Fans and stans by Angela Caldin

I came across a word that was new to me the other day. It was at the end of a Randy Rainbow tribute to Dr Fauci which was itself a parody of the song Gee, Officer Krupke from West Side Story. Randy sings ‘Dr Fauci, you’re the one we stan.’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUiDLcp_hIw I thought this was a strange verb and that maybe it was a mistake and had some letters missing. But then I saw the word again in The Guardian when the columnist Hadley Freeman wrote that she was ‘no Prince William… Read More

New Zealand on the map by Angela Caldin

There was a time when quite a lot of people were vague about where exactly New Zealand was. Somewhere down at the bottom of the world was a good guess; fairly near Australia perhaps. Sometimes maps of the world left New Zealand off altogether, as though its two islands just a bit bigger than the UK were too insignificant to bother about. Containing the virus But in the last few months New Zealand’s stock has risen dramatically, because under the leadership of prime minister Jacinda Ardern, Covid-19 has to all intents and… Read More

Staying alert by Angela Caldin

I’m living in New Zealand at the moment, but I’ve been following developments in the UK as well. On TV here, there’s an adaption of Eleanor Catton’s Man Booker prizewinning novel The Luminaries. I read this book when it first came out and couldn’t put it down. The only problem was that when I arrived breathless at the end, I had no idea what was going on among the huge cast of characters. It was good therefore to understand from the first episode on TV that two of the main protagonists, Anna… Read More

Angela’s ABCs flout and flaunt words sometimes confused

It seemed to me that flout and flaunt were sufficiently different for it to be difficult to confuse them. I thought their meanings were clear. If you don’t comply with a rule, you are flouting it. If you make a big display of your success, you are flaunting it It seems that I was wrong. I was tut-tutting to myself the other day because I noticed that one of The Guardian’s coronavirus update writers had used flaunt to mean flout. Nobody seemed particularly bothered. When I did some research, I realised this… Read More

Life under lockdown by Angela Caldin

We have a small deck at the back of our house in NZ with a fruiting lemon tree, some delicate palms and a high Lilly Pilly hedge that the sun pops over just about coffee time. I was sitting out there yesterday thinking about the words ‘We’re all in this together,’ which we hear so often. It struck me that perhaps those words were not entirely true since I was in a very fortunate position and some people were in this much deeper than others. Suffering increases There are stories of hardship… Read More