The state of the nation by Angela Caldin

Yesterday, I had two interesting conversations which I’ve been pondering on overnight. The food bank phenomenon I was on the tube when I met a colleague from my days in the magistrates’ courts. He’s a defence solicitor and therefore sees on a daily basis and at first hand the poverty and deprivation experienced by many of those who commit petty offences. He commented wearily that food banks are just about the only growth industry in this country nowadays. It’s true that food banks are springing up even in areas which are traditionally… Read More

Words often confused – enervate and energise by Angela Caldin

Enervate and energise are antonyms which means they are opposites, though increasingly enervate is mistakenly used as a synonym for energise. Enervate means to deprive of force or strength, to destroy the vigour of, to weaken, to sap, to drain someone of energy, to make someone feel weak in a physical or mental way, to make someone feel debilitated. The gloomy, rainy weather seemed to enervate her system and she grew daily more weak and depressed. Britain’s democratic system is enervated and paralysed by parliament’s inability to make progress with Brexit. Spain’s… Read More

Puberty by Angela Caldin

Here you go Trevor, here are my musings on the topic of puberty. I don’t like the word puberty; I mean that I don’t like the sound of it – it’s the p and the u and the b together that are off-putting. The word arrives in the fourteenth century from Old French puberté, from Latin pubertatem meaning age of maturity and pubes meaning adult, full grown. It’s the period of human development during which physical growth, sexual maturation and the achievement of fertility occur. Adolescence seems to me to be a… Read More

A day at the beach with Year 4 by Angela Caldin

Yesterday I went as a helper for my granddaughter’s class on an outing for the whole of her year to a nearby beach. There are 26 in her class and there are five classes in the year, making a total of about 130 children aged 8 to be transported, supervised and occupied for five hours or so until the return to school. There were five teachers and various helpers who each had a group of five children to look after. The organisation required before and during was mind boggling and I wholeheartedly… Read More

Angela’s ABCs: words sometimes confused – discrete and discreet by Angela Caldin

The adjectives discrete and discreet are homophones which share the same Latin origin: discretus, meaning separate. They are pronounced the same way, but have different meanings. Discrete has stayed close in meaning to its Latin origins and means individually separate and distinct: We can no longer view extreme incidents such as flood, drought and high temperatures as discrete happenings, but must study them in the context of climate change as a whole. The golf club has three discrete membership categories. The mechanical device consists of several discrete parts which all work together… Read More