Friday, December 23, 2005

Sprouts, pigeons, words

Sturdy sticks of brussell Sprouts from the farmers' market. This is the way to buy what my mother used to call "fairy cabbages"; they look spectacular and the sprouts are fresh, tight and shiny when you pick them from the stem.

When I grow sprouts they are usually devastated by pigeons. "How do you keep the pigeons off ?" I ask the sprout-farmer at the market. "It's a case of more sprouts than pigeons," he says.

A book called the Meaning of Tingo has been in my sights since I read extracts from it recently. It is about extraordinary words from around the world. If you are someone fascinated by language, you won't have to read far to find a hundred things to make you pull out your notebook. Who could resist: ho'oponopono, Hawaiin for solving a problem by talking it out, or chupotero, a spanish word for a person, who works little but has several salaries.

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