Restored to Your Former Glory

You may know the feeling: you’re on holiday and you’ve been walking around sightseeing all day. You’re tired, you’re hungry, and need to stop to eat. So, you pop into a little restaurant, and you feel satisfied and re-energised. Restored. And it’s no surprise really, because that’s what a restaurant’s for. Continue reading

Una Cerveza, Por Favor

Une bière, s’il vous plait.

Una birra, per favore.

It’s something we might think about before going on holiday: oh, I should learn a few phrases of the local language before I go! And sometimes we do just that: maybe get a phrasebook, or peruse the little section on useful phrases in the Lonely Planet guide a few times. Or we do a quick Google the night before or at the airport because we’d completely forgotten about it until then.

And then we arrive and there a few variations on what happens: either we forget about what we’ve learned, and rely on English and hand gestures; we think about using a few phrases but are terrified and rely on English and hand gestures; or, we use a few phrases here and there. And that can go a couple of different ways. Sometimes ending in English and hand gestures. Continue reading

Sorry, What’s Your Name Again?

It can be a bit of a drag having a fairly uncommon name, sometimes. Not that I’ve ever wanted to change my name, or generally been unhappy with it, but it sometimes feels like it’d be nice to have a name that people understand straight away, and can’t later mispronounce. It’s ok in Ireland because even if it’s not the most common name, it’s still known by everybody. Even for English speakers from other countries, it’s not too difficult, as it’s a pretty simple sound common in English. Like smile, or while, or of course, Nile. Continue reading

Battering Ram

Have you ever had those moments when you realise the etymology of a word you’d never thought about before? I had a good one recently, while visiting Fort-la-Latte in Brittany. Outside the main gate, there was a replica medieval battering ram, with the tip in the shape of a ram’s head (a ram being a male sheep). As soon as I saw it, the lightbulb went off: ram! Continue reading