Cover Characteristic #2: Mythical Creatures

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Cover characteristic is a meme from Sugar & Snark. Each week on Sundays they post a characteristic and choose five favourite covers with that characteristic. If you want to join in and share your five favourite covers with the week’s particular characteristic, then just make a post, grab the original meme picture (or make your own as I’ve done) and leave your URL in the Linky on the original post page, so we can all visit!

I’m coming back to this meme with a previous week’s theme, because I was so sad to have missed it. So, this week my theme is Mythical Creatures – my favourite thing! The difficulty here was whittling it down to five. I decided I wouldn’t duplicate any creatures to make it more fun. So, here’s the list! Continue reading

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Bible Journaling for Beginners: Techniques

Hello, folks! Welcome to my second post on Bible journaling. To catch the first, where I talk about the materials you might want to grab, click here.

Today I want to talk about actual techniques to make your pages look really good. Some of these, I’ve tried. Some, I’m waiting to find the right verse to give it a proper go. But they all should be fairly easy to achieve. Continue reading

Words for the Week: Z


Hello, folks! Welcome to the final episode of Words for the Week, which has happened every Sunday, for twenty-six Sundays in a row. I know, I am amazing. I have so many books full of great words, and I so rarely have an excuse to delve into them. So I’ve been putting together a small selection of these lovely words once a week. I hope you’ve enjoyed this series as much as I have. For the final time, this week’s words begin with ‘Z’. 

Zaftig or zoftig (adjective): 1. Full-bosomed; 2. Having a full, shapely figure; buxom. Derived from Yiddish zaftik ‘juicy’. 

Actually not sure how I feel about this word, so I’m offering it up for comment. Thoughts? Do we like?

Zakuska (noun): Russian hors d’oeuvre, served with vodka.

I don’t drink so this probably isn’t for me, but I just love the way the word sounds. Zakuska. All sharp edges and sibilance. Love it. 

Zwodder (noun): Somerset. A drowsy, stupid state of body or mind. 

To quote David: “It well expresses the state of mind of a lexicographer who reaches the end of letter z.” His words, not mine, though I have to say I feel a certain amount of sympathy.

Zawn (noun): Cornwall. Vertical fissure or cave cut by wave action into a coastal cliff. 

I love the way this word sounds like the rock itself has yawned open against the pressure of the ocean. It feels powerful, inexorable. 

Zwar (noun): Exmoor. Crop of grass to be mown for hay. 

It’s a wide word, somehow. And oddly similar to zawn, though I can’t come up with any satisfactory linguistic connection between the two things. It feels like the end of summer – which is when hay is mown, right? Ugh, I’m such a town girl. I should know this. I live in the Home Counties, for heaven’s sake. (Say hello to the most middle-class thing I have ever said.)

This week’s words were sourced from Foyle’s Philavery, collected by Christopher Foyle; Landmarks by Robert McFarlane; The Disappearing Dictionary by David Crystal; The Phrontistery.

Words for the Week: Y


Nearly there, folks! Welcome to the penultimate episode of Words for the Week, which happens every Sunday. I have so many books full of great words, and I so rarely have an excuse to delve into them. So I’m putting together a small selection of these lovely words once a week, in the hope that you enjoy them as much as I do. This week’s words begin with ‘Y’. 

Yaffle (verb): To eat and drink, especially noisily and greedily. (Noun): The green woodpecker.

My theory is that the green woodpecker got a nickname first, and then people likened noisy eating to the sound it makes. I have absolutely no proof to back that up, but I’m going with it. 

Yaw (noun): The rotational movement or oscillation of an aircraft or spacecraft about a vertical axis.

Firstly, good sound word for another thing that isn’t really a sound. But mostly, this one’s in here for my buddy and space nerd, Romilly. Planes make me think of her. 

Yonderly (adjective): Cheshire, Cumberland, Lancashire, Westmorland, Yorkshire. Vague, absent-minded, weak in mind or body, anxious, depressed in health or spirits. 

Wow, this is not a word that pulls punches, is it? I do like the implication that if you feel this way, there’s something gone astray – over yonder, as it were. 

Yark (noun): Herefordshire. Hoar frost.

Frost is nearly water, right? I like the sharpness of yark. It sounds right. 

Yapness (noun): Hunger. 

I really like this word – it’s the noise people make when they’re hungry! You know when you get kind of snappy and disagreeable and then someone shoves a shortbread finger at you and suddenly you’re fine? This word is that!

This week’s words were sourced from Foyle’s Philavery, collected by Christopher Foyle; Landmarks by Robert McFarlane; The Disappearing Dictionary by David Crystal; The Phrontistery.

Words for the Week: X


Hello again, folks! Welcome to another episode of Words for the Week, which happens every Sunday. I have so many books full of great words, and I so rarely have an excuse to delve into them. So I’m putting together a small selection of these lovely words once a week, in the hope that you enjoy them as much as I do. This week’s words begin with ‘X’. 

Xenoglossia (noun): The Spontaneous use of a foreign language that the user has not heard before or learned. 

This is a fascinating phenomenon, usually in the context of a brain injury or religious experience. And it’s a good-sounding word, too. 

Xanthocomic (adjective): Yellow-haired.

I have no idea of the root of this word, but I would definitely like to. 

Xenium (noun): A gift made to a guest or ambassador; any compulsory gift. 

A love the fact that there’s a word for compulsory gifts. I can’t think of an example that won’t potentially make someone mad at me – but just know, I know this feel. 

