Finished The Horologicon by Mark Forsyth, a hilarious, intelligent book about the lost words of the English language! Forsyth is the author of the 2011 best seller The Etymologicon. Here are just some of my favourites!

Culf – the bed fluff that lodges in your navel. Bumfodder – 17th century word for toilet paper now contracted to bumf – large amounts of paper. Duffifie – to rest a bottle on its side to get the last remaining drops. Quobbled – those wobbly crevices on the ends of your fingers when you’ve been too long in the water. Pogonate – having a beard. Grinnow – a stain that has not come out in the wash. Ultracrepidarianism – giving opinions on subjects that you know nothing about. Talking a lot of DICK. Something that happened in the reign of Queen Dick, i.e. never. Incloacate – to  hide in the toilet. Boul – the name for the little finger holes in scissors (though also meant in Long Kesh Internment Camp walking around the yard wondering when you were going to get out). Flânerie – the practice of sitting alone in a café observing the world hurrying past and trying to read a life in each face. Aglets – the little plastic bits on the ends of your shoelaces. Deipnophobia – a dread of dinner parties. Anthypophora – the rhetorical act of asking a question and then answering it yourself. Lanspresado – that person who always has forgotten their wallet. Proon – any wedge you use to stead the leg of a table or chair.

I also learnt that Shakespeare coined the expression ‘son of a bitch’ (from King Lear… “the son and heir of a mongrel bitch”. And that the Russians have a word – Shturmovschchina which means the practice of working frantically just before a deadline!

Interviewed by Sven Bollens, a KU Leuven Master student working on a dissertation about the public support for the IRA during the conflict.

28th February. Spoke to about forty students at Kings College, London, about the background to the conflict, the 1981 hunger strike, and the peace and political processes. My feature piece about the Gibraltar killings was published in today’s Andersonstown News.

20th February. Did an interview via Skype with Afşin Yurdakul of  Haberturk television in Istanbul. The recording was for the international affairs show Eksen and whether the Turkish government and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), who are currently engaged in talks, could learn some lessons from the IRA ceasefire and peace process regarding a future political settlement/arrangement.

24th February. Interviewed along with PUP member John Kyle by William Crawley on BBC’s Sunday Sequence about loyalist claims that their ‘Britishness’ is being eroded.

21st February. Did Skype interview with Anna Derrick, a student at Durham University, about Bobby Sands and the hunger strike. Did interview with Sean Murray, a film student at QUB, who is making a documentary on the 1988 killings in Gibraltar of three IRA Volunteers which he will be showing during Féile an Earraigh.