Q is for Quaint:

Quaint: ‘having an old-fashioned attractiveness or charm; oddly picturesque.’

Yep, that’s what I envisage quaint to mean in a nutshell.

But I’ve always been interested in the history of words (etymology), and when I was visiting other A to Z bloggers yesterday, two were blogging about etymology. So when I fed in ‘quaint’ to google today, this entry from the online etymology dictionary caught my eye.

c.1200, cointe, “cunning, ingenious; proud,” from Old French cointe “knowledgeable, well-informed; clever; arrogant, proud; elegant, gracious,” from Latin cognitus “known, approved,” past participle of cognoscere “get or come to know well” (see cognizance). Modern spelling is from early 14c. 

Later in English, “elaborate, skillfully made” (c.1300); “strange and clever” (mid-14c.). Sense of “old-fashioned but charming” is first attested 1795, and could describe the word itself, which had become rare after c.1700 (though it soon recovered popularity in this secondary sense).

So what things do you call ‘quaint’ today? For me I suppose it would be village tea-rooms, thatched cottages, wild flower gardens with winding stone paths, wishing wells… that kind of thing.

If we were back in the 13th century, what would I use quaint for? A saddle, perhaps, or a sword. In the 14th? Perhaps The Forme of Cury, a cookbook:

The Forme of Cury is the first English text to mention olive oil, cloves, mace and gourds in relation to British food. Most of the recipes contain what were then luxurious and valuable spices: caraway, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger and pepper. There are also recipes for cooking strange and exotic animals, such as whales, cranes, curlews, herons, seals and porpoises.

Apparently one of the recipes is a kind of porpoise haggis… nice. Now that’s put me right off my cream tea in the little cottage garden, attached to the crumbling but still beautiful thatched tea-room, with roses (naturally) climbing around the door…


P is for Petty: George, William and Tom

P is for Petty: ‘of little importance; trivial’. Sometimes people are petty. Some rules are petty. Wasting my time on them? Petty.

Let’s talk about famous people named Petty instead.

George Petty

George Petty IV (April 27, 1894 – July 21, 1975) was an American pin-up artist famous for his creation of the ‘Petty Girl’. His pin-up art appeared primarily in Esquire magazine and others, and also on calendars. His work popularised the ‘gatefold poster’ concept. 

The Ballerina

File:Memphis Belle movie logo..jpgHis work was widely reproduced on the nose of war planes by military artists, with the most famous reproduction being the Memphis Belle.

The picture on the right, ‘The Ballerina’, was a painting for the 1965 Ice Capades. Petty’s work for Ice Capades, appearing as program covers and posters, began in 1942 and continued throughout the decade.

A Petty Girl was used on the cover of the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.

William Petty

Sir William Petty FRS (26 May 1623 – 16 December 1687) was an English economist, scientist, philosopher and inventor, and a founding member of The Royal Society. He was a friend of Samuel Pepys and was knighted by Charles II in 1661, despite having served under Cromwell. He is best known for his methods of statistical analysis, but he was from a family of clothiers and spent his early life in the Navy and studying medicine.

Tom Petty

Thomas Earl “Tom” Petty (born October 20, 1950) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer and actor, best known as lead vocalist of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. He was also a member of the Traveling Wilburys and Mudcrutch.

Today he has sold over 80 million records and won numerous awards, but he worked for a time as a groundsman at the University of Florida. An Ogechee Lime Tree that he planted is now known as the Tom Petty tree. His signature grey top hat was lost when an arsonist set fire to his home in 1987, but luckily his basement studio was saved by fire-fighters.

Tom still performs with the Heartbreakers; in August they will headline at the Outside Lands Music Festival at the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, and a new album Hypnotic Eye, is due for release in the summer.

File:Tom Petty Live in Horsens.jpg

I can only apologise for the fact that all three of my famous Petty people are men. A quick skim of the internet didn’t reveal any famous Petty females, but if you know of one, do share! I will happily stand humbly corrected (try saying that when you’re drunk).


O is for Obstinate: A Revolution and a Coup

Obstinate: stubbornly refusing to change one’s opinion or chosen course of action, despite attempts to persuade one to do so.

Again, I’m going for randomness today (ahem… 2 days late)because it makes life interesting. You find all sorts of new and interesting snippets when you search the internet for a random word and as I’ve said before, if Dave Gorman can make TV series out of this stuff…
And it’s a lot more interesting than a post about how obstinate I am.

It’s odd how sometimes Google will offer pages and pages of dictionary definitions for a random word, and other times you struggle to find one. Today, I had to click though a few pages of definitions before I got to anything else. These are literally the first three hits, and the first two are all about troubled and bloody pasts…

The Obstinate Daughter

Sounds like a book, I thought as I clicked. Until the huge words ‘EAT WITH US’ filled my screen. The Obstinate Daughter is the name of a restaurant – sorry, ‘Food Fort – on Sullivan’s Island in South Carolina. So why, I hear you cry, is it called The Obstinate Daughter? Over to them…

Our name, The Obstinate Daughter, is an homage to the rich Revolutionary War history of Sullivan’s Island. On June 28, 1776, under the command of Colonel William Moultrie, the defenders of Fort Sullivan foiled the British fleet’s attempt to capture the city of Charleston in the Battle of Sullivan’s Island. This first American Patriots victory inspired a London political cartoon of the defiant defenders of Charleston:  “Miss Carolina Sulivan, one of the obstinate daughters of America, 1776”.  To us, The Obstinate Daughter is a beautiful reminder that the stubborn refusal to change one’s course of action can change the course of history.

