View Full Version : How it used to be.

23rd Apr 2013, 22:10
These days my only frustrations come from these damned electronic curses.

In the early 1960s I would in my own fair hand write out a "Memorial for the Opinion of Counsel". It would begin "Messrs A and B present their compliments to Mr C, and invite his opinion on ........" Then would follow the facts and my request for such advice as was needed.

I would then pass it to a typist, who would type it. That typewriter would hum like a Schmeisser or Sten. Then to an envelope, and to "the boy", by whom it would on wings of speed and bicycle, but no lycra, be forwarded to Mr C. or as it might be, "M N C, Esq., QC".

Next morning I would receive, handwritten by the learned C or D, again in his own hand, an "Opinion of Counsel" for me.

As the poet put it of an even earlier age,

'Twas wondrous in that dawn to be alive,
To be young was very heaven.

tony draper
23rd Apr 2013, 22:32
Old Uncle Hugh wrote all his letters in the most beautiful copper plate hand I have ever seen, when we went through his papers there were various old letters from other members of the Draper clan scattered about the land and time that showed other Drapers had a similar gift,alas this skill be it genetic or otherwise bypassed Bro Draper and self, to call my hand a scrawl would be doing it a favor and Draper the elder even worse.
I wonder if our cubs are taught how to actually pen a letter on paper now ie how to address it, begin it with the correct salutation and end it in the correct form.
For those unsure there is always google.:rolleyes:
Forms of address in the United Kingdom - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forms_of_address_in_the_United_Kingdom#Church_of_Scotland)

Mike X
23rd Apr 2013, 22:33
Davaar Esq.

Without prejudice

I had to (with pleasure) fit a formerly disadvantaged friend with my ex-formal clothing for a job interview yesterday (Tuesday).

He has one more exam before he is qualified (theoretically, electrical).

He has no formal clothing and was asked, upon interview and in good spirit if he was a lawyer !

He has been asked to come back on Thursday, to see how it works.

The day previous, he went for a job application in a jean and T-shirt and that was a no-go, according to him.

There is a formal way of communication which is all but forgotten. Sure, there are relaxations, but where it counts most, most have forgotten.

Maybe I'm getting old. Know how and when to communicate. I'm sure you may agree, it's not what is said, but how it is said.

Adjourned ! :)

23rd Apr 2013, 22:34
A well crafted love letter is probably a dead art.
Girlfriends of mine (only one at a time, mind) used to keep them, tied up with ribbon. Bet they don't do that with texts.

Mike X
23rd Apr 2013, 22:50
A well crafted love letter is probably a dead art.
Girlfriends of mine (only one at a time, mind) used to keep them, tied up with ribbon. Bet they don't do that with texts.

You bring back the memories (mammaries too).

I remember writing them "poetic" letters in the 80's.

It is a dead art. Believe it.

I cannot, authoritatively, pinpoint a pinnacle in modern consciousness (re modern behaviour), but I do believe that it is on the decline.

A little bit of history, in my opinion, shows that we are on an insidious slope of decline towards oblivion.

23rd Apr 2013, 22:50
They don't really teach children how to write in script anymore.

As a wee lad, my son asked his teacher to spend extra time to teach him how to write his signature. He didn't know how. :(

Mike X
23rd Apr 2013, 23:05
Hi vis

I had four years in junior school and had to write with a fountain pen. Not designed for left handers.

'twas a strict Catholic institution and we learned script, come hell or high water.

I'm better now, my cheques are still recognised by them so-called banks. :suspect:

Worrals in the wilds
23rd Apr 2013, 23:48
I can't do a consistent signature; never been able to. It's a bit of a pain. :( If I have to do anything official at the bank I usually take a passport with me.

They put a note on my file about it (something to the effect of 'this gumby can't even sign her own name':\) and told me it's commoner than most people think.
Next morning I would receive... Which is fine when the respondent is in the office next door. Remember having to wait a week for a reply though? :ugh: I know email's not nearly as picturesque, but it's a heck of a lot faster...when the system's working, anyway.

