From the Winter Programme Organiser.

Just a word from your favourite Organiser. And have you ever thought what a strange word “word” is?  When someone approaches you with: “can I have a word” it opens prospects of possibly an interesting conversation; but “I want a word with you” has an ominous sound, ending with you both having words. For words are so changeable either pleasant, as in Tennyson’s “murmuring of innumerable bees” to unpleasant, as on that memorable occasion “I have to tell you that this country is now at war with Germany”.  On a more personal note, those words, in the maxim :”Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” always strike me as ridiculously wrong, even a broken bone mends with the passing of time, but a deeply hurting comment stands the test of endless time. Or take the reassuring vow: “My word is my bond” and its cynical reply: “Ive only got your word for it”.

What is that pedantic examiner thinking of when he sets the test : “Explain in your own words. …” I have no words of my own. All the words I utter are other people’s words learnt at their Mother’s knee. That master of convoluted language, Lewis Carroll was the only one who used his own words, by packing bits into a portmanteau. The Jabberwocky is full of them, including the word “waffle” which I am led to believe I am always at, though I have never done it through a tulgey wood.

And his great prodigy Humpty Dumpty was a true master. “When I use a word,” said Humpty Dumpty,” it means Just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.

Impenetrability, that’s what I say !” Then having chosen our words, we have to use them carefully. As Eric Morecambe taught us, it is important to get things in the right order. Consider the difference between ” I have nothing to say” and “I have to say nothing”.  Do words fail us, or do we fail words? Shakespeare as usual has the last word: “Words, words, mere words; and no matter of heart”.

Not another word. Except to say that by the time you read this you will have heard all about Wren’s churches, and can look forward to hearing about Bvarking’s fishing fleet in March.

I trust I have left you “word-happy.”


Ron Silk.