February begineth

Why does February have an “r” in the middle? I always pronounce it “Feb you airy” as do most people I know. Thinking about it – I occasionally say “Febry” so I dunno.

February: late 14c., from Latin februarius mensis “month of purification,” from februa “purifications, expiatory rites” (plural of februum), of unknown origin, said to be a Sabine word. The last month of the ancient (pre-450 B.C.E.) Roman calendar, so named in reference to the Roman feast of purification, held on the ides of the month. In Britain, replaced Old English solmonað “mud month”. English first (c.1200) borrowed it from Old French Feverier, which yielded feoverel before a respelling to conform to Latin. from http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=February

Love “mud month”.

ð (Ð – capital) is still used in Icelandic. it’s called “eth” or “eð”. I understand that (ðat!) it’s pronounced like a hard, voiced th as in ‘that’, ‘this’ as opposed to the soft, unvoiced th in e.g. ‘thing’ represented by þ – “thorn”.

       from B&M: Carte Noire coffee – excellent flavour for an ‘instant’ all the way down the bottle and moreover it’s not Nestlé (it’s Kraft);
       from Poundland: Haribo wine gums;
       from YumYums: sundry different bars of Swiss choccy – cheaper and tastier than Cadbury (Kraft win some and lose some);
       from M&S food: Pikelets! (and ice cream and casseroles and fruity yoghurts and …)

Bird facts on the British Trust for Ornithology site tells me that Great Crested Grebes have an incubation period of 27 – 29 days so I reckon that the pond family should be hatching in the next week.(writing on the 22nd Feb) Watching!

(mouse over for titles/captions; click to embiggen)

Saturday first of Solmonað 2014

The Grebe eggs are clearly visible here.
Narrowboat Rachel Louise was broken down with gearbox problems. There for a few days.
Loads of of varying fungi. They really flourish in the damp weather.
There’s a family of pied wagtails that hang around Priory Shopping Centre and Bridge Street – they’re quite accustomed to people.
Cute – that’s tufted ducks!

Sunday second of Solmonað

Second: “next after first,” c.1300, from Old French second, secont, and directly from Latin secundus “following, next in time or order,” also “secondary, subordinate, inferior,” from root of sequi “follow”. Replaced native other in this sense because of the ambiguousness of the earlier word.

Looking down at mosses can be worthwhile: there’s some beautiful little landscapes.
As always robins are singing all around – territorial defence or advertising for mates?
Long tails are still the cutest.
Thrushes are elusive to the eye but often very apparent to the ear.
Rather chuffed with the crescent moon pic.
We have had some smashing sunsets lately.

Monday thrid of Solmonað

Third: Metathesis of thrid into third is attested from c.950 in Northumbrian, but overall thrid was prevalent up to 16c. ibid

Metathesis: 1570s, “transposition of letters in a word;” c.1600, “rhetorical transposition of words,” from Late Latin metathesis, from Greek metathesis “change of position, transposition, change of opinion.

Ongoing cuteness of long tailed tits. Have to remember that they’re not being cute for my benefit – pure chance of evolution.
Paula’s shop opened on Ryton Street next to the “Guardian” & “Trader”.
Haven’t noticed a swan on the Canch before. It’s a three way for most photographed building in Worksop between Pumping Station, Priory Church or Priory Gatehouse. Nb Rachel Louise was back under way after replacing a trivial Bowden cable type of thing.
Pigeons often gather on the roof of the Flour Mill.
Yup! More long tailed pics.
Ian‘s dog Alfy hurtling to greet me.

Tuesday feorða of Solmonað

Fourth: mid-15c., alteration, by influence of four, of ferthe, from Old English feorða. ibid

Showing why they’re called great crested grebes. Things you can do with a computer – turned a sparrow into something quite exotic.
The goldcrest was an accidental catch – I’d no idea what it was until I enquired of Twitter – I was inundated with info!
Don’t usually like coots, a bit too aggressive for my taste, but this one seemed to pose intentionally.
Always a bit sorry for fish on hooks.
Tufted ducks spend quite a lot of time up the west end of the pond near the grebes’ nest.

Ian’s dogs are a mystery to me: you’d think I was their long lost relative the way they greet me.
Sparrows are magic wee beasties – not quite “cute” but nearly there.
Elder is starting to leaf up and hazel’s still flowering. Grebes take turns sitting on the eggs to allow the non-sitter to hunt.
Looking at that crow you can see where fast jets got their shape inspiration.
Mystery duck – mallard crossed with something? It’s big – one and a quarter times mallard size.

Wednesday fifth of Solmonað

Wednesday: fourth day of the week, Old English Wodnesdæg “Woden’s day,” a Germanic loan-translation of Latin dies Mercurii “day of Mercury”
fifth: from Old English fifta, from fif “five” + –ta. Altered 14c. by influence of fourth.

Tits, blue doin’ the buggerin’ off and greats sitting there.
Grebes taking time out from egg sitting.
Cock pheasant adding a touch of colour.

Thursday sixth of February

Thursday: fifth day of the week, Old English þurresdæg, a contraction (perhaps influenced by Old Norse þorsdagr) of þunresdæg, literally “Thor’s day,” from Þunre, genitive of Þunor “Thor”.

The pond from the South East.
A Mallard passing by.
Ivy fruiting – providing late food for birds.
Grebes becoming boring now.
Tiny blue flowers.

Shan’t be walking up there any time soon. Really shows why the Old English called February “mud month”.
Robin, thrush and coot doin’ the posin’.

Friday 7th February

Friday: sixth day of the week, Old English Frigedæg “Frigga’s day,” from Frige, genitive of Frig, Germanic goddess of married love, a West Germanic translation of Latin dies Veneris “day of (the planet) Venus,” which itself translated Greek Aphrodites hemera.



Different view of the pond. Our new resident swans, or are they cygnets?
Magpies perch on the highest branches and clouds are – cloudy?

The goldfinch was rather distant and not recognisable until in the computer.
Moss gardens are nice. The moon took some photomanipulation to bring it out.
Robins are sometimes elusive and sometimes blatant.
The two Polish(I think) guys asked to be snapped.
I always wonder if birds flying close to the water get any lift from “ground effect” – like hovercraft.

Week done!

6 thoughts on “February begineth

  1. Didn’t know about “thrid”, and am strangely pleased to find out. Have just bought a CD of Chaucer’s Prologue, but that’s middle English, and more or less recognisable.
    ‘salso interesting that the French days don’t have the same roots as the English, and now that you’ve pointed out “Mercury’s Day”, I shall have to look up the others.



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s