Thursday, June 07, 2007

Milky Words

I’ve been plagued by words. Nasty, horrible, loathsome little things. You think you’ve mastered them, rounded them up on the page, contained them inside the fence posts of commas, semi colons, and full stops. And then they overrun you again.

But that’s the trouble with being an articulate wordsmith. The very thing you try to master always has a greater hold over you.

It began this morning when Gabby committed another gross violation against the English language. We were sitting at the breakfast table and Gabby had her foot wedged against the toast rack as she painted her nails.

‘Chippy,’ she said. ‘Monica say she stay one more weeks.’

I went cold.

‘A week not long,’ she carried on. ‘A week only six days.’

‘Stop thinking in Romanian,’ I snapped and promptly dropped my newspaper into my Alpen. ‘You’re in Europe now. A week is seven days.’

‘Well even seven days isn’t long,’ she replied as she applied another layer of Ronseal to her toe nails. She leaned back, admiring the finish.

‘Even one day is too long,’ I told her. ‘I wouldn’t mind it if she didn’t practise her knife throwing in the flat. It feels like a lifetime when you’ve got razor sharp blades whistling past your ears at all hours of the day.’

‘Every hour of the day? And what does that mean?’ sulked Gabby. ‘Six days or seven days. What difference? Only twelve hours.’

‘There you go again!’ I groaned, as I inspected my ruined paper. ‘Europe, Gabby. You’re in the EU now. A day is twenty four hours and an hour is sixty minutes.’

‘Sixty?’ She looked puzzled. ‘What happens to the other fourteen.’

In Romania, you see, each hour has seventy four minutes.

‘They go into the next hour,’ I explained as I squeezed the milk from a lactose intolerant Daniel Finkelstein.

‘So the next hour has seventy four minutes?’

‘No, the next hour has… Look,’ I said, throwing the paper to one side, ‘does it really matter?’

She shrugged. ‘I suppose not,’ she said. ‘But only so long as Monica can stay an extra week.’

‘I tell you what,’ I said. ‘How about she stays an extra month?’

‘Really? You mean that?’ She furrowed her brows. ‘Chippy mean Gabby’s sister can stay an extra 45 days?’

‘No,’ I sighed. ‘You’re in Europe, remember. And in Europe a month is four days long. I want her gone by Monday.’

10 comments:

rilly super said...

ah yes, my mother often talks about when we were on the 'imperial calender' from before 1971 and metrication, which they obviously still use in the balkans. She so much likes to talk about the 'old times', sigh

mutterings and meanderings said...

Does Ronseal on the toenails prevent one from getting foot-rot?

Lizzie said...

Oh, crikey Chip, have only just found you. (Bit old really so just bear with me if you possibly can)

Went to Uni (last time round) in Bangor. So, mon brave, am so interested in your stuff. Ignore Rilly & her ageist remarks [see as above]. She can talk, these days, herself, I fear. Shsh...

Lizzie said...

PS I didn't see your like around when I was there. Obviously went to the wrong ravings.

Big Chip Dale said...

Rilly: that's just it. We forget how blessed we are to be on an imperial time. The short months and long weekends are the reason why the Romanian economy struggles. Do you know they have three Tuesdays in each week?

M&M: I don't know but putting Ronseal on toe nails makes them hard as iron. Gabby loves opening coconuts with them.

Lizzie: Always delighted to find a new reader has passed this way. And one who knows the fine town of Bangor. Of course, I don't mix with the students. I never have. They tend to think I'm a bit odd because I choose to wear nothing but a thong most days.

In Rilly's defence, I always listen to what she says. I always listen when one of the nation's top bloggers visits me.

Lizzie said...

Absolutely, I agree. Rilly is my heroine and can do no wrong. I just tease sometimes.

Big Chip Dale said...

I agree, Lizzy. She's the light that inspires us all; the blazing tanker fire that illuminates the night sky; the burning holiday chalet warning the English to stay out of Wales. :)

David B said...

I thought I was your hero, Chip. What gives?

Lizzie said...

PS I thought Rilly lived in Northumberland? Last time I heard, it wasn't in Wales ??? Perhaps it's my age. Sigh..

Big Chip Dale said...

David, you are all my heroes but you especially. ;o)

Lizzie: Rilly might indeed live in Northumberland but the glow she produces is so great, we can see it in Wales.