Thursday, December 21, 2006

hot stuff, space, tidings

A book arrives, which is to be a Christmas present for an expected visitor. It is Fuschia Dunlop's Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook. I like everything about this book including the author's name. The introduction begins promisingly by quoting Chairman Mao, who said that you can't be a revolutionary if you don't eat chillies.

In Sainsbury's busy car park this morning a young employee is carrying a circular board on the head of a pole. As soon as he detects that someone is leaving, he stands beside the car which is about to emerge and hoists the board vertically. It bears the solitary word "Space". He then uses the board to usher in the next car, rather like airport workers do when guiding airlines to a parking position.

There have been lots of magpies around this year. The other day I counted six on a rooftop. What I didn't know, at the time, was that there is a collective noun for magpies. It is "tiding", a seasonal word too.

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