Tag Archives: dormitory

Would Suit Retro Goat


Lilliput. The famous land of pygmies in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726). The name is apparently based on Danish lille, ‘little’ and Italian putto, ‘child’, although English ‘little’ and Latin putus, ‘boy’, would work almost as well. It is possible that Swift intended a pun on ‘put’, so that the land is one where little people have been put.

Our Lilliputian spare room is finished. Three walls are white, with the remaining feature wall a luminous yellow which gave me a headache when I was painting it (though that could have been the fumes). We also have a new blind thrumming with an epic seventies vibe. I had a bedspread just the same in Yellow Dormitory, circa 1983.

The room is small. Extremely small. To give you a true indication of the size we’re discussing here, the yellow wall took one and a half sample pots of Lemon Chiffon 1 to paint, and it’s the biggest wall in the room. We’ll never fit a bed in it, and we can’t squeeze a decent armchair through the door frame. My father-in-law bangs his head going in and out. I think perhaps I shall advertise it in the local paper thus:

Stable newly available. Would suit small goat or similar. Blind not edible despite impressions to the contrary. Horns a no-no on account of freshly painted walls. Must be prepared to tackle stairs.


Name change


I changed my bedroom layout a great deal when I was young. My room wasn’t very big – 10ft square at most – but I tried every possible angle with varying success. Bed by left wall, check. Bed by back wall, check. Bed by window, head to window, toes to window, head to bookshelves, plumb in the middle of the room: check. The only one I didn’t manage was diagonal, for the simple and rather irritating reason that the head of my bed wasn’t diamond-shaped. This may have been a reaction to not being able to change dormitory layouts in term-time, or simply because I was bored.

I have changed the name of my blog for similar reasons. Today’s inspiration lies with a fantastic book called BREWER’S DICTIONARY OF PHRASE AND FABLE, first published by Dr Brewer in 1870 and containing such linguistic gems as:

Before the cat can lick its ear. Never. No cat can lick its ear. (It licks its paw and uses that to wash its ear.) See also NEVER.

Pictures and tales of Crumblechops will still doubtless feature along the way, provided she doesn’t eat any long-tailed tits anytime soon.

So. Off I go to do a thousand press-ups before the cat can lick its ear.

[Heads for the kettle and the biscuit tin]