i'll give myself a few more days. i'm going to master it, really i am. i'll keep you posted.
And how many of us have had a "shot" or an "injection"? Not that the word "shot" sounds all that pleasant, but isn't a "jab" more realistic? "Now you'll feel a tiny pinch," they say. "This might sting a little," they say. Often they say, "You won't even feel this." They lie. It's a JAB. Call it what it is.
Both these signs were spotted in Jon's offices where he is a General Practitioner. Gotta love these guys, they not only have cool accents, they call it what it is.
Tersie at The Road to Total Growth--Body Mind and Spirit spoke about Words the other day. So, being here in The Land of True English, i've been noticing some of the different words these Englishmen (and women) use.
Courgettes: We had these in our stew. It's apparently the French word for the squash we at home call zucchini. It's pronounced with the "g" sounding rather like the Z in ZaZa Gabor, or the "j" in au ju. Now, i think "zucchini" is a pretty cool word all on its own, but how much cooler is "courgettes"? "Dahling, pahss the courgettes..."
Porridge: Here in the land of queens and princes, they do not eat oatmeal, they eat "porridge," or "porridge oats." You know, like the old "pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold, pease porridge in the pot, nine days old," but that one is porridge made of peas cooked in milk. For some silly reason, "porridge" brought up visions of Oliver Twist to me, small children in poorhouses and such. But perhaps i confuse "porridge" and "gruel." i had the above pictured porridge this morning, and it was quite good!
Orientated: Here in England, a person does not get oriented to the new time schedule, he gets "orientated." Here it takes me a good week to get "orientated" to being awake when at home i would be asleep! But then, even when i'm at home i have a hard time being awake when i should be.
Wonky: "Mummy, the leg on this stool is a bit wonky," Elias said. i love that word! i had heard it on British home decorating shows, and i admit to having used it occasionally myself. It rolls off the tongue, say it with me, "Wonky." See?
Swede: At home we call these rutabagas. i have yet to taste one under either name, but Elias and i had a good game of "roll the swede" at the kitchen table yesterday. It's a very resilient vegetable. Oh, that's another thing--
Veg: When at home i sit and watch an old movie and drink a cup of hot chocolate, i would say that i'm going to "veg" a while, but i eat "vegetables." Here in England, you eat your "veg," (rhymes with "hedge") of which the above-mentioned "swede" and "courgettes" are a part.
Also there's the spelling--in the States we use the letter "z" in words like "organize" and "pressurize" but in England, an "s" takes the place of the "z," as in "organise." Oh, and "pressurised" is not necessarily a word for a spray can under pressure, it's also a state of being: "I'm feel pressurised," where we would say "I'm feeling pressured."
Pulse: A "pulse" isn't just something you feel to see if you're going to pass out after exercising, it's a common word for things like lentils, thus, there is a food category of "beans and pulse."
And who doesn't love the pronunciation? Two year olds and four year olds who say, "cah-stle" and "I cah-n't" with the "aw" sound instead of the boring American "a" of "cat," and who call for their "mum."
But saving my favorite for last:
Torch: i hear the word "torch" and think Frankenstein (or my favorite, Gene Wilder and Young Frankenstein) and the crowd of villagers storming the castle with big flaming torches, intent on killing Frankenstein's monster. In my mind, a child with a torch sounds like a recipe for disaster, here, it's a flashlight, as in, "it's dark outside, do you want to take a torch?"
Words are definitely fun!
Today was a hugely informative day.
Aren't these red leaves beautiful? But they're bad. The red means the vine has a virus. Yellow is normal for fall, red is bad.
To get really good grapes, careful pruning is essential. At the Von Strasser Winery, we got some one-on-one time with Dave, who showed us the equipment and the vineyard, and gave us the mini-tour overview. i loved what we learned. The pruning process happens once the leaves have all fallen from the vine. For you out there who are happy and informed gardeners, this probably is not new. For me, a semi-happy and largely UNinformed gardener, this was an "Oh. That makes sense." Anyway, our new friend Dave said that for them to get the best grapes, they will trim those little branches back to two offshoots. Otherwise the branches will go all wild and crazy, growing every which way, and pulling too much of the nutrients from the soil. More unpruned growth means less nutrition per branch equals poor quality grape flavor. (There was a lot more but i won't go all Encyclopedia Britannica on ya.)
Dave sent us over to Charles Krug Winery where i had a lovely chat with Ralph. Everybody at Krug loves Dave--he used to work there. Ralph gave me the lowdown on the difference between hillside grapevines and valley grapevines. Seems the difference in how the sun touches the vines makes a difference. There's the constant outpour on the valley plants, and the gentler change of the sun and breezes on the hillside plants. Those differences even in the same state can make quite a change in the fruit--the milder hillside climate yielding a smoother flavor. Now, i'm sure i've butchered Ralph's explanation all to pieces, but that's the basic understanding i came away with.
He also explained ice wines--made places like British Columbia and Washington state, where the vines are left with grapes still on into the freezing temperatures. This causes the whole ice expansion thing that pops the skins of the grapes, and then when the moisture evaporates, a super sweet low-water/high-sugar grape is left for dessert type wines. In California they use some other process involving a naturally forming mold. Ralph started losing me there, my mind being somewhat full by that point in the conversation. i always thought mold was a bad thing, but apparently it can be part of a good process.
So, just to recap: Those pretty red leaves actually mean something bad. Careful pruning means higher quality fruit. The grapes that grow over a certain amount of feet above sea level will taste different than the ones grown in the valley. And freezing your grapes can be a good thing, as can letting them mold.
Some of this made sense, and some was quite the opposite of what i thought should make sense. Some of it has very clear spiritual application, like the whole pruning thing--"I am the vine, you are the branch. If a man remains in me and I in him, you can bear much fruit. Without me you can do nothing." (It's in the book of John, 15th chapter.) Some of the other i'm still pondering. Still not sure about the whole mold thing.