Saturday, March 21, 2009
The Ear to the Ground series returns: "Flash in the Pan".
The original flash in the pan occurred in the flintlock gun. This was the old, unwieldy kind of musket used before the development of the percussion cap or cartridge. The charge that propelled the bullets, in those early days, was in the form of loose gunpowder, which was carefully measured and placed in the pan or flashpan of the gun, where it was ignited(or, all too often, failed to ignite) by a spark from the flint. Ifthe gunpowder was damp or in sufficient, it might fizzle flash rather than explode effectively.
The three related phrases are to hang fire, a damp squid, and lock, stock and barrel.
To hang fire is to delay, to put off one's decision, to wait and see. Originally, a flintlock gun was said to hang fire if it took a long time for the charge to ignite.
A damp squid, something that fails to live up to expectations, is, literally, a firecracker that hisses promisingly but through being damp fails to generate the climatic bang.
As for lock, stock and barrel, these are the three components of a musket or rifle: the barrel out in front, the stock - the heavy wooden handle or support - at the rear, and the lock - themechanism designed to explode the ammunition charge - in the middle. So to buy up a business lock, stock and barrel, for instance, has come to mean to buy the whole thing. Or as Australians would say, the whole kit and caboodle.
Hoped you liked this week's contribution.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Blogevolve is really a great little community blogsite - take my word for it!
They are friendly, informative, supportive, helpful and make some great comments at times. There are some interesting posts written at Blogevolve.
There are a number of talented and experienced writers there who are prepared to offer advice and refer you on to some useful sites that can offer writing advice, support and how to make some spending money.
Why don't you go and visit some time?
Blogevolve the place to go
Saturday, March 14, 2009
A tsunami could have been responsible for Britains greatest natural disaster...
A tsunami in the Bristol Channel off the English coast could have caused 2000 deaths in Britain's greatest natural disaster. For centuries it was thought the great flood of Jan 1607 was caused by high tides and floods.
It was estimated that 200sq miles(520 sq km) of land in south Wales and sw England were covered in water.
Now two climate experts have come forward and argued in favour of the tsunami theory.
It is not only the pacific and asia where tsunamis are present.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Restoring the old imperial honours list in New Zealand is a nostalgic throwback to another time in our history. The previous left of centre Labour- led Government headed by Helen Clark did away with titles eight years ago.
Now the new John Key led conservative rightwing National Party Government has decided to restore them and give 85 people who have received indigenous New Zealand honours during the last eight years the opportunity to receive them retrospectively. It will be their choice and will happen during this year's Queens Birthday awards in early June,2009.
New Zealand had further opportunity to carve out its own future and destiny by scrapping the knighthoods. Sir and Dame? Yeah right!
It was the British who left us, not the other way around. Why would a nation who will have to reconsider its constitutional future when the present Queen Elizabeth the Second dies, with the actual possibility of becoming a republic, want to retain the trappings of imperial Britain?
Nostalgia for the past, and an immature refusal to consider the possible implications of a future without the monarchy, are a real concern.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
The Kiwi Bull Run - gotta get a way from this big black bull...
Jellen's Blogevolve Writing Challenge - My childhood memory:
After writing my recent post about flatulence from cows and sheep creating most of New Zealand's methane and greenhouse gas, the rest coming from the Beehive, the nickname for the round government building in Wellington, NZ; I suddenly remembered an incident from my childhood:
I used to spend many holidays on the farm of my foster mother's brother (I came from a broken home, but that is another story for another time) 20-30 miles out of Christchurch City in north Canterbury. It was a mixed farm, sheep, dairy cows, a few pigs, some poultry and crops. Typical of the 1950's farms in the area, I reckon, going by my memory.
I used to wander around the farm at times, typical of a 10-11 year old Kiwi lad. But during these particular holidays the farmer had bought and brought a new Aberdeen Angus bull to the farm - a big black devil!
Being young, naive and a bit clueless in some respects, I starting making noises at the big fellow. He started to paw the ground and roar a little. This just excited me more, and I started to make louder noises and the big black devil began pawing even more, and roaring like a bull should roar!
I began to get scared and started running, running, and running. And so did he! The fence was six foot high, but to me it may have been only a couple of feet. This skinny sandy haired youngster who could run a bit, began to prove it. Around the bull paddock fence, across the main paddock towards the milking shed yards I went at the speed of sound, not looking back. The big wooden posts of the milking yard fence immediately came into view, and I scaled that fence as good and as capable as any olypmpic hurdler or high jumper...!
Over that fence into about two feet of sloppy, black and greenish cow manure I went, feet one way, and body another. After hosing myself down in the cow yard, I had to face the farmer. The fact he was furious was the understatement of the year. I knew the big fellow wanted to give me a giant kick up the backside and a few across the ear - quite common in those years of yore. But he cooled down quickly, and realising I was scared witless, he asked me how I felt? "Scared," I mumbled almost incoherently.
"And so you should. That fence just stopped that big black devil. I'll have to repair it, but I'm sure you won't do a stupid damn thing like that again, will you?" he asked demandingly. "Go inside and see the wife to get you some dry clothes." he added further.
I came to that farm many times in the future and remembered the day that big black bull chased me, with only a six foot barbed wire fence stopping him.
Public Domain Pictures/a