Further to yesterday’s Tim Knowles post

Cumbria Trust

For the benefit of those of you who do not subscribe to Facebook, the following piece and the ensuing replies were posted in response to our item on Tim Knowles yesterday.

“As I said before – huge respect to Tim in stating his revised position, if only all politicians were brave enough to do this kind of thing… After seeing off the Zip Wire (which is about so much more than the one project and for me all about setting a precedent) this issue will unfortunately become a priority again for those who love the Lake District and Cumbria. Government/Whitehall must not be allowed to foist an unsafe solution on Cumbria just because it suits them. And by the way all the main political parties have been as bad as each other on this issue. Not a party political issue at all.” ~ John Wilson

“Grateful for these kind comments…

View original post 229 more words


A change of view for Tim Knowles…

Cumbria Trust

Tim Knowles

In a recent post we wrote about the Radio Cumbria report on the latest developments in the continuing search for a suitable site for a GDF. In addition to interviewing Eddie Martin during the news feature, Radio Cumbria also interviewed Tim Knowles, who chaired the last search process, known as Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS).

It was striking that Tim has changed his view since 2013 and no longer supports the idea of geological disposal of nuclear waste in Cumbria.  He appears to share Cumbria Trust’s view that Cumbria does not have suitable geology, and that there are much better sites elsewhere in the country.  It is interesting that we have now had 2 search processes in Cumbria and both the Lead Inspector of the first Nirex process, and now the Chair of the second MRWS process have reached the same conclusion – that the search should move…

View original post 264 more words

95: Venimently perplexed

Some of you might have heard about a recent by-election in my parliamentary constituency, Copeland. Propelled by the sense of civic responsibility, I duly attended a local hustings, at which our independent candidate revealed his impeccable Europhobic credentials with the rhetorical question “A million Poles enough for you?” No sooner had I regained composure than I was assaulted with his campaign leaflet, in which the wannabe MP regaled us with the following pronouncement:

The Green Party are being venimently [sic] against nuclear energy.

Are they really? In an obvious attempt to be even-handed, the leaflet proceeded to castigate other political parties:

The farming community has been hit by this present governments [sic] stopping of subsidies.

Predictably, the Labour Party, currently presided over by Jeremy Corbyn, did not escape unscathed either.

The same can be said of Labour supporters who vote for Jeremy Corbyns [sic] Labour Party.

In an attempt to hit us hard with his anti-global-warming message, the campaigner chided us thus:

How many times does Keswick have to flood before the resident’s [sic] get the message. [sic]

The environmental theme needed to be reinforced, so the leaflet contained the following imploration:

We all need to change our behaviour now to slow down global warming to ensure our ancestors [sic] have a planet to inhabit.

But of course! It also appeared as if our independent candidate felt that a wee threat could go a long way.

To the people who disagree with me, I have bad news for you, but you will dislike global warming and increased sea levels even less [sic]!

Will we really? And the campaigner had other gripes:

Recent cost cutting decisions such as the demolition of the public toilets in Whitehaven is [sic] disgraceful.

But, hearteningly, the leaflet wasn’t all negative:

Land based wind turbines can produce energy much cheaper and more accessible [sic] than their off-shore counterparts.

The publication finished on an uncharacteristically literate, if a tad contradictory, note:

We have the 27th best education system in the world and every year it seems to get worse. The state education system has failed to produce results, so a drastic rethink is required to improve results.

It was rather hard to resist the conclusion that the leaflet had been produced by the very embodiment of this failure.


93 – Mini-rant: Dead survivors?

Having been greatly distracted by two momentous events, Brexit and the American election, I’ve been very remiss with this blog. And, let’s face it, language misdemeanours, however diverting, pale into insignificance with what’s going on in the world. But having stumbled across this snippet, widely broadcast by the British media, I’m unable to resist a mini-rant. The revelation came courtesy of an eminent foreign correspondent, who commented on a catastrophic plane crash thus.

There is little hope of finding survivors alive.

