Anne Diamonds says it’s time to stand firm on punctuation
PUBLISHED: 10:40 21 March 2014 | UPDATED: 10:40 21 March 2014
As if gritting her teeth over ‘parsnip’s for sale’ wasn’t enough, Anne’s now dealing with the thought that councils might try to do away with the apostrophe
Nothing annoys me more than a misplaced apostrophe. Well, perhaps I may be more upset by a world where the apostrophe was outlawed – because I think it’s important. Don’t you? Not so, according to some councils in Britain who are considering dropping the apostrophe from new road signs. It has happened already in Birmingham, East Staffordshire, East Cambridgeshire (who have now relented) and Huntingdonshire. No sign so far of it being introduced in Berkshire. Goddard’s Green and Jealott’s Hill must stand firm.
Perhaps some of the villages which might have lost their apostrophe in the past could come out in support. Does Martin’s Heron not sound better than Martins Heron? Maiden’s Green or perhaps Maidens’ Green seems more evocative than Maidens Green.
I reckon we should all prepare a pre-emptive strike before what the National Apostrophe Protection Society calls “greengrocers’ English” takes over the country. Note the apostrophe. More than one greengrocer, you see. My corner shop is a constant headache to me. He is always advertising the price of his parnsip’s. And I’m told the famous Betty’s Tea Rooms in Harrogate has dropped its vital possessive as a nod to modernism. Drives me mad. Up with this we must not put.
The lure of Lego
Glad to hear I have a little something in common with the great David Beckham. He likes to play Lego to de-stress and calm down at the end of a busy day. He sits down with the kids and utterly loses himself. Last thing he built was the Lego model of Tower Bridge, which is no mean feat. All I can say is, Dave, enjoy it while your lads are little. I used to love sitting in the middle of the playroom floor surrounded by my four sons and heaps of Lego bricks. Hours of blissful play would ensue. No computers, no phone calls. And you could feel your heart rate slow down, and wide, quiet smiles of concentration on all our faces...
What’s more, I felt really useful and a little cool finding those awkward little hingey bits and rare but important pieces for my constructive offspring. Now, they’re all grown up and I guess I won’t savour the same delight again until I’m a grandma! So play on, Becks, while Lego is their thing. They’ll grow out of it all too soon and you’ll strike a solitary but crowd-attracting figure at LEGOLAND Windsor.
I’m proud of my Scottish heritage and love being a British mongrel (there’s a lot of Irish blood in me too!). Many Berkshire families have this Scottish and/or Irish background, courtesy of their parents coming south for work and a new life, both before and after the 2nd World War.
And I know that many debating the ongoing Scottish independence question say we shouldn’t think of emotive aspects but sheer financial or political concerns. But if we’d only stuck to those arguments, by now we would be fully paid up members of the Eurozone, with those soulless and heritage-free Euro coins rattling around in our pockets, and all no doubt speaking fluent Franglais or Esperanto. And I bet we’d look back and regret taking such an important decision without listening to our hearts and souls, as well as to the biased and polarised arguments of politicians and economists. In my view both Scotland and the rest of these unique isles would regret a divorce. In this case, let soul, heart and family ties rule.