Xenomancy (noun): Divination using strangers. 

Having done exactly zero research as I write this, I have no clue how this works, but I’m fascinated. Do you have to wait for visitors? Do you have to go out to a cafe or somewhere? I may have to look this up later. 

Xylography (noun): The art of engraving on wood. 

I suppose all arts must have a technical name, now that I think of it. But I particularly like this one, because it implies to me in ‘-graphy’ that there’s a kind of communication between artist and audience, which I think is super cool. 

This week’s words were sourced from Foyle’s Philavery, collected by Christopher Foyle; The Phrontistery.

Words for the Week: W


Hello again, folks! Welcome to another episode of Words for the Week, which happens every Sunday. I have so many books full of great words, and I so rarely have an excuse to delve into them. So I’m putting together a small selection of these lovely words once a week, in the hope that you enjoy them as much as I do. This week’s words begin with ‘W’. 

Wayzgoose (noun): An annual outing and dinner of the staff of a printing works or the printers of a newspaper. 

There are two great things about this word. Firstly, that a word exists for a particular dinner in a particular industry. Secondly, that Robert lists it as well, only he says it’s a Cornish word meaning ‘scarecrow’. So which is true? Are they connected? I have no idea, but I love it. 

Whimling (noun): 1. Someone given to whims; 2. A weak, childish person.

I mean, this makes me want to put ‘-ling’ at the end of every word to make it a noun. Like ‘halfling’. There must be others examples too, but my brain fails me. 

Woodled (adjective): Northamptonshire. Muffled, wrapped about the head and neck. Etymology unknown. 

David points out that it’s “similar in sound to huddle, mobble (‘muffle up’), cuddle, and other words that all seem to be expressing a sense of closeness and enclosure.” Ain’t that cute?

Wonty-tump (noun): Herefordshire. Molehill. 

Now, that’s beautiful. All cute sounding, and somehow makes complete sense to my brain despite being nonsense. 

Winterbourne (noun): Berkshire, Dorset, Wiltshire. Intermittent or ephemeral stream, dry in the summer and running in winter, usually found in chalk and limestone regions. 

Another water word, which will surprise no-one. I love the idea of an ‘intermittent stream’. Superb. 

This week’s words were sourced from Foyle’s Philavery, collected by Christopher Foyle; Landmarks by Robert McFarlane; The Disappearing Dictionary by David Crystal.

Friday 56 #2: The Garden of Five Surprises

The rules for this meme are: pick up a book. Any book. Turn to page 56, or 56% in your eReader. Pick a sentence, and link back your blog or comment about it to the Friday 56, hosted by Freda’s Voice. Simple!

Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett

Time is a resource. Everyone knows it has to be managed. And on the Discworld that is the job of the Monks of History, who store it and pump it from the places where it’s wasted (like the underwater – how much time does a codfish need?) to places like cities, where there’s never enough time. But the construction of the world’s first truly accurate clock starts a race against, well, time for Lu Tze and his apprentice Lobsang Ludd. Because it will stop time. And that will only be the start of everyone’s problems.

Thief of Time comes complete with a full supporting cast of heroes, villains, yetis, martial artists and Ronnie, the fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse (who left before they became famous). 

How to Have a Very Bookish Autumn

Leaf, Leaves, Yellow, Autumn, Fall

Autumn is upon us! The skies are crystal blue, the leaves are crunching underfoot, and I’ve unpacked my thick jumpers and scarves from their summer holiday on top of the wardrobe. My circulation is not great, so I’ll pretty much be in gloves from now until April.

So, to get us all in the mood for the snuggliest, most colourful season of them all, here are 8 things to invest in for a super bookish autumn. Continue reading

Words for the Week: V


Hello again, folks! Welcome to another episode of Words for the Week, which happens every Sunday. I have so many books full of great words, and I so rarely have an excuse to delve into them. So I’m putting together a small selection of these lovely words once a week, in the hope that you enjoy them as much as I do. This week’s words begin with ‘V’. 

Vengesour (noun): An avenger.

Petition to rename the avengers so that they sound 50% more like dinosaurs. Please and thank you.

Virago (noun): 1. A fierce or abusive woman; 2. A woman with masculine strength or heroic qualities; an amazon.

This is a great word, because even just in its meanings you can easily see the kind of linguistic bullshit women have had to deal with over time. Founders of international publishing house Virago were apparently also sick of linguistic bullshit, and decided to reclaim it. Their imprint publishes great women. Mystery solved, patriarchy punched in the face every time someone buys a Virago book. 

Vady (noun): Devon, Sussex. Something carried about by a traveller to provide comforts during the journey. 

My vady is usually biscuits. But I have a reason! I’m quite prone to travel sickness, but if I have something in my stomach before I start, I’m usually fine. It’s a weird thing – usually you need an empty stomach to fight travel sickness – but it does give me a good excuse for not sharing my biscuit supply. 

Verglas (noun): Mountaineering. Thin blue water-ice that forms on rock.

Beautiful word, deadly phenomenon. I can’t resist a water word, and we haven’t had one in a few weeks, so here we go. 

Virga (noun): Meteorological. Observable streak or shaft of precipitation that falls from a cloud but evaporates before reaching the ground. 

I’ve never seen this, but doesn’t it sound cool? Someone send me a picture of one. 

This week’s words were sourced from Foyle’s Philavery, collected by Christopher Foyle; Landmarks by Robert McFarlane; The Disappearing Dictionary by David Crystal.