Saturday, January 09, 2010


Putsch is the word of the moment.

It's a word that is all over the media this week in reference to the damp squib of a coup that was orchestrated against Gordon Brown by passed-over former Cabinet Ministers and out-going MPs, Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt.

Pat and Geoff (pictured) may not know what a putsch is either but they knew it was a big one - and sadly it got away!

So what's a putsch?

The OED describes a 'putsch' as:

An attempt to overthrow a government, especially by violent means; an insurrection or coup d'état.

I havn't noticed Hoon and Hewitt burning the barricades and lobbing the Molotov cocktails so has the OED got anything else to offer?

In a weakened sense: a sudden or forceful attempt to take control of an organization, business, etc.; a sudden vigorous effort, a concerted drive or campaign.

Right. Can anyone else see the irony in the use of the term 'forceful' when applied to YewittanYoon's wet fish display (pictured)?

So why are the media calling it a putsch? Heaven knows, but in media mileage, what's a coup compared with the putsch that gave a push to the putz*?

*(A stupid or worthless person; a fool. Yiddish, ‘penis’)

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Twelfth Night

Tonight is “the evening before Twelfth-day, formerly observed as a time of merry-making”, Twelfth Night or Wassail Eve.

Some imagine twelfth night to be the evening of the 6th January but they are mistaken, since the ancients counted from sunset not sunrise. So Christmas night was the evening of 24th December, we count the twelve days of Christmas from there.

There is a tradition that it is unlucky to keep Christmas decorations after twelfth night while others that they should stay up until Candlemas eve (1st February).

Either way don’t send your Christmas greenery for recycling – burn it! This ancient maxim was recorded in the Exeter Book in 1072,
“Holly must be burned, a dead man's legacy divided. Good fame is ever best.”

William Hone, in his Every Day Book of 1827 refers to a glossary to the Exmore dialect that has “Watsail – a drinking song on twelfth-day eve, throwing toast to the apple trees, in order to have a fruitful year, which seems to be a relic of the heathen sacrifice to Pomona.”

So sup up, by the fire and cheers!