Why You’re Using Umbrellas Wrong

Recently a student was trying to think of the word umbrella. They knew the French word (parapluie), but that didn’t help them to remember or figure out what the English word is. And as I thought about the word umbrella, I completely understood why: it actually has nothing to do with rain at all.

Continue reading

The Dog Days of Summer

Look at Daisy up there, simply enjoying the warmth of the sun, as only a dog really can. What a life of simple joys a dog lives, one we can all be envious of. Seeing her like that yesterday made me think of the phrase the dog days of summer. A lot of people assume that it refers to the hottest period of the summer, in which dogs are too tired to do anything else but lie in the afternoon heat. I can see the logic in that, but as I’d never looked into the origin of the phrase, I thought now was as good a time as any to do so.

Continue reading

Anyone for Tennis?

The beginning of Wimbledon always feels like the real start of the summer to me, regardless of how rainy and windy it is outside. I used to enjoy playing tennis in the summer as a child, and it was always enjoyable to play in the morning and then come inside when it started to rain and watch the professionals play on TV. I think I also enjoyed the aesthetics of Wimbledon, all those nice bright whites and greens, though now I’m a little put off by the whole poshness of it all. I mean, curtsying? Really? Anyway, even if I’m too busy to watch it during the day anymore, I like to keep half an eye on how things are progressing in the tournament. Did you ever notice though, that there’s one strange thing about tennis in general: why do they use such strange words for the scores? Continue reading