Around 1972, probably for my birthday, my sister bought me a dictionary (I think I may have said I needed one for school). I was given a very nice hardcover Oxford Dictionary.
I got the mickey taken. out of me quite a bit over the dictionary. I’d be looking up a word, and that was me gone for 10 minutes, just looking through it. What are you doing my friends would ask, “Reading the dictionary” I’d reply. Fall about laughing they would.
For me though, “reading the dictionary” was a delight. I had to do it again today. But I got to thinking a little bit. I was reading in the latest edition of County Walking a piece about Hedgerows, and how some are very ancient, on the order of thousands of years, and how a lot of hedges had been destoyed in the name of increased food production (which in its own right is no bad thing, but was there no other way of doing it?
The author of the piece used a word, and I reached for my phone to get the definition, but then thought no, I’ll use the dictionary, the same one I was given back in the early seventies. It’s looking a bit battered now, but it was no less efficient in serving up the definition of the word “bucolic”.
The trouble with words, you think you know the definition; why was the author of an article about hedgerows writing how damaged their lungs are, me thinking that bucolic was some form of lung condition. Oh Dear, how wrong was I? Quite a bit really. relating to the pleasant aspects of the country side, and farming is the correct version.
I don’t have a dictionary on my desk, but looking at my dictionary reminded me that I really would quite like one. I’m not very good at describing paper, but I don’t want a dictionaryh with that thick, rough paper. I want a dictionary with the really thin, I think it is rice paper? I think I may get one, so that I don’t have to damage my dictionary from school.