Friday, January 19, 2007

A kind deed? What else can it be?

As some of you know, for some time I've been worried because the right hand sidebar of this page was not where it should be, alongside the current blog. Recently the sidebar dropped even lower, to below the end of the current entries.

Blogger has many useful help files plus a help group. But neither provided a solution to the problem. So the other day, apologising for bothering him, I emailed the designer of the blog template I chose back in May 2005. He is Douglas Bowman and I emailed him on the contact form at his consulting firm Stop Design.

A day or two later I realised the sidebar was back where it should be. I can't think of any reason for this except that Mr Bowman has taken time out from his busy schedule to look at this blog's code and adjust whatever was wrong. If that is the case – and what other explanation can there be? – I think it's an extraordinarily kind deed by an extremely busy young American to help an elderly and regrettably untechy Englishwoman.

P D James autobiography

"It has been a particularly good year for biographies, which I now read and enjoy far more than fiction."

That opinion, with which I agree, was written by P D James on Thursday, 6th November 1997, the year when she kept a diary of the months between her 77th and 78th birthdays, subsequently published as Time to Be in Earnest, a Fragment of Autobiography. The title comes from a comment by Samuel Johnson, "At seventy-seven it is time to be in earnest."

I bought the book when it came out in paperback in 2000. Last night I started re-reading it. What a relief after tackling three disappointing novels.

Does anyone here know what 'camsiled' means?

I have the permission of a reader called N*** to quote the following from a private email concerning a largely forgotten bestseller about which I blogged on January 10th.

N*** wrote, "I have now borrowed A J Cronin's The Citadel from our local library, but before I started to read it, it "vanished" and I found my husband reading it! Unfortunately he had only read three pages before he started reaching for every dictionary in the house (we have quite a few). The third page, third paragraph starts, "Upstairs, Andrew's room was a small camsiled [sic] apartment with a brass bed...".
"What on earth is 'camsiled'?", he said, when I asked him what he was looking for. Good question. It apparently is not in Collins, Chambers, or the shorter OED. Nor was typing the word in Google any help. We are mystified, not only by the word but by what it might be, if it is perhaps a misprint. The version we have is the Vista edition (Cassell) published in 1996 and has the same cover as that illustrated in your blog."

I have emailed a Scottish colleague to ask if she knows the word which a quick search with Alta Vista suggests may be a Scots architectural or building term.

Emulating GOB

I've decided to emulate one of my favourite bloggers, Grumpy Old Bookworm, and post from Monday to Friday, taking Saturday and Sunday off.


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