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.”

10 thoughts on “July

  1. It’s really rather good to be reminded that there are months with relatively little rain and lots of sunshine.
    I’m glad there was a dry day in November so that I could have my roof patched up.
    Being woken in the night by water dripping onto the bedroom floor is quite annoying…
    Had Christmas with David (Helen’s dad) and his wife Christine and the children and Helen and Ollie and Edna and Christine’s son and grandson.
    You’d have loved it…


    • It really has been a warm year, hasn’t it.
      Leaking rooves (well it’s hoof/hooves isn’t it?) are a thing we council tenants – especially those living on the ground floor of a block o’ flats – have little concern about.
      I hope your ellipsis was hiding sarcasm. I really enjoy my solitude – is that strange of me?

      Isn’t your birthday around christmas? Happy birthday anyhow.


  2. I’m delighted that you see so many moths and butterflies. There are fewer than when we were young. It’s at times likes these (excessively wet) that I am thankful to be living on a sandstone hill. I’m guessing that Godfrey’s pond and the canal are both very full. As ever, stunning photography – I particularly liked the ants.


  3. Most of the butterflies and moths are within a hundred foot area to the north of the pond and on the slopes of Shireoaks Woodland. I think you’re right about there being fewer now although I only remember knowing about four different ones when I was a kid.

    It has been very mixed weather since just before christmas but we haven’t had it half as bad as your side of the pennines and northerlier than here seems to have.

    The pond overflows into the canal through a narrow pipe so its level fluctuates slowly but not by much. The canal self levels by overflowing and by passing water down its length so it can’t really get any fuller than full. 🙂

    You’ve got to remember that only about 1 in 100 pics survive to see the light of the internet. Never (knowingly) seen ants with aphids before, it was pure accident that I saw them.


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