Friday, 4 May 2012

Grammar School

Friday, I remember when Fridays meant the working week was over.The week doesn't really have a beginning or end these days. Mondays and Fridays are 'free'  (between 9 and 3) but I usually have to fit in shopping, ironing cleaning and crap things like that on those days.

Today, I joined 3 friends (Helen, Meryem and Gail)  for lunch at Wetherspoons (pub chain). I have a sinus and chest infection, and didn't want to go. It's so dark in there, and the food isn't worth bothering with, if you ask me. I'm happy to just drink tea.
When we arrived, I was overcome by fresh paint fumes, it reeked and tightened my chest further.

The customers were either ageing chaps with mild to severe alcohol dependency and a penchant for sportswear   teamed with Elizabeth Duke jewellery, or young ladies with babies and bloated toddlers.

One baby looked as though he'd been born that morning, smaller than any of my children were at birth. The mother sat texting and knocking back pints of coke, rocking the pram with her foot every time the baby whimpered.

I enjoyed the conversation, we discussed the decline of literacy skills in today's youth.Keshling shared her thoughts on the matter recently too.

Last year, Gail set up a project to help high school students improve their writing skills, and is now employed by the education department to deliver the scheme.

It appears that lot of teachers no longer demand proper use of grammar and punctuation. I'm not sure where I stand,  but I do get irritated by this kind of thing (it's not very clear, but there's an apostrophe after every word; Banana's Potatoe's etc) :

Lucy Stare's at Clare's Pear's 

Poor grammar is unacceptable when its on show to the general public.Definitely. Poor spelling doesn't bother me too much, unless the wrong word is used 'their' instead of 'they're' for example. 
I refuse to get hung up on poor spelling, punctuation and grammar because my basic arithmetic skills leave a lot to be desired. Both my mum and oldest son struggle with spelling, but both have excellent mental arithmetic skills. Maybe our brains are faulty on opposing sides.

At the bar in Wetherspoons, a horrible man who knows my parents approached me. I only know he's horrible because an ex-partner of his told my mother she'd been dragged around the room by her pubic hair by him during one of his violent rages. Appalling.

 'Charm' personified, he touched my arm (urgh) and asked lots of questions. I felt like swatting him away like a fly. As a parting shot, he asked about a mutual friend of my dad and his - 

"I haven't seen him in ages, I've had a few textses off him though" he said.


How do you spell a word that doesn't exist. Maybe if you're going to be a bit over-zealous with apostrophes, you should be using them in speech. "I've been to Marks's for my trifle. We'll have a few wine's later and watch Eastender's"

One of my best friends, Rosa, is responsible for sending me the most hilarious text messages. Though she cannot spell or punctuate to save her life, her typed messages to me perfectly convey the chaos and drama which her life is always filled with.   

"My father lost his teeth in ponty he dunno if he took them out to eat his fish or if he never put them in at house. I'm runnin round town lookin for teeth and I gotta go to the hospital to see my friend who broke her leg. Some fuckin weekend I'm avin. Ow are you luv?"

I love it because that's how she speaks, it's instantly recognisable. 

My mother sends quite long text messages now, things like "what are you doing today?". When she first started texting, it was mainly to let me know where she was with Liam when I was leaving work. They would be one of the following:


Not as good as my friend's father, who didn't know how to put spaces in text messages:


My text messages frustrate some people because they're so long-winded. I don't abbreviate anything, use loads of brackets and dashes (like my blog posts) and often forget to add the obligatory 'kiss' at the end.

I can't think of Rosa without remembering the funniest (in my opinion) insult EVER.

Rosa has a real love-hate relationship with her older sister, and they're both very glamorous. 
About 12 years ago, Rosa went to Ibiza with a friend, spent the week drinking and eating, and had put on a tiny bit of weight. She didn't have a boyfriend at the time, and had a very deep tan. During an argument with Rosa about a stretched t-shirt, Tina exclaimed "Fuck off you fat orange LESBIAN".

All texts to Rosa start with "how are you, my fat orange lesbian friend?".

Her husband has tired of the joke.

Hope you all have a great weekend. Feel free to try and top that insult, and point out my errors.


  1. Hello Lucy:
    How we have enjoyed this, as we do all your posts, although with some perhaps 'enjoy' would be less than appropriate, and for those we should ask you to choose an alternative word to fit either the original post or, better still, your mood of the moment.

    We did consider writing this with the inclusion of the apostrophe on every plural word [and others] but at 10.00pm our imaginations have failed. It would have read something along these line's whilst we thought about lot's of word's we could include which would fit the various meaning's of all these post's which you have written over day's, week's and year's.

