Skirr (or skyr, skir, sker and so on)

Skirr (or skyr, skir, sker and so on)

‘… and skirred to its mate …’ A swift, sweeping, sailing sort of word which obviously means to flee or to fly, run, sail or otherwise shift at speed. In dialect it can mean to slide or skate quickly. By extension, to traverse a stretch of land...
Belve

Belve

‘The great pied hound with the belving tongue.’ Williamson uses this several times to describe baying hounds in pursuit of the valiant otter Tarka.  According to the OED it’s an English regional word, mainly from the south-west, where Williamson...
Dimmit dimmity

Dimmit dimmity

An English south-west dialect word for dusk or twilight, hinted at in the opening ‘dim…’. ‘At dimmity it flew down the right bank of the river …’ ‘At dimmit light …’ Not to be confused with ‘dimity’, a...
A writer’s retreat

A writer’s retreat

We first noticed it when it was still a construction site, but even on a grimly dank and overcast day, there was something about this tall, light, filigree structure in the middle of fields on the edge of a farming village.  You could see it from miles away and we did...
Palladian persuasive powers

Palladian persuasive powers

Let me remember this the next time I wonder what chance there is of persuading anyone to fund ambitious cultural projects of global reach. Andrea Palladio (1508-1580) dreamed, designed and delivered. The patrons and sponsors coughed up. Voilà. This comment on his...
Key Performance Indicators (V)

Key Performance Indicators (V)

This 16th century striking, simple verdict on the inaugural performance in Palladio’s Teatro Olimpico could stand as an interesting test for many kinds of performance or creation. Was no one left unmoved? Elsewhere the writer tells us that ‘The performance...
A cord of connection

A cord of connection

Here Mr. Rochester conveys his connection to Jane Eyre and the vulnerability it causes inside.  Attachment made physical. ‘… it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in a...
A linnet of hope

A linnet of hope

Birds are regularly used by Bronte as emblems of vulnerability or fragility – here this small creature is depicted as a source of hope. ‘It seemed as if a linnet had hopped to my foot and proposed to bear me on its tiny wing.’   Source: Charlotte...
Otters at play

Otters at play

Henry Williamson’s spare writing is single-point focussed on getting inside the mind and life of an otter, as nearly as a human can.  He observed them in their natural context for years and his revisions to the draft were aimed solely at removing anything that...

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