I confess that I have not been spending much time at my keyboard over the last week or so. Not through any lack of desire of my part, but because I’ve been on too many drugs.
No, not the illegal type – the kind you have to be prescribed by the nice medical gentlemen at the local doctor’s surgery.
I’ve got a bad back.
Bad backs are traditionally the butt of many jokes. Apparently one in three people in the UK will suffer back pain this year, and it’s been one of the main excuses for those who wish to have time off work.
Trust me, I’d far rather be working.
But, I’ve been dutifully following the advice of my physio regarding posture, heat and exercise, and as my office typing chair is the most comfortable one to sit in, I hope to be spending more time in it. With suitable frequent breaks for moving around and loosening up again.
So, this week I thought I’d look at the oddities that have hit the news in the UK over the last few days.
The first of these was that on September 9th the Queen became this country’s longest serving monarch, just surpassing the record set by her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, who reigned for 63 years 216 days.
The shortest reigning UK monarch was Queen Jane, who proclaimed queen shortly after the death of Edward VI in 1553, and ousted by Mary I just nine days later, and subsequently executed.
No doubt the Royal Mint will bring out celebratory coinage to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s landmark occasion, but for the moment they won’t be as valuable as a fifty pence coin brought out to celebrate the London Olympics in 2012.
As you can see from the two coins pictured here, the design on the left was changed shortly after its introduction to make the swimmer’s face more clear. Sufficiently low numbers of the original were produced to make them change hands for up to £850.
In politics, Jeremy Corbyn has just been elected leader of the Labour party after clocking up 251,417 votes – 59.5% of the vote. His nearest rival received just 19%. After the last few years of plastic politicians in Westminster, it’s refreshing to find an apparently honourable man with genuine left-wing beliefs holding the most powerful position in the party that always used to represent the more left-wing view. I wish him the best of luck.
A couple from Indiana have relocated to the UK because they claim to have fallen in love with an English pub – The Plough Inn in Shustoke, near Coventry. Matthew and Delores Lawrence decided it was everything an English pub should be, so they upped and made it their local. Matthew has transferred to a UK branch of his loss adjuster firm, while their son, Achilles, has applied to Coventry University.
OK, time for me to lie down with more drugs. What’s the news from where you are?
This week’s Word of the Week is hamartia, meaning the character flaw or error of a tragic hero that leads to his downfall. It comes from the Greek hamartánein, meaning ‘to miss the mark’ or ‘to err’, and was first used by Aristotle.