Tuesday, September 01, 2009

A feast of distractions

This morning's weather forecast warned of a change coming: summer will be turning to autumn over the next few days. It will be a seamless change for most of us since the summer has been mostly wet and cool. The geese have already departed, the conkers have fallen but we can look forward to the wonderful transformation of the leaves.

I will be needing some distractions, having said goodbye to Millie this morning. The house is eerily quiet and where is the challenge in tidying up when there are no little hands to pull everything out again? A timely email has brought news of enough interests and distractions to keep gloom at bay for a very long time. Rose Baron, editor of a fascinating website called Random History, invited me to take a look here.

The website is packed with carefully researched information on all manner of topics including word origins, Christmas customs, fashion, chairs, American weddings and many more random topics for "the curious mind." I have dipped in and I know that regular visitors to Random Distractions will find many items of interest there so I will be adding a link to Random History and Word Origins for the Curious Mind to the sidebar.

On my first visit, I selected Women from the list of topics and found 36 random facts, quite a few of them were new to me. Here is one that I hope doesn't come back into fashion:

The English language originally delineated between women in different stages of life with the terms “maiden,” “mother,” and “crone.” A maiden referred to a young girl who was unmarried, a mother referred to a woman in her child-bearing years, and a crone described a post-menopausal woman.c

I really don't want to be an old crone! I shall just have to keep my mind active and conversation interesting with lots of new-found information and perhaps no-one will notice the physical decline.


  1. Thanks for the link. This cartoon will give you a hint where's I'll look first.

  2. I am eagerly looking forward to the transition of summer to fall. It cannot come soon enought for me! Thanks for this fabulous link! I'm sending it on to my son. It is just the kind of stuff he loves.

  3. I bet that house feels quiet! it sounds like you all had great fun.
    As for the introduction of the cr word... as one to another I don't think it sounds very attractive..lol
    and Jenny Joseph's poem wouldn't have the same ring if you substituted crone for woman ...or would it?
    When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
    With a red hat which doesn't go and doesn't suit me.
    And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
    And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
    I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
    And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
    And run my stick along the public railings
    And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
    I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
    And pick the flowers in other people's gardens . . .."
    extract from Warning by Jenny Joseph

  4. erp
    I guessed you would head for The History of English Language or is there a section on smart kids that I missed? Have fun.

  5. Karin
    September and October are my favourite months, too. I'll be looking to you for ideas for Christmas gifts to make soon. I hope your son enjoys the history and facts website, perhaps he will suggest some more topics.

  6. Val
    No, I don't like the exchange of woman for crone! It took a long time for me to get used to woman in place of lady, although I couldn't go back to that now, but I'll have to draw the line there.

    It is nice to see you back blogging. I haven't had time to do more than glimpse at your photos but I will have MUCH more time now that Millie has gone home.

  7. I think we all know a crone or two, and I don't think it's an age related condition.
    The Russians still have different words depending upon age/status. Dyevochka is a girl; dyevooska is a woman, or a girl if married; Tyatya is Aunty and used as a sort of respectful familiarisation for women of a certain age. Then there's Babooska. Granny. No uncertainty there. They use these forms of address all the time, in shops and when asking directions etc. It seems odd and direct at first, but you soon get used to it. I was 'woman'. As in...'Woman, tell me the time, please.' There are similar words for males as well.
    Anyway, sounds like my sort of site.

  8. Rattling On
    I am sure you will like the website, it is full of all kinds of interesting snippets.

    While crone has a rather distasteful sound, I think it is sad that we don't have more expressive English words like the Russian ones you describe. My Welsh friend used a lovely word (sounded like bopa but I can't find it in the Google translator) for special female friends of the family. I suppose the closest we got to it as children was calling people auntie even though they were not related to us.

  9. Maureen, My Grandma was Welch and it was her first language. I used to understand it very well (not so nowadays, sadly). We always called her Mother Nain (grandma) and Aunty is Bopa. I wonder if this is your word, used as you suggested in your reply, as a name for someone who feels like family?

  10. Rattling On
    Yes, I'm sure it was Bopa. I used to go home with my friend for to her parents' house in Crynant and I met a number of very kind, elderly women who were introduced as Bopa Mair or Bopa Gwen etc. I thought it was lovely.

  11. erp
    I think you would say sassy. The language is getting in the way of humour again!

  12. Here we'd say smart mouthed kids.

  13. e, I'm afraid the full saying here uses a different part of the anatomy.

  14. We say that too, but this is a family blog.

    Something just came to mind about the different names we have going through life.

    Does anyone else remember how shocking it was the first time somebody called you by saying, hey lady, instead of, hey girlie?

  15. There has been a lot about crones in the past few years. Women are taking it on with pleasure and honoring this phase of life.

  16. Maureen, just thought you'd like to know I can't comment using Typepad at all. Or Name/URL. (Even though my blog is signed on)
    Have used the Google id but it's not linked to my blog, maybe I can do that somehow?

  17. Nan
    I haven't been aware of this welcoming of the crone phase of life. I'm perfectly happy with getting older, especially now that I have my granddaughters but the word crone brings really horrid images to mind. I shall just have to embrace it!

  18. Rattling On
    I'm finding the new format quite annoying and will change back to the old one if I haven't adjusted in a few days.

    Clicking on your name doesn't take me to your blog but I could get there by clicking on the My website link on your profile page. I don't think Blogger and Typepad co-operate very well with each other.

  19. Yes, I went to the Google site and fiddled around for a while until I found out how to put my URL on the profile page.
    I'm just vain enough to think people will read my amazing comments and want to read on...

  20. That's not vanity but common sense!

  21. I did a leaf picture like that once. Yours is better.


I love to read your comments and promise that I will reply as soon as I can leave my garden, sewing room or kitchen!