Now, you won’t believe this but I used to be a fag-hag. Yes, at one point I was a 20-a-day person: there weren’t many brands I hadn’t tried at one time, from Disque Bleu (throat-scorching) to Silk Cut (pointless) and just about everything in between. I usually settled for B&H, being seduced by the shiny gold packaging – but latterly I began to roll my own as it was a lot cheaper and you got the buzz much faster. I smoked for ten years before giving it up – in the main because I couldn’t afford it, but also because I realised, as anyone eventually must, the damage it was doing to my health. A couple of years later I started doing yoga – and I’ve never looked back. I now have a generally disgustingly healthy lifestyle, what with being veggie and eating lots of fresh veg, not having a car, and doing yoga every day.
I’m also fairly righteous in the area of carrier bags. I was pleased to hear that they’re going to start charging for these from 2015 – and that the money will go to charity – since they are an absolute blight. It’s not only the supermarkets these days, it’s the small shops: whenever I go into Londis they offer me a bag every time, even if I’m only buying a packet of biscuits – and when I go shopping locally I have to keep repeating like a mantra; ‘No, I don’t need a bag, thanks,’ till my mouth gets tired of saying the words.
This must cease.
I’d like also to see a decrease in the number of highly distasteful lad-mags on display in the shops, but I’m not hearing any noises about this.
My thoughts on the subject, however, were interrupted by Mark talking about Welsh. Well, he started with pop-stars: apparently they no longer sound American as the ‘intervocalic ‘t’s are no longer tapped and voiced.’
‘Do you mean they don’t pronounce a ‘t’ like a ‘d’?’ I asked wearily.
‘Well,’ he said, sounding like a rather over-excited Patrick Moore, ‘it’s not exactly a ‘d’ – it’s like a sort of half-d.’
‘Like ‘medal’ instead of ‘metal’?’ I asked.
‘Sounds like a ‘d’ to me.’
But he was off on another tack, talking about how someone he recently met is Welsh but his accent sounds strange it because ‘it is non-rhotic but his short ‘u’s are not Welsh.’
‘The English ‘u’, he goes on, just as if I have shown an interest, ‘is either rounded or shortened and rounded, so there’s an un-rounded open ‘u’ and then there’s a rounded one – and then on this side of the isogloss there’s only a rounded ‘u’ and it’s not ‘oo’ either. I can’t actually pronounce it. You know?’
He actually expects me to understand this.
You have no idea what I suffer, readers. And all this first thing on a Sunday morning…