Although overcome with an overwhelming sadness, I nevertheless wondered whether there might be some dead survivors – an obvious (to me, at least) interpretation of this tautological statement. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, tautology – saying the same thing twice in different words – is a stylistic fault which is quite common, but the venerable BBC and its reporters might be expected to be above such lapses. What the correspondent should have said is, of course, this.

 There is little hope of finding anybody alive.

Or this.

 There is little hope of finding any survivors.

Mini-rant 91: Freedoms and opposites

Isn’t freedom of speech an absolute marvel? We in the United (at least for now) Kingdom flaunt our delight in it at every opportunity, and our press barons make great play of allowing readers to have their say. One of our quality broadsheets, The Sunday Times, regularly invites culture vultures onto the pages of one of its supplements, Culture. There, in the column entitled You Say, they are offered an opportunity to vent their spleen, or otherwise, about our TV fare. And so, in this week’s edition, we stumbled on the following, rather indignant, pronouncement.

Whatever has happened to BBC Breakfast? Its decline in standards and quality is dropping like an express elevator. Whatever happened to high-quality professional journalists/ broadcasters?

The thing is, whenever one exercises one’s right to this cherished freedom it might be an idea to engage one’s cerebral cortex first. If something is dropping – albeit metaphorically – it diminishes, of course. So the viewers of BBC Breakfast can, in fact, rejoice: the decline is slowing down. Alas, the incensed reader said the exact opposite of what he was attempting to say, which was this.

  Its standards and quality are dropping like an express elevator (rather than their decline).

Or this.

Its decline in standards and quality is accelerating like an express elevator.

And whatever happened to newspaper sub-editors?

85 – About my book: Who’s Put Rat into Bureaucrat? (Please see the next post)

Being a perfectionist can be a genuine curse – not that perfection will ever be within my grasp. But whatever I write I always find severely wanting and can’t resist tinkering with. I have thus completely revised not one but two books, the second being An Alien in a Madhouse, which has now become a much shorter Who’s Put Rat Into Bureaucrat?

Like its predecessor, the book pokes fun at officialdom, officialese, political correctness gone mad and the vagaries of office life. It also ponders some of the usage booby-traps strewn across English, detonating a few of them with irreverent jocularity. This is why the book can also be seen as a reference source addressing several troublesome points of grammar, punctuation and spelling – albeit humorously. And it is a short extract from this book that is given in the next post, its subject being tautology – a very common stylistic lapse.

The reason why it’s posted separately is the text’s categorical refusal to fit underneath this introduction – don’t ask me why!


In case you are unaware, the seemingly inexorable plan to diminish our democracy forges ahead…

Cumbria Trust


38degrees petition

On Wednesday the House of Lords under the Chair of Baroness Verma will be discussing  in Grand Committee in the Moses Room at 3.45pm the plan to push  through legislation that will remove our right, and the right of Cumbria County Council, to object to burying radioactive waste underground.

They hope to do this as soon as practically possible by adding GDFs (Geological Disposal Facilities) to the list of NSIPs (Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects).   An NSIP would force through the what we believe to be the government’s plans to return to Cumbria in the search for a site for a GDF. This would of course deny communities the voice usually afforded to them via public enquiries.

The government hoped the Nuclear waste ‘problem’ was going to be solved by communities coming forward to volunteer to take the waste, now that plan has fallen by…

View original post 135 more words

No 61 – Misc – The Liebster Award

NOTE: This post is a departure from the language theme running through my blog


The Liebster Award

 I am delighted and honoured to have been nominated for the Liebster award by the talented Sean at http://theplight2write.com/ Sean had himself been nominated by Fourth Generation Farm Girl. The nomination came as a wonderful surprise, and I accept it with gratitude.

Although I have been blogging for a relatively short period, I have already established a rapport with some lovely people. I would now like to draw others’ attention to some blogs which I have found engaging by nominating them for the Liebster Award; those blogs are listed below.

