September 2011


Congratulations to Sarah Pearson, who worked out that

Rejoice heartily, your teacher has measles (Music)

is a way of remembering the spelling of RHYTHM.

No one got the others, which were, admittedly, harder:

LADPOCS (Geography)

is a list of factors affecting the weather: latitude, altitude, distance from the sea, prevailing winds, ocean currents, clouds and rainfall, slope of the land.

BODMAS (Maths)

This is the order of working out a mathematical expression: brackets, of, division and multiplication, addition and subtraction. In other words, if you have to work out 2(4×6+2), then you first multiply 4 by 6 (=24), then add 2 (=26), then multiply the whole thing by 2 (=52). Which doesn’t seem to be in the order of BODMAS, but it made sense at the time!

King Henry’s daughter makes delicious cream meringues (Maths)

This one I’m sure of: kilometres, hectometres, decametres, metres, decimetres, centimetres, millimetres.

“But Miss, what if it’s grams and not metres?

Then it’s: King Henry’s daughter gnaws delicious cream meringues.

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There’s a competition in this post!

Today’s word for the day on Facebook Scrabble is ADJACENT. The definition is: near, next to. I immediately thought back a thousand years to English lessons, where we had to recite:

Abundant plenty
Abundant plenty
Abundant plenty
Adhere stick
Adhere stick
Adhere stick
Adjacent next to
Adjacent next to
Adjacent next to

I can’t remember what came after that, but I did once. Reciting these definitions definitely helped to improve my vocabulary.

There are a few other things I remember learning at school. Like “M-I-double S-I-double S-I-double P-I” and “N-E-C-E-double S-A-R-Y”.

And these:

LADPOCS (Geography)
BODMAS (Maths)
King Henry’s daughter makes (/gnaws) delicious cream meringues (Maths)
Rejoice heartily, your teacher has measles (Music)

So, there’s the competition. Do you know what any of those things in red mean? The first person (people) to tell me in the comments will get… I don’t know. But I’ll think of something.

People who were at school with me (you know who are) are not eligible to enter.

Moral: when all else is forgotten, it’s the mnemonics that stick.

Yesterday morning, I read Nicola Morgan’s blog post about  a tweetathon being organised by the Society of Authors as a protest against BBC Radio 4’s plan to cut the number of short stories it broadcasts. It seemed like a worthy idea and a fun activity, so at one o’clock my time I read the first line of the story and composed and tweeted my suggestion for the second line. At two o-clock I read the chosen second line and tried for the third line. Then the fourth. At four o’clock I tweeted my suggestion for the last line and took my laptop down to the kitchen to listen while I cleared up. Soon after five I thought I’d better check to make sure I hadn’t won  and discovered that I had. My last line was chosen to conclude the story.

Here’s the completed story. I’m thrilled.

Later on, I played Scrabble with my husband and my son, both good players, and I won easily.

Good things always come in threes, right? But there was no more time left yesterday. So, early this morning, I met my friend Marallyn and we sat outside in a quiet little cafe and discussed writing. We’ve often done this before, but not recently as Marallyn was away all summer. I’m looking forward to writing with her next week.

On the light railway* the other day, I overheard a woman with an American accent** talking to her son, who had an Israeli accent:

“Do you know what a metaphor is?”

“No.”

“It’s when you say, ‘like.’ It’s when you compare something to something else.”

She went on to give examples. I turned round, dying to say, “Rubbish! That’s not a metaphor. That’s a simile.” But I didn’t. I let her continue teaching her son the wrong thing because… well… it didn’t seem nice to contradict her.

The incident reminded me of similar incidents.

When I was ten, we took an exam called the 11-plus, the result of which determined whether we continued our education in a grammar school or a secondary modern. The final question of the arithmetic exam was about counting in octal instead of decimal. We hadn’t learnt about this and the question didn’t assume we had. It just talked about counting in eights instead  of tens and asked what a certain number would be in that system. After the exam, the question was discussed with our teacher. The answer she gave was one that several of the children had given. My answer was different and I thought I was right, but didn’t say so. Later I asked my father, a maths teacher, and he confirmed that my answer was correct. I never told the teacher or the other children.

In a class for learning Hebrew when I was fairly new in the country, the teacher made a mistake in explaining the meaning of a word. I’m sure she would have known how to use the word herself, but she didn’t explain it properly. When I tried to explain the problem, others in the class were shocked that I argued with the teacher.

Our daughter was once told by her English teacher to correct the tense of a verb in something she’d written. We knew that our daughter was correct and explained our reasoning to her so that she could tell the teacher. I’m sure the teacher would have understood if she’d tried to. Instead she said, “Are your parents English teachers?” implying that English teachers always know better.

So I wonder, what do you do when the teacher is wrong? How do you avoid an argument?

*Sorry to keep mentioning the light railway. I’m still not used to it being here. And working!

** Or Canadian (sorry I can’t tell the difference).

You’ll be able to read two blogs about a single event. Erika and I met on Thursday for an evening out and decided we’d both blog about it and compare our views. Which parts made enough of an impression to be included? What did each of us enjoy?

So, I took the light railway again. Well, why not? It’s free (still), comfortable and takes a reasonable amount of time to arrive. Entering the bus station (I’m so used to this, I don’t usually think about it), I walked through an xray machine and then put my backpack through another machine. I’m not crazy about the way the bus station is designed. For me, it’s a bus station and not a shopping centre, and I don’t enjoy pushing my way past shoppers to reach the buses, two floors up.

Some things can be confusing for those who don’t know. The two bus stations in Tel-Aviv are known as central and north, but the north station is also the central railway station. At least they’re both also called Arlozorov, so if you use that name, you can’t go wrong. Although the station is also called Savidor.

The journey to Tel-Aviv was fast, comfortable and cold. I tried to keep my bare arms under my backpack to protect them from the cold air from the air conditioning. I hadn’t taken a bus along this route for some time and was pleased to note that the new(ish) bus lane saves a lot of time. Just to show I was in the big city, I took this picture, although it doesn’t really prove anything:

Erika picked me up at the station and drove me to the sea. (No, I didn’t say into the sea.) Then we walked to Jaffa’s famous Clock Tower.

On the way, we passed a large number of people and realised they must be celebrating Eid-Ul-Fitr (the end of Ramadan). They were spread out all over the grass and busy grilling meat or just hanging around. Erika hadn’t realised this was going to happen and apologised to me for the commotion around us, but I didn’t mind. I’ve done this walk before when it’s been quieter.

As we walked, we caught up with each other’s news, in particular we talked about her recent trip to Latvia and mine to Italy.

Our destination was the flea market. We wandered along its streets, which were quiet as the shops were about to close, looking at the shops with their mixture of old and antique. We entered one shop where the goods were expensive and interesting. Unusual plates, a lamp shade with a wooden base, mirrors with ornate frames.

Then we looked around for somewhere to eat and settled on a small café, where we sat outside during a quiet period between the day and the evening. I ordered a sandwich with aubergine and other vegetables. It came with salad. The lemon drink with mint had an unusual, not-so-pleasant taste. Afterwards, on Erika’s recommendation, I bought kurtosh, a sweet Hungarian pastry. Later, my family and I enjoyed eating it. It tastes very much like yeast cake, but it’s shaped like a tower and hollow in the middle.

We walked back by the sea and I returned from whence I came. A very pleasant evening. Thank you, Erika!