    Kellemes hétvégét, dear Lucy!

  2. I hate Wetherspoons though Vix seems to have a great time in them. There's two in my town at one of them sounds just like the one you visited! I walked in there to meet friends on a Friday at 12 and a bunch of weird old men tried to beckon me over to their corner. Grim.

    My mum can't be bothered to spell town names so just goes with what the predictive text suggests for her. So I generally guess where she means

  3. I try to steer clear of Wetherspoons at all costs - each one I've frequented has been quite rough barring one in Worcestershire which was actually okay.

    I do worry about the way spelling and grammar really do not seem to matter now, the amount of specials boards, adverts in local papers, and business cards I have seen with badly placed apostrophes is shocking.

    Jem xXx

  4. We got a newsletter home from school once which informed us that the children had been learning about apostrophe's. I nearly cried.

  5. Lakota's comment says it all really!

  6. I mispronounce words all the time, my punctuation is atrocious, and I have been misusing their and they're, but I have a lovely smile:) I don't think I will ever confuse those words again. I pretty paranoid about how awful my writing and vocabulary are, my Mom always points it out, but I have so much to say dammit!
    That tool that tossed a gal around by her pubic hair should have his little nuts put in a vise grip and be left there to rot!

  7. And I wasn't done but for some reason my iPad will lock up when I type comments. I want to chuck it across the room now! Your fat orange lesbian joke is really funny and having a sister myself I know the evil things we say, but that's just funny!

    I love reading anything by you Lucy. You have such a way with words.

  8. from wordyrappinghood by tom-tom club ...

    "words are like a certain person ... can't say what they mean, don't mean what they say"

  9. Wonderful, Luce! I'm with you. I'm a grammar stickler. I will never change and lately I've started to sound like my old English teacher.My texts are also long winded, I can't do text talk at all.
    That has to be one of the best insults I've ever heard!

  10. Whilst Language must evolve, or else we would still be all talking like Chaucer and that would make texting an altogether more problematic task, punctuation does make for better quality and less ambiguous communication. See for an example how Czarina Maria Fyodorovna saved a man from exile by moving a single comma.
    The teeth message caused me to literally LOL. I can almost hear the accent. I do hope the dentures in question eventually turned up.

  11. Poor grammar, spelling and punctuation drives me mental. Your writing is, as always, spectacularly insightful, witty and delightful, even if you did end a sentence with a preposition.

    Even after a million years, I can still feel the sharp rap of the nun's canes on the back of my knuckles if I even think about dropping a g.


    Sarah xxx

  12. I have to agree about grammar and punctuation and, I’m afraid, I’m a bit of a stickler with spelling too. Whayt is driving me mad at the moment is poor proof-reading/editorial in newspapers. There always seems to be something for me to shout at in the morning. The other day it said that no-one was ‘flaunting’ the hosepipe ban, instead of ‘flounting’ it.

  13. I'm a bit of a grammar and punctuation nazi myself... It's not hard to get it right, just learn the rules! And I HATE doing text speak, so my texts tend to the overlong...
    But also like you, I completely failed to comprehend and learn basic mathematical rules, so I'm a hypocrite really.
    You paint a picture with words of your Wetherspoons trip... I go to one which sounds very similar, but there's one just opened in a posher part of town that's quite swanky actually.
    I love that text from Rosa (did she find her dad's teeth?) and I suspect that insult may well be unbeatable! xxxxxx

  14. I don't like dark eating places either but I would definitely wear a T-shirt with Fat Orange Lesbian on it. Well on one of my defiant days anyway :)

  15. With regards to insults, I have the following contributions:

    1. This of course, courtesy of a film I know is a favourite of yours:

    2. My wife knows of a woman whose adult son said to her, "I would rather have Rose West as a mother than you." This made my jaw drop when I first heard it (and still does.)

  16. Tony - of course, that is the best film insult EVER. I'll never understand how she could turn Sully down though.

    Rose West comment - what had his own mother done that was so bad? Bit of sloppy shirt ironing or something....must be hard trying to compete with West's maternal skills.

  17. Hmmmm... I've been thinking on this and had to come back and make a point. I don't think that language skills and numeric skills are comparable - I don't think it is hypocritical at all to complain about poor language skills when you have poor mathematical skills.

    Language is common to us all - communication is a key factor is every single relationship - families, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, strangers, readers, followers... and grammar (and to some degree, spelling, punctuation) are an important part in that most fundamental human interaction.

