Hà Nội Scribbles

Travel & Living in Hanoi, Vietnam

Random stuff I like

As an antidote to all the doom and gloom and general negativity that envelopes us these days, here are the words, numbers and other random stuff that I like. And the often ridiculous and irrational reasons why.

Favourite English words

Pungent / Clarify / Tortuous / Ominous / Crystallise

These make it to the top of my list mainly because they have a nice ring to them. Only deployed on special occasions.

Durian fruit

Pungent durian fruit

English words I occasionally get a complete blank trying to spell

Could and should

For reasons I have never fully understood, I sometimes get tripped up by these words. I can be keyboarding away quite happily then hit a spelling blind-spot with this pair. Quite how we arrive at ‘could’ from c-o-u-l-d is anyone’s guess. ‘Cood’ and ‘shood’ since they rhyme with food would seem more logical to me. I am equally surprised the Americans didn’t get round to tinkering with the spelling of these words when they were busy substituting ‘s’ with ‘z’ and dropping vowels left, right and center.

I quite possibly get this pedantic streak from my grandfather from Ayrshire who railed against the pronunciation of two local villages. One is called Fenwick, but pronounced ‘Fennick’, while a few miles away Prestwick, home of the airport and the only part of Scotland ever visited by Elvis Presley*, is rendered as ‘Prest-wick’. In protest, he always said he was going to ‘Fen-wick’ and ‘Prestick’.

He was also the sort of guy who if you asked him the time would tell you how to make a clock. I timed him once after I asked him a fairly straightforward everyday question and he managed a 20-minute answer.

Favourite Scottish words

Cludge / Blooter(ed) / Wee /

Cludge (pro. with a hard ‘k’ sound) = toilet

Blooter = to kick violently, usually a football. Alt. meaning – to go out on the blooter. Going out with the intention of getting very drunk. Blootered is the state of advanced intoxication.

Wee = small, little

Favourite numbers

96 / 8 / 7

Ninety-six because it ran out of steam before making it to a hundred. Ninety-six almost made it, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory within spitting distance of a century. Also it ‘looks’ like it should be an odd number but isn’t.

Eight simply because it looks curvy and sexy. Seven as it is probably Zorro’s favourite number too.

Literal humour

What’s worn under the kilt?
Nothing. It’s all in perfect working order.

Train ticket inspector: Can I see your ticket?
Passenger: No, it’s in my pocket.

You’re from Scotland? Which part?
All of me.

I could only ever round off this festive season blog post by channelling Julie Andrews and saying that these are a few of my favourite things.

(Ôi chúa ơi! Did I really just say that…feeling nauseous now)

  • Elvis Presley’s transport home from Army service in Germany touched down at Prestwick Airport to refuel on March 3, 1960. The King disembarked and spent half an hour on Scottish soil. One of the lounges in the airport is named after him.

Do you agree? Let me know now

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