Whurdling through etymology

  • No: negative reply, early 13c., from Old English na (adv.) “no, never, not at all”, from ne “not, no” + a “ever”.
  • Not: negative particle, mid-13c., unstressed variant of noht, naht “in no way”.
  • Nothing: Old English naþing, naðinc, from nan “not one” + þing “thing”. Meaning “insignificant thing” is from c. 1600. As an adverb from c. 1200. As an adjective from 1961.
  • Nowhere: Old English nahwær “nowhere, not at all;”. Similar constructions were attempted with nowhat (1520s) and nowhen (1764), but they failed to take hold and remain nonce words.
  • Nonce: abstracted from phrase for þe naness (c. 1200) “for a special occasion, for a particular purpose,” itself a misdivision of for þan anes “for the once,” in reference to a particular occasion or purpose, the þan being from Middle English dative definite article þam.

Thorn or þorn (Þ, þ). Pronounced as ‘th’ in thick. The letter originated from the rune ᚦ in the Elder Fuþark. Eth (Ð, ð; also spelled edh or eð). Pronounced similarly to the th in English “the”, but it never appears as the first letter of a word, where þ (Thorn) is used in its place.
More to come; now there’s a threat
Note: to “whurdle” is to wander through a book or website without any guidance other than whim. Yup; I made it up.

Really: click on the pics to see ’em as big as poss – it’s worthwhile.

Wednesday the First

Apparently – don’t remember myself but judging by the pictures – a HOT day:

The thistle head is one of several big (Scottish?) thistles which have appeared on the north side of the pond. Butterflies becoming more obvious in the sun. Blackbirds and, unusually(?), a robin basking in the heat.

The palest of purple flowers and common blue damselflies mating in the canal.
Onward to Shireoaks Woodlands where the scarlet pimpernels are very much in evidence. The cinnabar moths aren’t so common but teasels are ubiquitous. I love the almost architectural appearance of teasels. Small pink flowers (what? Common storksbill?) are scattered about. The ant’s aphid farm was back down near home again.

Thursday the Second

A very butterflyish day.

Skippers – there’s large and small – can never be sure which is which until I see both at the same time.

Meadow browns and ringlets are fairly similar and it sometimes takes two looks to distinguish them.

First place I’ve seen marbled whites and cinnabar moths. Well the first place I’ve known what I was seeing, anyway.

Ladybird and a ladybird larva(?). Spider with a mating damselfly about to provide dinner and a spider going for a walk.

A juvenile moorhen about to dive into the canal. Sloes not yet ripe and a little grove of bee orchids. I’ve been told what the dandelionish seed head is of but have forgotten it. Why the bird’s foot trefoil is so called.

Moer nats, nets, nits and nots

  • gnat Old English gnæt “gnat, midge, small flying insect,”
  • net: Old English net “netting, network, spider web, mesh used for capturing,” also figuratively, “moral or mental snare or trap,”
    net: “remaining after deductions,” 1510s, from earlier sense of “trim, elegant, clean, neat” (c. 1300)
    net: “to gain as a net sum,” 1758.
    net: “to capture in a net,” early 15c.
  • Knit: Old English cnyttan “to tie with a knot, bind, fasten”.
  • Knot: Old English cnotta “intertwining of ropes, cords, etc.”.
  • nut: “hard seed,” Old English hnutu
  • Narwhal: 1650s, from Danish and Norwegian narhval, probably a metathesis of Old Norse nahvalr, literally “corpse-whale,” from na “corpse” + hvalr “whale”. So called from resemblance of its whitish colour to that of dead bodies.

Friday the Third


Bee on blackberry flower, an unidentified moth and a ladybird(?)larva.

Grebes with the kids and a blackbird on a bench.

Small(?) skipper, five spot burnet moth, you can see why they’re confused with the cinnabar, by me at least, and a red soldier beetle.

All butterflies like knapweed but marbled whites seem to really love the flowers. The moth is a “Silver Y”, searching the ‘net tells me.

The HUGE ‘plane was a Ukranian Antonov heading for Doncaster airport. (According to “planefinder

Saturday Fourth

Butterflies: a gatekeeper and a couple of skippers. There’s a small patch of meadow with lots of grasshoppers in the season.

Shireoaks Carnival:

Bees in a portable mini-hive. The queen has been ‘spotted’ to aid identification. New/old Dawn Rose was moored adjacent to the show at the Social Club. The topiarised (is that a word? – ’tis now) shrub in a Shireoaks garden caught my eye. The band and procession processed from the level crossing to the showground. The bee tent was probably the most popular (entirely personal opinion). Narrowboat Calvert was passing as I left.

Back at the pond mum grebe was with all three kids and there was a ringlet above the pond.

Monday Sixth

Once again the grebes are out and about, there’s the whole family here. I think the bird’s a greenfinch, open to correction though. Thistles are interesting flowers, no? Rabbits are rarely seen in full daylight although quit common at dawn and dusk. The reed is a flower I’m sure I’ve mentioned before

A few yesish words for balance

  • Yes: Old English gise, gese “so be it!”, probably from gea, ge “so” + si “be it!,” third person imperative of beon “to be”. Originally stronger than simple yea.
  • Yester-: Old English geostran “yesterday”.
  • Yea: Old English gea (West Saxon), ge (Anglian) “so, yes,”
  • Year: Old English gear (West Saxon), ger (Anglian) “year”.

