Wednesday 22 April 2020

Trivial pursuits

I  mentioned Lockdown backgrounds a couple of weeks ago. Now everyone has jumped aboard the bandwagon. We’re talking bookcases. (And ceilings with or without Velux windows. )

Iain Duncan Smith’s bookcase was quite narrow and full of musty tomes that no-one has (probably) looked at for millennia. 

One of the other Lockdownees, (was it Rachel Reeves?) featured as her chosen backdrop a spacious set of shelves stuffed with all manner of modern literature. 

I demand at least one bookcase close-up, which I can freeze-frame at a later date - so that I may read the spines. Then I’ll know what kind of a person I’m listening to … well, if one’s personality can be determined from analysing a specimen of handwriting, surely a speaker’s reading/home decor preferences could be equally revealing.


I don’t find Laura Kuenssberg unremittingly objectionable. I think she’s clever and hardworking, and more importantly, her hair usually looks nice. It’s just the default metro-centric lefty attitude that grates.

What’s ‘scratchy’? The cat who keeps getting killed by “itchy’ the mouse? Anyway, being somewhat old-fashioned I’ve often wondered about the Ton v Tonne quandary.

Laura K wrote: 
The saga of the plane from Turkey that may or may not be on its way to the UK with tonnes of kit is an unfortunate metaphor for the problems the government has had.
I just wondered why she used the metric ‘tonnes’, rather than the good old Bexity ’tons’, which I would have thought more fitting in that context.

Here’s what a likeminded ‘pedant’ had to say:

I’m all for the metric system, and I’m sure a lot of British schoolchildren would be well pissed off if UKIP’s idea of restoring the imperial system ever came to fruition. But I do find sentences like this, in a item on the BBC website, rather strange and unnatural:
Mr Teller says the first question is not “How can we make a tonne of money?”
I know that tonne is our unit of measurement now, but does it have to take over our idioms as well, especially as this is probably more of an American idiom anyway (I think we Brits would be more likely to say ‘ton(ne)s of money’)?
The following idioms are all listed in British dictionaries with ‘ton’ or ‘tons’:
They came down on him like a ton of bricks.
That bag of yours weighs a ton!
I’ve got tons of work to do.
We’ve got tons of food left over from the party.
I don’t know why the BBC insist on using tonne in idioms. Perhaps they think young people won’t know what a ton is. I say keep the idiomatic ton, and leave tonne for weights. After all people don’t say they’re off to spend a new penny, do they? (Actually I’m not sure anyone says that anymore anyway!)
I'm off to see if I can zoom into some images of people's bookcases; the itch needs to be scratched.

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