Today’s word prompted by Word Press is enroll which must have been chosen by an American as it appears to have been spelt incorrectly as it contains one too many l’s, namely two, which is unusual as the Americans normally have a tendency to remove letters rather than add them

This reminded me of the old saying “there are two l’s in rollocks” which can be the American way of spelling rowlocks, which as we all know is the U shaped piece of metal which keeps an oar in place when rowing.

However the rowlock is located in the gunwale, effectively the side of the boat, which strangely in American is spelt gunnel, now, I can see the point of spelling words as they sound, but I have to admit to being a tad old fashioned and prefer to use the original version, wherever possible.

At this point, one has to mention the Plimsoll line, another word with two l’s in it, which is the load line of a vessel. The line was invented by Samuel Plimsoll and as far as I can tell we all spell it the same, which is useful as I didn’t want this blog to sound like a load of rollocks.

Not wishing to remain with the nautical theme I shall move on to a different tack and mention Groucho Marx who allegedly having been black balled from enrolling into a golf club because he was Jewish, wrote them a letter saying, “I don’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member.” I think he made his point.

Personally I have never enrolled in a golf club, I find it hard to imagine how one can derive pleasure from hitting a little ball into a small hole dragging your golf bats behind you. Often attributed to Churchill was the comment that “golf was a way to spoil a good walk.” My wife, who was a keen horsewoman often commented that a golf links were a dreadful waste of pasture, but I have no idea of the original derivation of the phrase.

Well, I have to leave you now as I have enrolled in a local evening class which I’m hoping will assist me with future blogs, it is of course, a spelling class.

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Without a doubt in modern life we have far too many rules and regulations, one is constantly having to either give ones permission or seek the permission of others to do virtually everything and I suspect most people are so used to this that they don’t even notice.

When parking one’s car virtually anywhere nowadays you need a permit, granted by displaying the ticket you have purchased from the handy machine, assuming you have the right change or a phone and a credit card about your person. I’m sure when I was a boy and I’ll admit that was some considerable time ago, but there used to be car parking with no permit, i.e. no ticket and no charge. Tell that to the plethora of NHS managers running our hospital car parks and they would laugh in your face.

I recently purchased car insurance and during the telephone conversation I was asked to listen to a long list of terms and conditions before they would permit me to complete the transaction. Like me I think most people pay scant regard to the list of conditions and may well have agreed to sacrifice their first born child rather than make a claim.

One of the permits that I’m not at all keen on is the permit required to drive into the London Congestion Zone, now I realise the powers that be think it justified to charge us for the pollution in London but if they removed the bus lanes, cycle lanes, slow traffic lights and all the other obstructions stopping us proceeding at a decent speed, there would be no pollution, ergo, no charge.

Even something as simple as making a phone call requires permission by having to enter one’s security number before proceeding, there should be a way of setting up your phone which takes into account the fact that my phone rarely leaves my pocket and is never used where it may be stolen. I am willing to take a chance on the odds of it getting stolen, which if it were to happen, any thief worth their salt would have it re-chipped in no time at all, negating the need for my access code anyway.

When you start to think about it, you realise just how many things require you to give permission before being able to continue, it wasn’t that many years ago when using a credit card, the permit required was your signature on the paper slip. Gradually more and more information was requested, I seem to remember the first security numbers were just three numbers, then four and finally, (at the moment) four and the addition of the three on the back.

Almost everything you use on the internet requires a password, once again it started all lower case, then required an upper case letter too, then the addition of a number, and finally the addition of a symbol, which is all well and good when your computer is set to remember for you and fills it in automatically. However if someone were to gain access to your computer is considerably less secure than inputting a shorter pass code, not remembered by the computer but one you can remember in your head.

It’s quite amazing how many things require pass codes etc before allowing access in this modern day and age, I could continue moaning about them for ages but time does not permit.

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What sort of animal or creature would you be if you had the choice, I think for me, it would have to be a dog, most of whom seem to have a fairly cushy life if they’re lucky.

I believe it was not us who domesticated the wolves but the wolves themselves who moving closer to our homes looking for food became ever more tame until eventually they were eating from our tables, some 33,000 years ago. I’m just judging by our dog who is a giant poodle, who can when he chooses stand upright with his paws on your shoulders and be standing getting on for six feet tall and yet be a docile and loving creature.

