If you are what you eat, why aren’t the Smarties working?

Never put off till tomorrow what you can put off today... (Are you sure that's right, Lynne? ED)

Never put off till tomorrow what you can put off today... (Are you sure that's right, Lynne? ED) - Credit: Archant

Our vocabulary changes all the time. New words, and old words with new meanings. It’s not easy to keep up... and I usually don’t.

Many times I have been told to “shush” because I have innocently used a term that has a new and dubious context. And there are innumerable words that have gained a definition. An instance is “ripped” as in “Cor, Look at him, he’s ripped.” But in this case he is neither torn nor tattered. In fact, Mr Beckham looks mighty fine or, in common parlance, ripped (adj. well fit).

On a less explosive train of thought, the other day I saw a colleague looking pensive and was about to say: “A penny for your thoughts,” when I decided instead to say: “I suppose a penny won’t cover it.”

According to a brief trawl through Google, it looks as if the term dates back to the 16th century when, I’m guessing, a penny would have been a very healthy return for a thought. One estimate reckons it would be the equivalent of about 95p today but I think that’s conservative. In the mid-1500s, the average craftsman’s wage was around 6d; thus six times the price of one’s thoughts. The overall average wage today is in the region of £500 and a sixth of that would be around £83. So a realistic price for someone’s thoughts would be about £80. I’ll tell you for £40.

Perhaps a more accurate measure would be to use the retail price index and measure the inflation from a 1550 basket of goods (not including thoughts) to a 2014 basket. But that might be taking things too far.


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It set me to thinking (this one’s free) about updating the sayings we use that are getting creaky with age. As I am.

For example, we may have to look again at “actions speak louder than words”, bearing in mind the regular uproars over Tweets. “All roads lead to Rome” was a term coined well before the circuitous highways were built. The M25, for example, is manifestly a road that does not lead to the Italian capital although taking an alternative route via Rome might get you to Heathrow more quickly than the London circular.

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More problematical for the health lobby is “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die”. This is not in line with Government advice to cut down on sugar, fat, alcohol and fun and should maybe be brought into line with current thinking to read: “eat and drink in moderation, and use the correct merry-making safety equipment, for we still die tomorrow.”

Fight fire with fire. No, don’t.

There’s also a very dangerous myth at the heart of the tenet: “If you want a thing done well, do it yourself.” This does not apply to electrics and roofing and a range of other specialist skills such as rebuilding the computer after a Trojan horse has invaded turning your files to mush. If you want an unskilled task done well, then perhaps you might do it yourself... watering the hanging baskets, for example, or buttering a scone.

Laughter is not the best medicine for a headache; lightning does strike twice in the same place but it’s true that life is not all beer and skittles if, indeed it ever was.

I can speak with some authority on the idea that “life begins at 40”. If it did, then it missed out some really great years.

“Nature abhors a vacuum” may be scientific fact but does it account for the popularity of the Dyson?

They say that “truth is stranger than fiction” but having encountered Twilight and Fifty Shades of series of books, I’m wondering if truth can really be stranger than that.

If it is, I’m not going out after dark and I’m certainly not getting into a lift with a millionaire called Mr Grey who has a personal dungeon.

“Seeing is believing” stopped being useful when pictures started being manipulated. It is quite possible to fiddle with me and make me look gorgeous... by which I mean, you could take a standard photo of me and then airbrush my face, neck, hips, upper arms, chest, waist, hips, thighs, knees and ankles and create a goddess; an Aphrodite.

Actually, reading the list of work that needs doing I think it would be quicker to start again from scratch.

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