Wednesday 25 May 2022

Scots (Language)

I happened to say to my brother this morning that I'd got myself into a bit of a fankle. It's a stoater of a word and I use it frequently and have done for as long as I can remember. CJ remarked that it was a wonderfully descriptive word. I commented that it was like so many Scots words that I use and hear used on an every-day basis. It made me realise just how many Scots words there are that fall into that category but which are not every-day words even in other parts of the UK. 

I am assuming that everyone can imagine what 'fankle' means. Can you? Do you use the word outside Scotland?

Dreich (dreek - but the k is gutteral) is another adjective and it's used to describe dreary, bleak weather but no words really describe it better than it sounds.

Having started this it occurs to me that I could go on for ages just with the words that I know and I'm sure there are many hundreds or even thousands more. I'll mention a few more favourites that come to mind.

Wabbit (as in rabbit. Although posh people I'm told say wahbit) is used if one is slightly unwell or in low spirits or 'under the weather'.

Scunnered  is a feeling of revulsion or loathing although many people just use it to mean 'fed up'.

Gallus is a word one doesn't hear very often. I have a friend (of my generation) who calls herself Gallus Lass so obviously regards it as a Good Thing (thank you, Sellars and Yeatman). Generally it means forthright or bold or possibly cheeky. I think a lot depends on the context.

Finally 'stoater' which I used in the first paragraph. I think it's principally a Glasgow dialect Scots word used to to mean it's a great example, fantastic, excellent. It's not to be confused with Scots, 'stotter' which means to stumble.

I would be really interested to hear what 'unusual' words you may have from where you live - or anywhere else for that matter.

Thursday 19 May 2022

Balance of Nature - Otters

We all have a vague understanding of the balance of nature. I've been experiencing the balance of nature changing year on year since I moved into this house 3 decades ago and in the half century since I moved to Lewis.

My house sits on a croft which, until around 10 years ago, was full of sheep. The croft is possibly 30 metres wide and runs from the village road to the sea. Crofts were very frequently very long and very narrow. As a consequence they are often referred to as the farming of fences (about which I have blogged several times).

The grass used to be kept under control by the croft cow (eating the long grass) and then the sheep kept the grass short. Now there are no cows and no sheep on the nearby crofts. So it's now difficult to walk down the crofts and the chance of them returning to agricultural use diminishes year by year. 

This is part of the change in the balance of nature in the crofting communities which I'm hoping to write about over the next few months. Today I'm concentrating on the return of otters to the the area adjacent to my home.

Down the far side of the croft on which my house was built is a stream. When I arrived I was told the stream was an otter run from a loch well above the township to the sea below my house. Despite that and the knowledge that there are otters in the area, I know no one who has actually seen one here in all those years.  That all changed a few weeks ago when someone sitting on the rocks below the house saw and photographed an otter sitting eating a fish amazingly near to him. He posted some of his photos on Facebook. With his permission I'm reproducing a few of them here.

All otter photos courtesy of Jason Spinks.

Monday 9 May 2022

Punctuation Mark's

What I can't understand is why there is no 's' on Welding.

However, Anna has had around 90 years to get this correct:

I don't really expect anyone to comment on this because......well, just because it's a sad reflection on our use of language. 

I've got it off my chest, though.

Wednesday 4 May 2022

Nothing to do with Amazon

"Do you use Amazon?" came an email from a friend. I checked the email address. It was hers. "Yes" I replied with an uncharacteristic lack of verbosity. A short while later came the scam email. I rang to tell her that her email account had been hacked. She already knew. Unfortunately on this occasion the scammer had got hold of her password and taken over control of her account. It was a Yahoo account so possibly the scammer had got hold of her password from a very old leak when Yahoo had a lot of problems with security. 

The outcome is that the spammer has details of everything she has done via email and has locked her out of her email account too. As all her contacts are in it she's lost them as well.

I am often laughed at for my security measures which mean that I use a password app with a very secure password and that no two things requiring a password have the same password.  I know my master passwords for my computers and the password app and that's it. I use separate email addresses for different tasks after I learned years ago that the travel industry used to sell password lists.  

As I use Apple for all my computing/cellphone etc I rarely have to type in secondary passwords  and unlocking my phone and computer are generally by fingerprint and/or eye or facial recognition.

Anyway none of this would have been bloggable but for the fact that I decided the the loss of the rest of the day and evening to sorting out the outfall from the incident was exceptionally irritating.

When I was scammed I immediately went to change my password on that account. Google wouldn't let me. It locked my account saying that there was suspicious activity on it. The only conclusion to which I could come was that a potential scammer had recently tried to get in using an old password from one of the old Yahoo leaks. My passwords are usually changed every couple of years (or when I decide I want to waste a day looking at a screen and getting frustrated) but whatever it was Google decided I was a potential scammer. It took me many hours and a lot of coffee to convince their algorithms otherwise.

With scammers getting more and more sophisticated it behoves every one of us to keep all our passwords separate and secure.