“Theo”, to give him his name lives the life of Riley, he sleeps when he wants, especially now he’s getting older and does pretty much anything else he wants, when he wants for he has domesticated all of us in the family.

We are lucky in that we have a large garden in which Theo can run about, play ball, defecate, urinate, or generally mark his territory in any way he feels fit, including some remarkable acrobatics to mark a tree or bush as high up as possible; for the higher the deposit, the further the scent will travel in the wind.

As someone getting a little older I myself always take the opportunity to use the toilet as one is never certain when the chance may come again, so I can sympathise with his desire to mark his territory although I’m glad my efforts don’t require the acrobatics.

I suspect we are not alone in that we treat the dog as a member of the family, he sleeps on the sofa in the kitchen in front of the wood burner, we wouldn’t want him getting cold, after all. He is also in the habit of joining us when we make tea in the morning and take it to drink in bed before getting up. He jumps on the bed and makes himself comfortable and like this morning when we had a lay in watching television or reading, he too remains with us. I don’t think he views himself as a creature, I have a feeling he thinks he is a human being.

Well I have to go now as we are about to eat and Theo will join us sitting by the side of the table waiting for some titbits, which is pretty much where we came into this 33,000 years ago.

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Is this an easy subject chosen as our challenge for the Word Press Daily Post, Prompt of the day, I sympathize with you if you are finding it a tricky one.

My first thought was a feeling that “sympathize” should end with “ise” and the spell checker on my computer seems to be questioning the spelling ending “ize”, which I had assumed would be due to the difference of spelling between American and English. However having checked with my dictionary it seems both are acceptable and has sympathize as first choice.

To sympathize, then is to agree with a sentiment, opinion, or ideology, but not necessarily to have experienced the situation with which you are sympathizing, for if you have experienced that which you are sympathizing with, you are in fact empathizing, which is a totally different ball game.

I came across a definition for the word empathize on the website “vocabulary.com” which was so good I had to reproduce it verbatim.

“To empathize is to understand or relate to someone else’s emotional experience. If you get teary-eyed upon hearing about the death of your friend’s pet hermit crab, you’re probably empathizing with your friend – unless you’re just bored to tears by her story.”

“Empathize is often used interchangeably with sympathize, but you’ll get no empathy (or sympathy) from the usage experts if you confuse the two. When you sympathize with another person, you feel sad that she is suffering, but you don’t necessarily relate to her experience. It’s easiest to empathize when you’ve been through the same experience; for example, if your pet guppy had recently passed away, your friends hermit crab story would have broken your heart, due to empathy.”

I think I’m getting the hang of this now, so for example, should I be unlucky enough to fall from a cliff when out for a constitutional upon the cliff path and be left clinging for dear life to a small outcrop I should hope that any potential rescuers may have had a similar experience. Those rescuers who have not had a similar experience, whilst showing sympathy may merely pass by, whilst those who have empathy would surely throw me a lifeline in an effort to save my life.

For those of you who are finding this blog a little confusing, I apologise and you have my sympathy, or should that be empathy?

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I’m discombobulated as to why anyone would choose puzzled as the word for today’s blog subject, but they have, so here goes.

Having reached the grand age of 66 I now realise I have become my father, I hear myself every day uttering phrases which he would have used and being puzzled and confused about the workings of the modern world.

There is not a day goes by where I don’t find myself watching the news on television with my mouth ajar wondering if what I have witnessed really can be true. Only this morning on a television discussion programme the subject of TV talent shows was mentioned and the host reeled of a list of shows as long as your arm, I had no idea there was such a plethora of the things.

I am puzzled as to why there are so many talent shows on television, let alone any at all and I have to admit I absolutely hate the things. The audience have to sit through some of the most dreadful acts I have ever had the misfortune to see and to cheer and encourage the most minimally talented of performers, finally resulting in some mediocre singer becoming a pop sensation for two or three months.

Modern life leaves me puzzled in so many ways, a Manchester art gallery has taken down a Victorian painting Hylas and the Nymphs by J W Waterhouse. The painting is of semi naked adolescent girls bathing in a pool, allegedly it was taken down in a move to encourage debate about how such images should be displayed in the modern age. In my opinion the painting should be displayed in exactly the same way as it was when first shown in 1896, you fix it to a wall in an art gallery and people walk by and look at it.

