Poach Pod

I’ve been having a massive clearout and, finally, the poach pods have gone for recycling. I bought the set of garish purple silicon egg poachers years ago in the UK. Back then I thought they were a brilliant idea but they turned out to be one of the most useless things I’ve ever had in […]

Valerie’s A-Z of Bullshit

From Awesome to Zeitgeist, you’ll be blown away by this no-brainer A to Z of buzzwords, hype and cool stuff (originally written and posted in April 2016 for the April A-Z Blogging Challenge). A is for Awesome Please do not send me any more promotional emails that say: “Hi there [user name] I just want […]


So I’m back from digital darkness with a jumble of notes and drafts. I’d lost the thread of this blog – until our cat had a brushgasm. I’m sure you know what that is: a paroxysm of almost unbearable delight at having his coat brushed. The word furgasm also came to mind, immediately followed by […]

Stainless Steel

So I had the idea of doing a kitchen-themed exploration of my language obsessions. What gadgets or utensils or whatever were worthy of note, linguistically speaking? Stick beater. I like that one.  A beater in the form of a stick. Teardrop grater. This is a box grater with teardrop-shaped holes. Cool. And then… bam! Stainless […]

Birging and Corfing

Who remembers the wonderful game show they used to run on British TV, Call My Bluff? The show featured two teams of awesomely witty celebrity contestants. An obscure word was given:  one team would give three definitions, only one of which was correct, the other two being brilliantly plausible bluffs. The other team had to […]

J is for Jargon

“Can I pick your brains?” says my friend who, poor thing, works in ‘communication’ and spends his days (plus nights and weekends) writing, editing and translating applications for funding for, well, bullshit. “Pick away,” I reply affably. My friend reads from his screen. “Going forward, innovation and disruption are the key features of our design-driven […]

A is for Awesome

From Awesome to Zeitgeist, you’ll be blown away by this no-brainer A to Z of buzzwords, hype and cool stuff. A is for Awesome Please don’t send me any more emails that say: “Hi there [user name] I just want you to know you are AWESOME, and to thank you for your AWESOMENESS I’m giving […]


So we were talking in Catalan about something very large, and my son said: “in English you can use jumbo, right? Like a jumbo-sized sandwich or burger or other horrid pile of chemicals masquerading as food. Jumbo screen. Jumbo pack. Jumbo prawn.” “Jumbo jet!” I yelled. How on earth could I have missed that one […]


I needed a flipchart (back in the dark days before I had a smartphone). And I could not for the life of me remember how to say it in Spanish or Catalan. Actually, I don’t think I ever knew. The dictionary turned up ‘rotafolio’ which I’d never heard before, and nor had the people in […]

The Moo and the Dougalist

To this day, I can’t actually tell you what The Moo looked like. I was very very small, and I was so terrified of it that I always ran inside and hid until it had gone past. It was a hideous monster, like the panic-inducing hoover (vacuum cleaner) which reared up with a terrifying roar […]