Cosmopolitan in search of roots

Despite great enjoyment at travelling around and experiencing England, it has felt more and more like visiting a favourite theatre, emphasizing my not belonging rather than bridging my cultures and overcoming feelings of being split. I decided to choose one or a number of projects to develop a more active relationship to the culture (better structure my gawping), the first being Dorset architecture, in particular the county’s churches, my aim being not to produce anything for publication but to find the limits of my own knowledge and go beyond them.

On my first visit to Dorset for this project, I’ve visited four churches – Studland (for its consistent Norman architecture), Winterbourne Steepleton (Anglo-Saxon sculpture), Bere Regis (Turberville/Thomas Hardy associations) and Cattistock (fine Victorian additions including stained glass, which are both fields very much worthy of further study).







Foxing, phloem, elucurbation and the wailings of hell

Concerned that my new acquired book on Italian literature might have book mould, I learn the concept “foxing” which is when a book acquires brownish spots, the causes of which, according to my net source, are not fully understood. Not only can people be foxed by a book but the book itself can be foxed, which feels satisfactory. Awaiting further investigation, my Italian literature book still has its own niche in a cupboard though, a book purgatory.


Another new word for me this week is “phloem”, the innermost layer of the bark, which is added to flour to make bark bread (not by us….).


“elucurbation” wasn’t entirely new but not in a state which could be used. I now know that it is to work out or express something with great mental effort or to produce a literary work by great effort, originating from the Latin “lucubrare” to work by lamplight. There is a similar word in French but there it seems to have acquired a negative connotation (rather than semi-jokey as in English).


Finally, as the perfect end of the week, I discover that the figure 57 is not only connected with baked beans but that there are also 57 words relating to hell in my Concise Anglo-Saxon dictionary (J.R. Clark Hall).

Particular favourites:


helleceafl, the jaws of hell

hellcwalu, pains of hell

hellegrund, abyss of hell

hellehaeft, prisoner of hell

hellerune, pythoness, sorceress (how did the A-Ss know about pythons?)

hellewitebroga, horror of hell-torment

hellheaf, wailings or howlings of hell

helletintrega, hell-torment

helleswite, hell-pains

hell-traef, the devil’s temple