Friday, 24 April 2015

Fancy a chat?

I thought the name Letts - as in Quentin - had a familiar ring. He, you might recall, is the Daily Mail columnist I crossed swords with on the Jeremy Vine show some time ago.

That was about paternity leave, too. Well he's nothing if not consistent. Prince, pauper, commoner, or (next-in-line-to-be) King, they're all the same to him and now he's got Prince William in his sights for daring to take the full six weeks paternity leave. He seems to regard it a badge of manhood to want to spend as little time as possible near your own children. Well, here's my take on the whole thing, published on the Good Housekeeping blog today.

In other news a friend tells me of her brand-new online store selling hand-made jewellery. As someone constantly in need of inspiration when it comes to gift-buying I thought the least I could do is share it with you. There really are some very lovely pieces. Here's the link:

Finally, this Friday, another factoid (number two in the occasional series that began a couple of months ago with this post about the origin of the term Bluetooth). The more attentive of my two readers might recall my mentioning the fact that I'm currently writing a war book - that is, a book about The Great War or - more accurately - a book about the immediate aftermath. (Should you wish to have sneak peak, you can do so here.)

Anyway, in the course of my work I've been re-reading what is quite possibly the greatest book about The Great War ever - and certainly my favourite - Pat Barker's Regeneration Trilogy. But in the second volume I spotted (yes!) the tiniest of errors. Those who know it might recall Billy Prior (the fictional patient sharing a psychiatrist with - among others - Siegfried Sassoon in the first volume) going back to his home town, Salford, and walking empty streets where - before the war - women would be standing in doorways chatting to each other of an evening.

Except, they wouldn't. Well, they might have, but they wouldn't have called it that. Chats were the nicknames given to the lice that infested the uniforms of almost every soldier serving at the Front. There was no way to get rid of them (short of burning uniforms) but they could be kept at bay by running a candle flame or thumb nail along the seam of clothing, burning the lice and crushing their eggs. A sedentary and mindless activity, usually performed in company and accompanied by conversation - which soon became linked to the activity - chatting!

Have a great weekend.

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