Monday, 12 January 2015


It is axiomatic that any unattributable saying will be attributed to Wilde, Shaw, and Churchill, however a search on Google (which also yielded the preceding, opening observation which I've scurrilously lifted verbatim, and so can take no credit for it) seems to favour George Bernard Shaw as being the gentleman who first penned the phrase "Two nations divided by a common language".

I love language, albeit admittedly from an entirely layman's understanding of it, and am often by parts both intrigued and amused by the little differences we stumble on to. And we're not even taking spelling into consideration here.

An American friend of mine, unfamiliar with the term 'holding  music' as used in a post of mine last week, resorted to Google for clarification. Alongside the definition I'd intended, he also came up with a female folk singer and song-writer from Manchester called Michelle Holding. Naturally, within the somewhat clumsily constructed context of a "diabolical spawn of a hellish underworld" mentioned, I was referring to the forty-five second loop of classical music the Inland Revenue subjected me to last week for an hour or so whilst on hold trying to get through to them.

It was a very patriotic, imperial sounding piece of brass and strings that I'm sure I should've been able to name, but doing so defeated me despite the prolonged exposure I had through which to consider it. I'm certain in its entirety I'd find it reasonably unobjectionable, but just that little segment looped for an interminable period of time whilst I was trapped waiting on the phone left me feeling like my brain was running out of my ear. And then at the end of it I had to re-gather my wits enough to intelligently discuss my taxes with the admittedly very nice, patient lady who eventually answered.

I think they do it on purpose. The holding music, that is, not the nice, patient lady. She was a surprise, and I'm sure entirely unintentional on the Revenue's part. Actually, I'm being unfair. Once you do finally get through to them the folks at the Revenue are always nice and helpful. And I don't only say that because they scare me.

Funny enough, I'd actually assumed holding music was an imported American invention. I should probably apologise.

As I should also to Michelle Holding for the unintentional association. Michelle's work can be found at and I would heartily recommend her to the Inland Revenue. But given their business, that too could also be read the wrong way.

No sailing this last weekend, despite the enthusiastically brutal weather. It was too nasty to head over to Swansea to play with Calstar, and couldn't secure the promise of a crew to race at Frampton instead. So Lilly and I went for a walk up Haresfield Beacon. Not so pretty a sunset as the last time we were up there; not so much a sunset in fact as a the pitiful surrender of the day into a gloaming twilight.

Given the time of day, the fact that it was Sunday, and the decidedly inclement weather, I was surprised at how popular a spot it was with other dog walkers. I have to admit I prefer it mid-week when it's a bit quieter. It's still a lovely place to walk though.

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