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Of draws, argers, and the perfidious English R

26 Oct

There was rather a funny moment at church this week when the man giving the sermon was talking about how his Bolton accent makes it hard to articulate the place-names Ur and Ayr, at least so that anyone can understand him. Ur was easy enough from the context (Abraham’s home) but he did have to specify that Ayr was on the west coast before we got it, because frankly both names just sounded like vocalisations of uncertainty – “er?”

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The Sun Always Shines on my Top Five

23 Aug

Inspired by my last post, where I collaborated with a fellow A-ha fan, I thought I would give you a wee run down of my top five A-ha songs.

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Interrail day twenty-one – Venice(ish) to Salzburg

18 May

Today has already started better than yesterday.

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Interrail day thirteen – Samothrace (Sanctuary of the Great Gods)

10 May

I am wrecked! It is now 5.30pm, the time of day for chilling before the evening starts, so a good time to lie around in my hotel room and tell you about my strenuous day.

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Interrail day eleven – Igoumenitsa to (hopefully) Alexandroupoli

8 May

The “hopefully” is because the information on the internet about buses to Alexandroupoli is a bit vague (“every four hours”) and I won’t be able to get more details until I reach Thessaloniki (or Thessalonica, or Selanik, according to your preference).

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Interrail day ten – (Sannicandro di) Bari (and sort of to Igoumenitsa)

7 May

I say “sort of” because while I’ll be setting off this evening, I won’t get to Greece until tomorrow. So I’m spending today in the village of Sannicandro, just outside Bari, because that is where Ida and Genti live.

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Interrail day six – the Bernina Express!

3 May

Or, more informatively, Zurich to Ferrara through the Alps. This is one of the bits of my trip that I have been most looking forward to. There’s a special, scenic, narrow-gauge train through the mountains called the Bernina Express that is reputed to be one of the most spectacular train routes in the world. And it’s included in my Interrail pass!

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How to be an interpreter

23 Apr

Many of you will know that as well as being a writer and editor, I also interpret and translate Albanian to English. Since the war in Ukraine began, I’ve already been asked how someone can become an interpreter, and I expect there are a lot of people asking the same question. As more Ukrainians arrive, there is a greater need for Ukrainian interpreters, and there are Ukrainians with good English who would like to plug that gap.

But although non-linguists assume that to be an interpreter you just need to speak both languages, there’s actually a bit more to it than that. Obviously, speaking both languages very well is the baseline, but this post is about all the other stuff that professional interpreting involves. Please share it with anyone who might find it helpful.

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A paean to Peppa Pig

2 Jul

This post is about one of my many niche interests, specifically that gentle satire on the English middle class: Peppa Pig. You might think that this is just a children’s cartoon about a family of pigs but you would be wrong. It is laugh-out-loud funny in its dissection of human foibles and frailty through the medium of stylized animal drawings.

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Happy (belated) International Women’s Day!

9 Mar

If I had been more organised, I would have written this post in good time and set it up to come out on International Women’s Day. But I didn’t, so the next best time is now.

I wrote a wee blog post for Premier about five Christian women who have been unjustly forgotten. I got to choose all but one of them, so naturally I included one of my personal heroes, Olympia Fulvia Morata. (I’ll take any excuse to go on about her.)

If you would like to find out about this amazing woman, and also about Perpetua (whose feast day is the day before International Women’s Day, coincidentally), Josephine Butler, Susan B. Anthony and Catherine Booth, please go ahead and click the link.

Five incredible Christian women you should really know

If you already know about all of them, well done you. And get in touch – we should probably be friends!