Monday, May 15, 2006

A ditty for dyslexics....

Well not just dyslexics, Six agonises about his grammar, Gildy's commented about it, Span is spelling plough plow - but that's him just being a slapdash cutnpaster, having admitted dyslexia Lucy has required us all to remove the word verification anti spam device, and my youngest is dyslexic! So...any more for any more in the name check department? No? Then let's get onto a the spell check department, with a poem my Dad sent me for new year. (Yes he's a silver surfer).

Eye have a spelling chequer, it came with my pea sea,
It plainly marques four my revue, Miss takes eye can knot sea.
Eye strike the quays and type a word and weight four it two say,
Weather eye am rite oar wrong, it shows me strait aweigh.
As soon as a mist take is maid it nose bee four two long,
and I can put the error rite, it's rare lea ever wrong.
I've run this poem threw it, eye am shore yore pleas two no,
It's letter perfect in its weigh, my chequer tolled me sew,

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Size matters

Span is all of a lather over on Mag’s blog on a matter of size. I should never have told Mags that a span is 9 inches… oh well such is the cross one bears. As I’ve made a biblical reference, I might as well point out that Goliath (yes the very fellow slain by David) was reputed to be "six cubits and a span" tall. A cubit was generally reckoned to be the measurement from Noah’s elbow to the tip of his middle finger. Well these things were a bit variable…Or were they?

Well Noah and his arm might be but there were 12 inches to the foot, 3 feet to the yard, five yards and one foot and six inches to the rod (or pole or perch), 4 rods (or poles or perch) to the chain, 10 chains to the furlong, and 8 furlongs to the statute mile.

My allotment is nine poles. But how much is that then? And is it always the same? And why is it a pole?

The pole was the ox-goad the medieval ploughman used to control his team of eight oxen. In order to reach the leading pair he had to have a long pokey thing which had to be sixteen and a half feet or five and a half yards long.

This becomes particularly interesting when you think that each ploughman had a pretty standard measuring pole. A mediaeval ploughman with a team of eight oxen was required to till one acre a day. That was a furlong in length. Obviously a "furrowlong" was about the most four yoke of oxen could pull steadily through heavy soil before they had to rest – 220 yards.

An acre (4,840 square yards) is one furlong in length and one chain in breadth. A chain was 22 yards. OK but what’s that got to do with poles? Well it’s 22 yards – or four poles. Such a convenient length as the pole allowed easy assessment at any time in the day of how much had been ploughed of the width of the acre.

Interestingly the dividing markers between the acres were very narrow strips of unploughed land which, over the long years, as the land between them was worked and in consequence sank a little, appeared to be raised. When crop rotation allowed land to lie fallow, any games played on its rich grass would be dictated by those markers. So you might push some stumps in and throw balls at them, on a wicket 22 yards long. Gosh let’s call it cricket.

Looking down the furrow, to where the oxen turned and rested, one acre butted up to the next, and small mounds rose from the ground. They were called butts and were utilised, as butts are today, as protection for those who stood behind the archery targets. And how long was a furrow again? About 220 yards. A good distance to be deadly accurate with a longbow.

This is a picture of my younger son on the battlefield at Crécy on the anniversary of the battle last summer, excercising his right as an Englishman to shoot a bow that is much too big for him on a french field , in honour of his ancestors (who were big bastards due to all that ploughing, ox-goading and archery practice).

Categories: History_ English Language_

Thursday, May 04, 2006

What is this for? Updated 07/05/06 and again 08/05/06

Well, I've been making stuff. But why has Gav been making stuff is the question...?

Here's a picture clue. Clearly not finished. But what will he be? And what is he for?

Answers on a postcard....

Fuck that for a game of soldiers I spent my yoof engaging with Blue Peter! Comment away!

Edit: 22:30
I feel guilty now. It's not a portrait. Just because it looks like Samuel Beckett, the BFG or Derek down the pub doesn't count. It should read, "What's it for?" not "Who is he?" because he isn't anybody really. He just came out that way...

Let's call him Chicken George...but he does look like Beckett though.

Edit: Sunday 7th May half elevenish

Isn't it interesting what a difference the styling makes? Here he is in colour, 'tache drying on the le creuset palette...

...and here he is, moustache a'bristling, complete with a coat of exterior varnish...well he looks a lot less spectral with a coat of perma tan, and it does exactly what it says on the tin.

My younger daughter (not the Evil One) thinks he looks like Basil Fawlty as Q now (if that makes sense).

Today's edit 08/05/06:

I've been a little disinegenuous because I wanted to string it out a bit. But it just goes to show how very perceptive my lady readers are. Between them Lucy and Katey are pretty much spot on.

Yes he's on a chicken wire armature. Covered in papier mache. Painted in acrylic. Varnished with Ronseal Outdoor Clear Satin Varnish (does exactly what it says on the tin). For use on the allotments as a scarecrow's head. But not my allotment. It's a request from Ancient George the Gardens' Steward.

He has a Major' Mess Dress that he wanted to dress it in but I'm trying to get him to donate that to the school drama department and buy him something less impressive in a charity shop. I'll let you know whether I am successful. I'll post a picture when George actually puts the damn thing up.

So well done ladies. And no Lucy you can't have a prize, you shameless hussy! You have to wait for prizes to be awarded like a good girl!