Books: Windows on the World

I’m sure anyone who has been following my blog for a while will know reading has always been one of my life’s delights. I’ve shared some of that joy through blog posts such as Widdershins, Holding the Centre, Revisiting BridesheadThe Book Thief, or Audiobooks, E-books and Old Friends

My First BooksI don’t remember the process of learning to read. But I actually do remember not being able to read. And I have the evidence! :)

Two of the books on my laden bookshelves are the very first two books I ever owned. One is a collection of nursery rhymes, with gorgeous illustrations by Hilda Boswell. The other is a book of stories about a family of teddy bears: The Teddy Bears’ Picnic, with images by Dutch illustrator Willy Schermelé.

I still have a very clear memory of only seeing the pictures . Large slabs of each page (the text) meant nothing to me. But the illustrations – Hilda Boswell’s in particular – were a wonder-filled world to explore while the nursery rhymes or stories were read aloud to me. I can actually remember that time when I needed an adult’s voice to interpret and share the stories that went with the pictures. [Read more…]


Shocking Signage

Pet Shop SignThis sign was spotted in a local pet shop window.

Surely I’m not the only person horrified by it?

And no, on this occasion it wasn’t about mourning for lost trees – even if they are being recycled.

Nor was it wondering whether the cute wee puppies in the window came from a caring breeder or possibly one of those horrific ‘puppy farms’.

It could have been either of these things … but it wasn’t.

So what was it that made me groan so loudly I startled three other people who were cooing over the puppies? [Read more…]


Beautiful-Sounding Words in English

If I were asked to choose the most beautiful-sounding words in the English language, I’d be very hard-pressed to do so!

For me, words are like musical notes. It’s only when they dance together in phrases and sentences, that they create beautiful symphonies … or sometimes crashing disharmonies, for that matter. :)

If I’d thought about it at all, I would never have considered “cellar door” would be held up as one of the most beautiful-sounding  – or euphonic – word combinations!

Yet that’s what I learned from this post on The Hot Word – which is the blog section of the very popular online reference source,


It was also fascinating to browse through the comments on that post, where readers suggested their own choices.

A later post on The Hot Word shared a list of words that had been most commonly mentioned by readers.

What was at the top of that list?


And I have to agree that serendipity is a beautiful word – but not only because of its sound.  It’s always been a favourite word of mine because of its meaning.

Other words people suggested most frequently included: soliloquy, epiphany, Elysium and elysian, scissors, vivacious, fudge, telephony, nycthemeron, cinnamon, woodthrush, phosphorescence, lithe, and languorous.

By the way … did you find yourself, as I did, reading that list aloud to hear its music?

What would be your choice? If you’ve got a favourite word or word combination that’s music to your ears, please drop me a line! :)


Wordplay with Wordle

I’ve just discovered and begun playing with Wordle.  Ok, so I’m a latecomer. :-) I’m sure most other people have already been there and done that.

One thing that really struck me about Wordle is how it can lead to new ideas or fresh perspectives. It’s a “word kaleidoscope”, in which words are tumbled and turned to produce new patterns, new synergies – and perhaps new insights.

For example, here’s a Wordle of my Music and Memories post.  I loved finding “Dad determined musical horizons – listen“.  There was whole new stream of reflection for me in that one short sentence!

Music and Memories Wordle