Interestingly (or not?):
Y: a late-developing letter in English. Called ipsilon in German, upsilon in Greek, the English name is of obscure origin. The sound at the beginning of yard, yes, yield, etc. is from Old English words with initial g- as in got and y- as in yet, which were considered the same sound and often transcribed as Ȝ, known as yogh. The system was altered by French scribes, who brought over the continental use of -g- and from the early 1200s used -y- and sometimes -gh- to replace Ȝ.

Tuesday the seventh

The thistles are showing really well. A ringlet and three views of a skipper.
Spider guarding the kids

Spider guarding the kids

The spider is Tibellus oblongus Google tells me — eventually.

Loads o’ butterflies: meadow browns, tortoiseshells, skippers and a comma.

Grebes out en famille. The bird’s prolly a chiffchaff but I ain’t no orthinologist. A ringlet, a blue sky and some swallows complete the day.


Roger: masculine proper name, from Old French Rogier, from Old High German Hrotger, literally “famous with the spear“. As a generic name for “a person,” attested from 1630s. Slang meaning “penis” was popular c. 1650-c. 1870; hence the slang verb sense of “to copulate with (a woman),” attested from 1711.
The use of the word in radio communication to mean “yes, I understand” an abbreviation for “received.” Said to have been used by the R.A.F. since 1938.
The Jolly Roger pirate flag is first attested 1723, of unknown origin; jolly here has its otherwise obsolete Middle English sense “high-hearted, gallant.”
Roger de Coverley, once a favourite English country dance, is so called from 1685, in reference to Addison’s character in the “Spectator.”

End of June

Published in error 2nd November, but it’ll have to do now.
The ‘wramblings’ in the header has, as you will have deduced gentle reader, a silent W which is there for purely aesthetic reasons. I rather like the twothree definitions of ‘ramble’:

  1. Walk for pleasure in the countryside
  2. Talk or write at length in a confused or inconsequential way
  3. (Of a plant) put out long shoots and grow over walls or other plants

(Oxford Dictionaries)
The first two of these I do to a great extent, the second rather more than the first, and the third is a characteristic of many plants that that leg me up when negotiating my way through shrubberies and the like. Got rather distracted there for a while by The Knights Who Say Ni while looking up shrubbery. Incidentally, one of the best insults in the English language has to be “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries”. (see what I mean about the second definition?)

Don’t forget that you can see pictures bigger by clicking on ’em, mousing over should bring up captions. All pictures are on Flickr, here. Continue reading

Keeping on with June

As you, gentle reader will be aware, I walk along the canal towpath most days. What won’t be so obvious, to those who know me as a surly old curmudgeon, is that I have many a happy word for those I pass.

Generally folk will greet each other and me with a fairly cheery “Hi” or comment on the weather. Some will pause with a comment, often about my camera or something they’ve seen that they think was worthy of a snap. Added bonus is meeting people walking dogs. Much fuss can be made of our four legged friends.

I know quite a few anglers because they are often at or near the same place on so many occasions. My usual greeting to them is “Doin’ owt?”. This usually brings either a lament: “Nar, it’s rubbish. They’re not bitin’.” or “Just lost a big ‘un.” or, quite rarely, “Great – twelve in t’ last hour.”

Cyclists are a different kettle of fish. Most are OK – tingling their bells at a reasonable distance and thanking you as they pass. Some just sneak up, the first you know is their tyres hissing on the gravel as they near your heels.

It’s a sign of the times that single women usually pass in silence often with eyes cast down. Can’t blame ’em – there’s a whole load of yobs round here and nothing to mark me as an exception.
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June Week 2

I’ve been suffering from occasional back nurgle which, with my ‘walk over a mile and the hip goes “clunk‘, has sometimes made walking a bit of a chore. Some days I don’t go at all but they’re few and far between. Minimum usual walk is to town via lake and canal, most often including up to Deep Lock.
Please click on pictures to see ’em bigger.
Or you can see this week hereLINK on flickr


This was one of the ‘minimal’ days:
A squirrel in the trees across the canal and a wren singing its heart out.

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June – Week one

The header picture is of Shireoaks church, Saint Luke’s, from the top of the old pit tip which has been reclaimed and is now a public space with meadows and young woodland.
Until the early 1970s the Church had a spire but it was removed for safety – there was subsidence.
From the Church websiteLINK:

The foundation stone was laid by the then Prince of Wales, later to become Edward VII, on St Luke’s day, 18th October 1861. The same day two years later saw it’s dedication.
Built in “High Church” style it was a present to the village by the fifth Duke of Newcastle-Under-Lyne. The Duke was the owner of the colliery at the village and commissioned the architect Thomas Chambers Hind to build a church for his colliers who “badly want it”.


Thinks: why do kettle spouts have filters? Most(?) folk fill ’em through the spout so anything lodging in there will be poured back out with the contents. Unless your water is very, very, hard, you’re unlikely to have anything filterable originating in the kettle.


On with the pics:
Mouse over pics for captions, click ’em to see them bigger.


Narrowboat Concordia moored at the Lock Keeper before heading up towards Shireoaks. The cock pheasant was displaying noisily on an earth heap left by the groundsman. Most days I take at least one and probably more, series of pics to attack with Hugin panorama maker – often of the pond but occasionally elsewhere. Distant heron and close up daddy long legs.

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It’s here!

I cannot be bothered with blogging when the weather’s decent – I’d rather be out walking, although I do shove some pics up to Flickr after each day’s meander.
So a quick catch up on the summer(ha)‘s pictures.

Don’t forget you can see ’em bigger by clicking on pictures. Click on the first of a batch to start a followable gallery.

Back end of May

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