The Obstinate Daughter Restaurant

‘A Southern restaurant that is influenced by French, Italian and Spanish cuisine.’

The restaurant serves pasta, pizza, and a large selection of other delicious-sounding seafood and vegetarian options. If I ever visit my cousin in North Carolina, I might just pop down there; it’s not far.

Chile, Obstinate Memory

This is a film by Patricio Guzmán, whose 1976 film The Battle of Chile documented Salvador Allende’s government, the events leading to the coup led by General Pincohet, and Allende’s death – events ‘largely barred from the collective consciousness of the Chilean people

Hearing only the official version, a generation of young Chileans has grown up with little knowledge of the historical facts surrounding the events of September 11, 1973…

Now, Guzmán has returned to show The Battle of Chile in his homeland for the first time, and to explore the terrain of the confiscated (but maybe reawakening) memories of the Chilean people.


CHILE, OBSTINATE MEMORY visits with Chileans who experienced the coup first-hand (some of whom are seen in The Battle of Chile from 25 years ago). Survivors reminisce as they watch that film, recognizing lost comrades and recalling their courage, gaiety and love of life. Those who were not killed during the coup itself were crowded into the National Stadium in Santiago, where many were tortured, disappeared, and never seen again. Survivors talk about the terror that characterized the Pinochet regime until the dictator was finally obliged to relinquish power.


Soldiers burn Marxist books

Suddenly, I don’t feel that obstinate… 😉

N is for Nauseating: A List

Cruelty to animals.

Scotland Haggis.jpg

Forced marriage.

Those ‘sentimental sayings pictures’ on Facebook that people share – you know, the ones that seem to give the impression that vowing to always interfere in your child’s life, even when they’re an adult, is an admirable thing and not a symptom of your graspy neediness and control freak tendencies (er… no, it’s not admirable. It’s their life, you’ve got yours. Get over it.) Or that, no matter what, you should love your child/mum/dad/auntie whatever (er – statistically, a fair few of your friends you share this stuff with will have suffered some kind of abuse at the hands of a relative, or perhaps just plain don’t get on with them – and they don’t need you to make them feel guilty about not agreeing with the sentiment that ‘their Dad will always be their hero’ or ‘their Mum will always be their best friend’. ‘I know all of my friends are warm-hearted caring people so they will all share’... emotional blackmail at its very best!

How many people are honest enough to put what they really think in the comments…


As for the ones that are sexist claptrap created by people who can’t even spell… pur-lease!!

Lovely. A gratuitous depersonalised crotch shot and terrible punctuation and spelling.

M is for Majestic: The Mountains and Burns of Scotland

Majestic: ‘having or showing impressive beauty or scale’.

Scotland. Nothing to do with the Queen, although I’m not denying she’s majestic in that ‘good evenin’, You Majesty’ way, and once Techy Husband and I did find ourself meandering around the back of the Balmoral estate by accident when we got lost.

DSCF2815Scotland has more majestic scenery than you can shake a stick at, and I’ve been lucky enough to see some of it.

My favourite trip was up through the Glen Shee pass  – through the Cairngorms up towards Braemar – at Easter one year, when the sun was shining and the mountains were still covered in snow. Amazing!




The other lovely area to visit on a snowy sunny day is The Lecht between Tomintoul and Cockbridge, on the Glenlivet Estate. It’s a beautiful walk and if you like a bit of history, you can walk along the valley to the old crushing  mill building that still stands there – all that remains of an old iron mine.




This picture of my lovely mum-in-law, above, was taken on a visit to The Lecht on a day when there was snow, rain, hail and hot bright sunshine all within an hour.


This picture on the left was taken in the hail phase!




It’s an easy walk alongside the burn from the Well of the Lecht car park – and even the view from the car park is amazing (this was the rain phase!). 




The walk along the burn itself is lovely and the views make it well worth the walk, but having an end point to your walk is great too – and inside the crushing mill building, which is a great place for kids (and dogs!) to – er – mill about in, there are information signs explaining the history of the mine.

File:Lecht Mine - geograph.org.uk - 180913.jpg

Whatever road route you take, the drive to The Lecht will be an experience too. It’s a beautiful area and there’s a great view of Corgarff Castle from the Lecht road.

I’ve enjoyed exploring parts of central and Eastern Scotland and seeing beautiful burns and majestic(!) mountains – this year we’re going to the Isle of Skye for our holidays, so I’m looking forward to exploring the West with its lovely locks and inspirational Isles!


L is for Languid: Lazy, Lazy Me!

The keener of eye amongst you will have noticed that this post is a day late.

Languid: ‘(of a person, manner, or gesture) having or showing a disinclination for physical exertion or effort’.

Yes, well, that was me yesterday evening after a very busy day of writing articles about weddings and other less exciting stuff. I was not the ‘weak or faint from illness or fatigue’ kind of languid, either; I just thought I’d finished everything and plain ‘ol forgot about the A to Z.

So I’d best be off to do the M post. Can’t have that being a day late too, can we.

To compensate for the mind-blowing inadequacy of this post and its complete lack of useful or interesting content, I shall reward your time with this cute picture of a languid polar bear – and of course, my humble apologies.

File:Polar Bear floating.jpg