waiting for me. The joy I felt at someone doing something so simple but perfect for me was cute and I felt understood like nobody ever had before.

We sat for half an hour. Walter was interested in me, my life and I opened up a little, shared some of what had been going on in New York. He then reached over to the side table, picked up the photograph album and passed it to me. Turning over the cover I saw my Grandfather and I in a number of natural, non-posed pictures. I was smiling or giggling in every one of them. As I turned the pages I saw more of the same and the silly tears formed and escaped my eyes leaving a long trail of salt down my cheeks. I desperately wanted to leave but felt obligated to stay for Walter’s sake.

The last page had a document tucked into the space between the sticky clear cover and board base of the page. It was the deeds to the mansion. They were in Walter’s name. I smiled through the tears, glad that the man who had devoted his life to Grandfather even when life had gone bad was being acknowledged now.

There was another document with the deeds. A sealed envelope addressed to my New York apartment. Walter took the document, telling me I was not to read the document until after my return and that Grandfather had left strict instructions the document was to be posted once I’d received the photo album.

Thanking Walter for his care I made plans to leave. He offered to drive me into town to save me calling for a taxi. After all he had to go to the Post Office to send the envelope to my home.

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Word of the Day #25

Today’s word of the day is ‘Extirpate’ and today’s dictionary is the Oxford Concise English Dictionary. For the full definitions from the OED please see below. The alternative words we would use in modern society for extirpate are obliterate, annihilate and expunge.

extirpate 1


Frequency (in current use):  
Etymology: < Latin ex(s)tirpāt- participial stem of ex(s)tirpāre , < ex- (see ex- prefix1) + stirps stem or stock of a tree. Compare extirp v.(Show Less)
1. transitive. To clear of stumps. In quot. 1548 figurativeObsolete.
1548   Hall’s Vnion: Henry VII f. iiii   He might wede, extirpate, and purdge the myndes of men.

(Hide quotations)


 a. To pull or pluck up by the roots; to root up, destroy, or remove root and branch (a tree, plant).

b. transferred.
c1666   in Murray Lincolnshire (1890) 24   The old Church..having been ‘extirpated by a hurricane’ in 1666.


 a. To root out, exterminate, or totally destroy (a class, sect, or nation); to kill off, and render extinct (a species of animals or plants). Const. out offrom.

 b. In weaker sense: To do away with, render extinct as such (a specified class of persons); to root out utterly, break up (a gang of thieves). Formerly also, †to drive out, clear away (persons) from a locality, etc.


Etymology: < Latin ex(s)tirpātus, past participle of ex(s)tirpāre : used as past participle of extirpate v.)


As past participle: rooted out, destroyed utterly, rendered extinct.

extirpate 2



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Word of the Day #24

Today’s word is ‘Gossamer’ and today’s dictionary is Dictionary.com



Also gos·sa·mer·y  [gosuh-muh-ree] gos·sa·mered. of or like gossamer; thin and light.

Word of the Day #23

Today’s word is ‘Bohemian’ and today’s dictionary is the Cambridge Dictionary


EXAMPLES of bohemian


I knew nothing from any kind of bohemian stance. From Cambridge English Corpus

In effect, jazz became the paradigmatic object of the avant-garde slummer, the new signifier for bohemian life. From Cambridge English Corpus

These examples are from the Cambridge English Corpus and from sources on the web. Any opinions in the examples do not represent the opinion of the Cambridge Dictionary editors or of Cambridge University Press or its licensors.
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Reading Meme #3

For me there’s nothing like kicking back with a book, a mug of coffee or a glass of something and escaping to another world or place. Not only are you escaping to another universe, you’re also expanding your own.

a book can be a star

I personally feel that reading is the best educator and something all kids should be taught properly from a very early age. Here in the UK, I don’t think enough importance is placed on reading and writing in early years education – please don’t comment or email me to tell me I am wrong and this is not my having a pop at Teachers because I feel they all do their best work with what they have.

I know and agree children should be allowed to learn through play in reception, however once they reach Year 1 they should be taught reading and writing for longer than they are. I have personal experience of eleven year old children going up to secondary education unable to read or even write well enough to follow what is happening in a lesson. They aren’t able to retain what is being said for long enough to make notes, or they’re unable to follow simple instructions during classes. This is a shame and it’s largely due to restricted budgets. I think it’s time education budgets were majorly increased to allow for much smaller classes at the earliest education levels, in fact the whole Primary level. I better climb off my soapbox now before I receive throngs of emails, comments and the like. NN 🙂