The obscure word of the week is cuckooning

This week’s obscure English word is cuckooning. It was coined by Lady Cynthia Asquith (1887-1960) to describe her lifestyle during the First World War. Her husband, Herbert ‘Beb’ Asquith, was serving in France; she was left to bring up their two young sons. Although she was daughter of Hugo Charteris, the 11th Earl of Wemyss … More The obscure word of the week is cuckooning

Literature versus science fiction

I am somewhat bemused by the way ‘literature’ is so often assumed to be a superior form of writing, above any form of genre fiction and, particularly, science fiction (‘ptooey’). Authors known for ‘literature’ are, apparently, more talented, competent and intelligent than ‘sci fi’ authors, who by definition are hacks, talentless and ignorant of basic … More Literature versus science fiction

The obscure word of the week is dandiprat

This week’s obscure English word is dandiprat. It’s a sixteenth century word meaning somebody who is young or insignificant. I quite like it – there seems all kinds of opportunity for some outrageous Shakespearean insults with it. ‘Thou impudent dandiprat!’ Your challenge: write a Shakespearian sentence or two in the comments, using this word. Copyright … More The obscure word of the week is dandiprat

Book of the week: ‘The Division’ – putting it all together with another oxymoron

By late 2003 my publications list included three books on the adventures of the Second New Zealand Division in the First World War: Battle for Crete, Desert Duel and Italian Odyssey. They sold well individually and by 2006 had gone out of print. The question then was what to do next with them; there was … More Book of the week: ‘The Division’ – putting it all together with another oxymoron