This is going to be a bit of a pot pourri and what better way to start than with the first course of a soup you might not be familiar with? It tastes delicious and is very easy to make.

Armenian aubergine and chickpea soup

Fry in olive oil in a large pan, about a quarter of a large aubergine chopped into small pieces. They don’t need to soften before you add a tin of chopped tomatoes, a cup of cooked chickpeas (tinned are fine) and a third of a cup of red lentils. Add enough water so you have sufficient for about 8 generous portions of soup. Then add 2 tablespoons of tomato puree to thicken and a cup of yoghurt. Bring to the boil and add a teaspoon of ground cumin and some dried mint and juice of half a lemon. Don’t add any salt until the end as it slows the cooking of the lentils.

-Once the aubergine is soft, allow the soup  to cool and then whirl in a blender. Add salt as required. Serve in bowls and garnish with yoghurt in which you put a sprinkling of more mint.

From Recipes for Soup to Recipes for Finding Love

I’ll try my best to stop writing about online dating agencies any more, but just to confirm that in the past week I have spotted 2 UK women both looking for the same thing in their ideal consort, and something highly unexpected at that. On the same website which is the offspring of a well-known liberal Left-leaning UK newspaper these women in their profiles have stated as their romantic preferences something the diametric opposite of l and L-l. They both say that they want their chosen chap to be ‘public school educated’ no less. Now and just in case you are not British, be aware that the term ‘public school’ actually signifies the opposite of what you’d think, as it means ‘private fee-paying school’ and represents all that is privileged and exclusive and all that money can buy, and nothing that the condition of having no money whatsoever can ever hope to buy.

You will recall that as late as the 1990s in boys only public schools, they heartily encouraged large boys to beat small boys for minor transgressions, and for the latter also to be the large boys’ unpaid servants, aka ‘fags’. The last word is of course colloquial US terminology for gay, and there was also an obligatory fair bit of that around where there were no schoolgirls evident for light relief. Fascinatingly both of these phenomena of ritualised flagellation and gayness by default rather than choice, would apply historically to the desired online boyfriend who was likely to have been 15 in 1980 and therefore 52 in 2017. Great in 2017 then to see that 2 nice women in their early 50s still think that all that peerless aka baroque even kinky legacy will make their new partner all backbone and civility and charm and who knows what else?

Finally, the business of words, a source of enduring fascination for everyone, not just writers and philologists. Last night in an idle moment (and when I think about it I have a pleasing exponentially increasing quantity of those) I started musing, Lord knows why, about adjectives ending in -some.

Handsome, toothsome, irksome, fulsome

Now then folks, of those 4, which is the odd one out?

That’s right, it’s ‘irksome’ as the other 3 are positive and approving adjectives, while irksome is pejorative. Note that 2 of those positives are also of an anatomical origin, namely the hands and the teeth. So etymologically speaking, if you have nice hands or are nice to the hand, you are handsome. If you are good to the tooth you are thereby a toothsome item (see the Armenian soup above, though the great thing about that blended soup is you don’t even need any teeth to eat it). The lesser odd man out is ‘fulsome’ as the first part is an adjective, ‘full’ while the rest are nouns including the rather rare noun ‘irk’.

But if irksome, then come on, why not nigglesome, or pain-in-the-backside-some?

I ask you folks. I would really like to know.














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