    And maths is not. Maths skills are just that: a separate set of skills, appropriate as a function, in a specific situation, but not key to every form of interaction.

    What do you think?

    Sarah xxx

    1. Sarah - I agree on the whole. Regarding my my family though, I can't help thinking some skills/skill deficits are inherent.
      My mum, cousin, oldest boy, oldest boy's grandfather and a few other relatives genuinely struggle and fail to grasp the intricacies of language (spoken and written).
      Mum reads more than me, listens to radio 4 all day (word-heavy radio station) and has an excellent memory. My mother cannot spell the simplest of words though - partly due to dyslexia, partly poor schooling.
      Maybe we are pre-disposed to enjoy certain subjects. I only enjoyed English, Drama, and Languages at school. I paid great attention in English, right up until exam time. I failed English first time around because I didn't hand in my homework. Seeing genuine upset in my teacher's eyes made me re-sit, and I passed with flying colours.
      Attaching importance to certain lessons and having goals is a uniquely individual thing, I think. My ex-father in law made a fortune despite being pretty much illiterate. He never read a single book or newspaper in his life, but read people and numbers tremendously well. My oldest boy is 13, but has the literacy skills of a 7 year old. He is expressive and extrovert with friends, mute with adults. I think it has a lot to do with genetics. My father is an all-rounder, spelling champion, crossword mad, excellent numeracy skills. No common sense though. Can't have it all, I suppose.

  18. mmm weatherspoons...
    grammar...I am not too bothered by bad grammar (and I think bad spelling is cute)although the rest of my family are crazy for it. Recently I have been taking a Welsh grammar course as my welsh spelling and grammar aren't great... although I speak welsh fluently I never read papers or books in welsh and don't write it that much either. It's made me think that a lot of people are like I am with my writing in Welsh as they are with their English...and therefore am not that bothered if people can write properly or long as they are nice (or have a lovely smile like krista!)
    oh, i also like shortening words and combining words...

  19. Ahhhh, you know I love a Wetherspoons. Go on, try their Superfood Salad and I bet you'll be a convert, dodgy clientèle and all.
    You know how much I love your writing, I felt like I was really there with you.
    I'm not too fussed with bad grammar and spelling any more, I used to get riled by it but life's far to short to get annoyed by something as piffling as a dot. xxx

  20. O,this was fascinating!
    I too write fairly long txts,but have got used to a little bit of abbrieviation now,and am way more relaxed about it.I like to think I'm being hip.Hmmm.My maths skills are pretty bad,but I am reasonably good at spelling.I am a bit picky about it,I guess,amd I am especially picky about punctuation and grammar!I'm appalled that it isn't being taught properly nowadays!
    I'm such a snob,I do feel a bit squeamish when people don't speak well, or properly to my way of thinking.That's something I am trying to be better about!
    All that said,I do make up my own words! I'm just an asshole!
    I'm not sure what this Wetherspoons is,it sounds like something we used to have called Cobb & Co,that G and I call Gobble & Throw,for obvious reasons!
    O,I reckon rap has helped a little with literacy, as it has brought back poetry,sort of!
    Fat orange lesbian!!!BAHAHHA! We used to call a friend The Gay Pirate because he tried to dress up as a heavy metaller,but looked like a Gay Pirate!!! He did not take it well,so we kept calling him it for YEARS. Those sort of jokes do NOT get old,no matter what anyone says!!!

  21. I am with Vixcita on grammar subject because my grammar is not great. Everyone here thinks I am the greatest speller ,but I hate when they mention and "she is Mexican" WTF!! I almost machine gun their asses.

  22. Amor,
    I forgot to ask you what Mexi restaurant did you go to?
    What did you order?

  23. I text backwards and forward to my mum every day and she has just started putting 'lol' after things. I don't think she knows what it means, really. She's a grammar Nazi like me and only the other day she sent me a clipping from her local paper. It was advertising a restaurant that serves locally grown 'vegedables' and hot and cold pudding's. I despair....someone is paid good money at that paper to pick things like that up.

    K xx

  24. Hy sweetie! lovely post, maybe we can follow each other? Kisses

  25. Hello lovely lady, Your new blog design is gorgeous. Before I went to Japan, my friend borrowed my camera. When I got to Japan, I finished the film (it was that long ago) and took it to the shop to be developed. When I collected the pictures the lady in the shot looked at me with disgust, and was really rude to me. I opened the packet outside to find my friend had taken pcitures of her arse, close up to the camera, with a written poster next to it which said "I always knew my arse was much better than yours." Still creases me up now to think of it. Yep, I still have the photos. :) Em xx


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