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Words:

my livelihood; love; concern

I read this piece in the Independent newspaper in June 2005, and it amused me. I've interpolated my understanding of each pronounciation - note to self: why are there two ways to say the word pronounciation? And how should one pronounce the title of the book Incomparable? InCOMprerbul is my preference; incumPArable is the way many seem to say it.

Sir

I applaud the move to return to teaching reading through synthetic phonics, but there are problems. Try this sentence which I have just devised which has 30 words ending in -ough, with 9 different pronounciations.

   Although (1) I thought (2) that I ought (2) to have bought (2) enough (3) dough(1)nuts on furlough (1) with the dough (1) I brought (2) to the borough (4), I cough(5)ed rough(3)ly and hiccough(6)ed as the wind soughed (3) in the boughs (7) and wrought (2) havoc in the drought (7), and the snake thorough(4)ly slough(3)ed its tough (3) skin in the trough (5) by the lough (8), while I fought (2) doughtily (7), ploughed (7) through (9) the slough (7), sought (2) help as a chough (3) flew by, and all for nought (2).

Dickon Snell, Berkshire

Rough guide to pronounciations:

(1) oh     (2) or

(3) uff     (4) er

(5) off     (6) up

(7) ow    (8) ok (or Scottish ochhh)

(9) oo

Now I'm eating again...

It has been, has it not, a little while since we properly reviewed

the names of the meals

These days it seems that there are many moveable feasts, but there is still one vast gap. Follow me carefully now.

   Breakfast is one of those anything-goes meals that (apart from the all-day breakfast, of which more later) can be served at any time from approx 4am to 10am or even a tiny bit later especially if you indulge your smoking habit by means of a ridiculously long cigarette holder.

   10.30am to 12noon is brunch territory, after which there comes lunch, which seems to slot neatly into the noon-2pm zone. This is also the time for tiffin.

   There is such a thing as a late lunch, which fills the next hour, and then we run into a dark empty, tummy-rumbling abyss until about 4.30pm, when high tea or tea can be taken.

   Depending on content, tea turns swiftly (at about 5pm) into dinner, unless you are one of those awkward customers who call lunch 'dinner', which is fundamentally confusing) and can happen from then until about 9 or 9.30pm, after which it becomes supper. Even later than that (anything beyond 11pm) and you have to admit you’re larging into a midnight feast. It's fascinating that the favourite content for a midnight feast is the all-day breakfast, even though it'll soon be breakfast time for real, and it's most definitely night-time, which seems an odd choice of occasion for something called 'all-day'.

   And then it’s a short snooze until breakfast time again.

   So here I am at 3.45pm, having missed lunch and feeling most decidedly righteous but a little peckish. It’s much too late for elevenses, and far too early to have tea (which is only cucumber sandwiches and fondant fancies, unless it’s scones and jam and cream). It would be decadent to start cooking up soup or a stew or anything substantial, or to call anyone using speed-dial, such as Mario D'Angelo, Prakeesh Patel or Lim Sum Hoc. So is decadent off-limits, then? Must I wait until teatime to have dinner?

Another thought

Virginity. Totally effective against pregnancy.

99.9999% of the time.