Jaqui's Daily Blog

A Case of Perfect Punctuation

Facebook, aka my Best Friend Forever, keeps sending me reminders of what I was posting a year ago, and two years ago. This is both fascinating and irritating in equal measure.


In particular, I have enjoyed reminding myself what I was recording in the Daily Blog in May 2013 and 2014. It has told me a great deal about punctuation.


I have always been a bit of a pedant where punctuation is concerned. It is a result of two years in Junior School with Mr Smith as my form teacher. Mr Smith was very hot on punctuation. I tried extremely hard to be noticed by Mr Smith who was, for two years, My Hero. Sadly he favoured another pupil whom he described as being a Sensitive Soul. This assessment seemed to be loosely based on the fact that she cried buckets when Elvis Presley joined the US Army. I tried extremely hard to be a Sensitive Soul but failed miserably, probably on account of the fact that I didn't exactly understand, at nine going on ten years old, the precise requirements of Sensitivity. Apart from the Elvis Connection, of course.


Mr Smith taught us poetry - "If" from the pen of good old Rudyard Kipling was, he informed us, as we sat in rows of desks with proper ink wells, our little impressionable minds all his to command, the finest poem ever written. Along with Vitae Lampada -"There's a breathless hush in the Close tonight " - by Henry Newbolt which is, of course, all about the similarity between war and cricket. I must try it out on Mr B some time when we are in the middle of an argument about who used up the last of the red milk. Mr Smith it was who taught me Walter de la Mare's poem "The Listeners" which became my party piece for ever so many years.


In my first year in Mr Smith's class, my school report was written in a hasty scrawl. Between that and the second year, however, Mr Smith discovered italic handwriting so every entry in my final junior school report was a quite exquisite example of Careful Calligraphy. Beautiful as the writing may have been, I don't think the actual content of the report was any too different but it must have taken him simply ages to write reports for all fifty of us in his class.


Ah, yes, and Mr Smith taught me - and the rest of Form 1 - the importance of punctuation. His lessons have stayed with me long after I forgot the life cycle of the butterfly, the names of the parts of a flower, the position of all the planets in terms of distance from the sun and the geography of the United States of America. Ask me to point to Georgia on a map and I will stab a tentative finger somewhere around Atlanta; enquire after which planet is nearest to the Sun and I will humm and harr and say it definitely isn't the Earth. But give me a sentence to punctuate and I am willing to wager there won't be so much as an Aberrant Apostrophe to be seen. All thanks to Mr Smith.


Indeed, thanks to my erstwhile Junior School teacher, I am now something of a laughing stock as far as my older grandchildren are concerned, on account of the fact that all my texts are Perfectly Punctuated. Apparently this is not something of which I should be proud. Any more than the fact that I insist on referring to "the selfie button" on the IPad camera and can't work out in which direction I should be looking when anyone takes a photo of me on their mobile phone. Personally I still maintain that knowing the difference between a colon and a semi colon is just as important...


Nevertheless, to get back to the point (which I drifted away from somewhere around the third paragraph of today's blog) reading through past years' Daily Blogs has demonstrated how much the punctuation of my days has changed since I retired, almost three years ago.


When I was a Working Gal, my weeks were punctuated with regular meetings - Corporate Board, Strategy Heads, the Cabinet and Committee cycle. Now they are punctuated by just as regular but - to be honest - far more pleasurable activities: choir on Fridays, Film Club every first Tuesday in the month, Nomination Whist every other Wednesday, the Birdy Group on the first Monday of every month. I could go on but I am sure you get my drift.


I used to enjoy my working days. But life is every bit as rich, as full, as entertaining these days.


As well as being quite Perfectly Punctuated.

 

 

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Latest comments

15.10 | 11:13

I don't remember seeing this first time round.... but thank you for sharing with me. You write beautifully, and brought a tear to my eyes. Lots of love xx

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10.10 | 21:37

Jaqui I think your grandchildren are very lucky. You have spurred me on to write a letter to Amelia who like Hazel is away from home for the first time. 💕

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03.07 | 22:43

Wouldn't have missed it for the world. xx

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12.06 | 02:31

I love that you talk to your plants ... I used to on my allotment ... seemed perfectly rational !

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