Fiddler on the roof

Pied wagtail

Pied wagtail in winter plumage

Actually not a fiddler but a wagger.

This is a Pied Wagtail, a frequent sight by the house.

It wags its tail up and down to regain its balance after landing.

An apt name, which actually describes what something or someone does, is an oasis in the muddle of language.

Autumn Lady’s Tresses


Part of a flower spike

Part of a flower spike

A slender orchid growing alone in the un-mown part of the olive grove.

A plait of tiny lilies to bind a lady’s brow in a Pre-Raphaelite painting.

The name, for once, is as beautiful as the flower.


That which we call a rose

Pink roses

How many scoops?

… That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet

says Juliet, wishing Romeo had a different name.

So are we sure these are roses? They look like ice cream to me; 3 good scoops and some drippy bits.

In Italy, land of ice cream, ‘pink’ and ‘rose’ are the same word.

Pink ice cream, then – water melon flavour, perhaps.

Just what I could do with right now.

What, me?

Did you call me, Your Grace?

Did you call me, Your Grace?

It’s intriguing but understandable that children have difficulty comprehending the ‘travelling’ concept of the first and second person.

One minute I’m me and you’re you, and the next minute it’s the other way round!

Using only the third person when talking to a child – ‘Come to Mummy! ‘ for example – is a temporary solution.

In some countries there’s no need to address the difficulty at all  – in colloquial Vietnamese the words for ‘I’ or ‘you’ don’t even exist.

But the plot thickens.

For speakers of English, which mercifully dropped ‘Thee’ and ‘Thou’ some while ago, the idea of a formal ‘you’ that takes a third person verb is baffling.

‘Usted’, the formal ‘you’ in Spanish, is a contraction of ‘vuestra merced’ which means ‘Your Grace’.

Maybe if we all had a name, and just used the name or responded to it like dogs do, life would be simpler.