Friday, April 02, 2010
salmon, schief, lively
Wild salmon, spawned in a distant river, ends its life in a sandwich pack.
A German word which I have become familiar with and often find myself using is "schief". When Heidi and I hang a picture, the question is: "is it schief? It means "not straight". I don't think that there is a word in English with the same meaning. In French you might say: de travers. Askew" is alright I suppose, but I am not sure that it is used much in every day life, it's not quite what you mean when a picture is slanted too much to one side or the other.
In The Grove Tavern, I buy my son, Toby, a pint of Harvey's after he has helped me plant a bed of potatoes. "Let me top you up," says Tony behind the bar, "it's a bit lively". A couple of pints at lunch time is more than my usual ration nowadays, and even as I type this my eyelids feel unaturally heavy. But, boy, it was worth it!
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At least the sandwich pack is part of an effort towards responsible forestry management (certified even!)
The curious configuration of the pack, the drain and leaf suggest that somewhere along the line the salmon took a wrong turning.
The Scots have a pleasing variant on "askew". During rugby lineouts Bill MacLaren used to say "That was a bit squint."
We passed some interesting roadworks the other day, where, observing a piece of earth-moving plant, Tom said 'That's a rickety thing, its wheels are all wonky!'
I suggested maybe they were set up that way on purpose, but he said he thought not, since 'both wheels were wonking the same way...'
I'm glad that the message on the pack meets with your approval, HK. Judging by your logo forestry management is close to your heart.
L: In my experience the best path that a salmon can take is to the smokery.
BB: Squint is good. It would do for describing a picture which isn't hanging straight. It could also be a character in Dickens or even in Bonden.
Wonky seems to imply a mechanical defect. But a lovely word and one which I could well apply to myself on occasions.
I had a wonky bike once. The front wheel was eliptical because I had broken a number of spokes while trying to ride the bike without removing the anti bike-thief padlock. This meant an interesting ride - close to trotting on horseback.
This made me smile! In my home dialect of Hessisch, the word for schief is schepp, as in, Des Bild hängt ja schepp!
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