Boxing Day

Today is Boxing Day, traditionally a day of extreme rest for those who celebrate Christmas, due to the exhaustion caused by the previous day’s eating, drinking, and resting. Unless you’re one of those simply awful people who get up at 5am to queue for the stock that clothes shops couldn’t sell during the year, now reduced in price. Then it’s probably quite a tiring day, but that’s your fault, isn’t it? For the rest of us it’s a day for watching Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory or Raiders of the Lost Ark, and eating Quality Street and turkey & ham sandwiches. Continue reading

Straight to Heck

I’ve probably heard or read the word Hell a lot more in the past few days than I would normally. I touched on this briefly before when I wrote about swearing, but it is interesting how we treat the word. It seems logical enough that in countries which were strongly influenced by Christianity, the word might be a little taboo. People understandably tiptoe around the word a little bit, because Hell really is the worst place imaginable. Only the reality  when I was young was much different. I thought nothing of uttering a casual What the Hell? when surprised. I knew better than to go full-on WTF in the presence of my parents or teachers, but no-one would ever really bat an eyelid at What the Hell. Even as I was saying it, I never even stopped to consider the fact that the phrase contained the word Hell. It was just part of the whole exclamation. At the same time, I got quite familiar with the word heck, and its associated phrases, from American TV. But, in perhaps another one of my linguistic blindspots (though come one, I was a child), I never connected the two words. Continue reading