My nominees for the Liebster Award



 What of was thought


 Jennie’s Journals


 Proofreading London


 Hablando Sola/ Talking to Myself


 Dark Office Humour


What the nominees have to do if they accept the Liebster Award

The main rules associated with the Liebster Award are as follows:

1: Acknowledge and accept the Liebster Award by leaving a comment on the blog where you were nominated;

2: Copy the Liebster logo and paste it onto your own blog;

3: Inform your nominees by leaving a comment on their respective blogs;

4: In your blog post about the Liebster Award:

  • Link back to the blogger who nominated you

  • Answer the 11 questions put to you by the person who nominated you

  • List 11 random facts about yourself

  • Nominate, and link to, three–11 other blogs which you enjoy and which have fewer than 3,000 followers

  • List 11 questions for your nominees.

Below are the answers to the 11 questions I was asked

1. Why did you start to blog?

To share with others both my all-consuming passion for the English language and my exasperation whenever I see it mugged. And, of course, to reach out to other bloggers – whether they share my passion or not. Sincere thanks to all who have taken the time to visit my blog!

2. What is your earliest memory?

Clutching a large (well, most things seemed large to me then) live fish, dripping wet, at the fishmonger’s. In Poland in those days, shops would take delivery of live fish, and one of the delivery guys thrust this slippery specimen at me – probably for fun. I can’t remember my Mum’s reaction, but we can safely guess what it was.

3. Who has been your greatest influence?

My fabulous Mum – with her great love of English, which I have inherited from her. My posthumous tribute to her has been translating, editing and publishing her war-time memoir, Between Black Death and Red Plague.

4. What is your favourite film?

Some Like it Hot

5. Which phrase do you most overuse?

‘Millions of thanks’

6. What makes you happy?

People close to me, mountains, English, reading, writing and, generally, being alive

7. What disturbs you?

Hatred, violence and conflict

8. Who would you most like to come to dinner?

Alexander McCall Smith, the author of The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series – provided he doesn’t mind eating ready-made meals (I have no interest in cooking and simply steam everything)

9. What is your favourite book?

A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language by Professors Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech and Jan Svartvik

10. What is your most treasured possession?

The 20 volumes of my Oxford English Dictionary

11. What would most improve the quality of your life?

Not hankering after what is unlikely to happen

Eleven Random Facts About Me

  1. I am a Pole married to an Irishman and completely mad about English.

  2. I am an extroverted introvert: while I’m effervescent around (nice) people, I need quite a bit of personal space and value solitude.

  3. I have NEVER bothered to learn to drive.

  4. I have NEVER cooked a turkey (well, we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, and traditional Polish Christmas fare is carp; plus, I hate cooking – as per no 8 above).

  5. I have climbed all of the Lakeland fells (both the main and the outlying ones) – mostly relying on public transport (which, out in the sticks, is no mean feat).

  6. In January 2009, I had to call Mountain Rescue to rescue me from Skiddaw (one of England’s highest mountains)

  7. I am addicted to apples, of which I consume industrial quantities. (By the way, don’t let anybody tell you that you may eat limitless fruit with impunity – you may not, not if you want to lose weight!)

  8. My extremities are always cold (but my heart is warm).

  9. I love animals and used to have three pussy-cats (with hubby).

  10. I am a digital immigrant desperately struggling to keep up with modern technology.

  11. I have been cutting my own hair for over 30 years (and it shows, but I don’t care).

Below are the 11 questions to my nominees

  1. What would you like to get out of blogging?

  2. What is your claim to fame?

  3. What matters to you most?

  4. What is your guilty pleasure?

  5. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

  6. How do you like spending your free time?

  7. What is your most abiding memory?

  8. Who is your favourite writer?

  9. What type of music do you like?

  10. What tends to annoy you?

  11. What quality do you most admire in people?

If you accept the nomination, I hope that complying with the conditions above won’t be too onerous; if you are too busy, I apologise for having bothered you.

Millions of thanks (oops, I mean thank you very much) for the nomination, Sean.