Not PC

While trawling through documents in order to trace our family tree, I was looking at the 1901 English Census, and noticed that column 17 of the page is entitled: (1) Deaf and dumb, (2) Blind, (3) Lunatic, (4) Imbecile, feeble-minded.

I wondered how the person collecting the data distinguished between lunatics and imbeciles?

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Wednesday WOrd


It’s a Finnish word, meaning a soap dish wholesale vendor, or a soap stone dealer, or something like that. Something to do with soap, or dishes, or stones. Who cares? It’s the longest known single word palindrome.

Try and use it at least four times over the coming weekend. 😉

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What’s in a name?

In our family, we’ve always had very plain and simple names. Easy to pronounce, easy to spell, easy to remember. 🙂

Until now, I thought that my middle name, Roberta, was the most exotic amongst them. However, having started building a family tree, I find an ancestor with the splendid name of Montague Octavious Billing. Isn’t that rather splendid? I have an image of a bewhiskered, portly gentleman in a top hat, wearing a monocle and smoking a cigar. He was probably nothing like that. He was my maternal great-great-grandfather. Also on that side of the family was a great- uncle called Henry Montague Lestocq Parry.

The tree is getting frightfully complicated; so far I’ve gone back six generations. I’m a little uncertain on some of the relationships – one of the problems of having very common names: for instance James Young. Knowing virtually nothing about him, (apart from the fact that he was an excessively miserable little man) neither his place or date of birth, nor the date of his death, only that his wife’s name was Elizabeth (although she always insisted her correct name was Lizzie), trawling through several thousand people with the same name is quite a task but it’s very absorbing, and exciting to discover new facts. For instance, what happened to my aunt’s first husband, who I didn’t know existed until I winkled her out of the records? Is there a skeleton in the family cupboard?

Any hints and tips on researching welcomed. I’m using the site, which seems to be turning up more and more information as I go along, but I need to find details of marriages and births in South Africa, and a death in the USA.

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Going back to stats for a moment ..

.. I’ve just caught up with my filing for the last xxx months, and notice from my royalty statements that my books have sold over 50,000 copies – not counting all those copies that are re-sold on Amazon. 🙂

The royalty statements are completely unfathomable, and I am sure they are designed to be deliberately incomprehensible. I did once spend several hours trying to work out what all the acronyms meant, and how the figures tallied (which they didn’t), but it was a losing game, so I just banked the cheques instead. 🙂

Still, the one figure that is fathomable is the total sales for each book, and both Best Foot Forward and Two Steps Backward have sold over 20,000 copies, with A Perfect Circle just around the 10,000 mark. That’s in English. Best Foot Forward is also published in Dutch.

With digital books taking off, it’s going to be very interesting to watch developments. Publishers are offering authors derisory royalties on digital books, and some big names are taking matters into their own hands and publishing their work themselves as e-books. I’m in a bit of a dilemma regarding digital rights, and am watching from the sidelines to see how things progress.

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Call me thick ..

Felipe Massa at Autódromo Internacional do Alg...
Image via Wikipedia

.. but if Alonso’s car was faster, why couldn’t he overtake Felipe Massa?

I don’t begrudge Bushybrows his win – despite his petulance I have a soft spot for him, but for heaven’s sake!

Did you ever see a race winner looking as embarrassed as he did today? And Massa, what a miserable way to treat him after a brilliant start where he took the lead from Vettel and Alonso, and led right up to the moment when he was given team orders to hand the race to Alonso.  A year ago he was almost killed by a flying object; today he was stabbed in the back by his own team.

Still, the ensuing scandal must be good news for Red Bull and Christian Horner. 😉

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