Having finished my blog today I shall now go to the other room where my children will be watching some dreadful American drama on the television, I shall be puzzled as to why?

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Latin, I have to admit is not my first language, my first language is English and the vague smattering of Latin that I have gleaned is from smutty schoolboy humour, so I will in advance offer my profuse apologies should anyone take offence at my Latin jokes, or for that matter the bad grammar therein.

Which leads me on to my next topic, Donald Trump and why Trump you may ask, well if you search for news items which might be suitable to use in a blog, the profuse amount of articles from the USA are Trump related and if you search UK news you get brexit, both very dull subjects.

When watching television news, certainly in the UK we no longer get the “and finally” news item, with some light-hearted story of a fluffy pussy cat rescued from a tree by the fire brigade.

I must confess that I didn’t watch President Trump’s State of the Union speech, I do have a life after all, but one understands that he has taken credit for the upturn in the American economy and has thanked the 45.6 million people who watched, claiming it to be the highest number in history.

Now I don’t want to be a wet blanket but you can’t have people in positions of responsibility spouting off facts that are quite clearly not true, even though it seems to be a special talent where some politicians are concerned. It only took a moment to check that in fact it was President Obama who should be credited with this record as his inaugural address to a joint session of Congress gained some 52.3 million viewers and over 48 million for his first State of the Union speech in 2009.

The state of the American economy, I imagine is largely driven by the oil industry and the profuse amounts of the stuff available for export since the start of fracking.

America is on the threshold of the biggest oil and gas boom ever, which means even more will be available for export, this oil being available because of a decision taken by Congress in December 2015 to end the 40 year old ban on exports. I am wondering how President Trump could possibly take any credit for this decision as he wasn’t inaugurated until January 2017.

Like all good news items of the past, after all this rather serious news, I shall leave you with my own, “and finally” comment.

When I saw the topic for today’s blog the first word that came into my head came from an amusing Latin phrase we used to titter at when at school and as I said previously, for any serious Latin scholars, do please forgive the grammar.

The phrase “semper in excretia sumus, solum profundum variat” often seems to sum up my feelings having read the news, it does of course mean; always in the shit, only the depth varies!

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Conveyor, a person or thing that transports or communicates something; a conveyor of information, where to start with our subject today?

The first thought that came to mind was “Don’t shoot the messenger” which led me to the story conveyed by Pultarch, a Greek biographer and essayist, who later became a Roman citizen, who told of the story of the arrival of the messenger who spoke to Tigranes during The Roman Wars.

It seems this poor fellow was the bearer of bad news which displeased Tigranes, barely had he spluttered the message out when Tigranes ordered his head to be cut off. I’m led to believe that these actions tended to deter any further messengers from bringing any bad news, perhaps they just arrived and gave a cheery weather forecast and when questioned as to, “anything else”, would say “nothing I can think of” and left as quickly as possible.

I’m always amused by politicians who have a policy or message they wish to convey, when being interviewed by reporters who ask about farming for example, the politician has the opportunity to reply thus. “I’m awfully glad you’ve asked me about farming as it gives me the opportunity to say something wonderful about my parties policy on banking”! Hence the derivation of the word bullshit.

My last thought on the prompt of the day was of my rather wonderful 1947 Bentley Mk VI a splendid conveyor of ladies and gentlemen from that day until this. Just after the war, World War Two for those of you wondering, which war exactly? Britain was on it’s uppers having spent a fortune fighting the war, rationing was still in place and you had to be someone special to be allowed to purchase a motor car.

The car was purchased from Jack Barclay, Hanover Square, London, W1, by a Mr William Wright in December 1947 for the princely sum of £4056.00, which in those days would have been enough to buy three fairly substantial houses. I don’t know how Mr Wright thought about his motor car but having traced the history of the vehicle I do know he was offered three times the purchase price and turned it down. He must have thought it was a rather special Christmas present and I must say I agree with him.

Just because I can convey this story to you in writing does not mean I have the ability to include pictures but I will have a go, I shall if I can leave a link to my website which has a photo of the conveyor mentioned, apologies if it doesn’t work.


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