23rd Apr 2013, 23:50
Handwriting will become an extinct skill within 20 yrs. People born in 20 yrs time will not be taught handwriting, nor even how to compose sentences. Electronic devices will do it all for them. The dumbing down of society will be complete.
Then you will be able to sit around in your Chesterfields in your clubs, whilst sipping on single malts, and truly moan over the loss of ancient skills - and explain to astonished younger members, "how it used to be". :)

Mike X
24th Apr 2013, 00:13
You're on the money, onetrack

I type, don't write, for a long time. Signing my slips at the checkout is about it.

24th Apr 2013, 00:47
I went to primary school late forties, early fifties and we did have the advantage of being taught to write, (didn't think of it as an advantage then though!).

We actually had writing books, scratchy school pens and inkwells, the ink constituted by mixing a powder with water and all kept in a jug by teacher! The books had across the page a blue line, underneath two red lines and a blue line at the bottom, taking up about three quarters of an inch, this pattern was repeated down the page. Capital letters went blue line to blue line, lower case only up to the red lines, a few other variations I can't remember now, all done with a slope to the right, in Copperplate format. Not sure when teaching writing died out in English primary schools but I don't think it went much past the mid fifties. Great shame.

24th Apr 2013, 00:49
Mesdame Wilds of the, Worrals -

I have a contract-signing signature (my proper one), a
bank signature (a more properer one), and an aviation
signature (the least properest one - looks like a crayon
scrawl - used to sign off tech logs and fuel orders etc).

Sometimes I mix 'em up accidently...

24th Apr 2013, 00:56
I'm better now, my cheques are still recognised by them so-called banks.

but aren't UK banks proposing to abolish cheques soon ?

I say we should go back to a "bearer" carrying messages in a cleft stick, built an Empire on that system, we did.

I blame Bill Gates.

Mike X
24th Apr 2013, 01:05
I (an Anglican, no choice, changed that Sh!t in my teens).

I was fifteen years of age and felt this weight of uselessness upon me.

I ran for it and am a believer in Karma.

What you give is what you get. No such thing as a free lunch.

*for the record, there ain't nobody looking over yer shoulder.

Loose rivets
24th Apr 2013, 01:19
I would not have made a good barrister, despite being able to argue a point to the extent my opponent would slump with exhaustion in front of my sadistic eyes. But I can neither spell, nor remember people's names. Worse still, I can not be bothered to commit anything to paper.

Thank-you letters to granny and aunt Molly were an exception.

My birthday was, and still is, in October. The ten-bob notes would arrive, with a card, with a certainty that was absolute, and the need to thank them would nag at me, but only when I was not climbing a tree, or trying to swim from Walton on the Naze to Dovercourt. By December the 15th, the nagging turned to an uncomfortable fear. No Christmas ten-bobs if I didn't thank them in good time.

Oh, the sense of relief when I pushed that scrawled thank-you through the slot in the red letterbox before the 20th.

What an excremental child I was.

Some years passed and I became an airline pilot. It's odd how one becomes an airline pilot - as though one set out to do something else, and quite by chance, became someone that toyed with aircraft for a living. I don't for one moment suppose barristers simply become barristers . . . though I suspect the one friend I have that does barristering - and a bit of judging - for a living, took that route to avoid falling coal.*

Handwriting. Gosh. They asked me to do that quite recently in a writer's group. I said carpel tunnel syndrome made me explode if I used a pen.

And then, there was BIA.

I joined them as a captain of an ancient monument to aviation. Southend was where I came in, so it was fun - if not such a good career move. While submitting my flight reports I noticed my writing was changing. Utterly bizarre. My writing and my personality changed as one.

I was good at woodwork at school. Technical drawing was a breeze, but it required a certain style of notation, and that was seeping back into my left, yes left, hand as though it had been lying in waiting for nearly 20 years. When I left school at 14, that style was forgotten . . . until, 1980. The writing was very, very mechanical, and raised the eyebrows of the ops bod all that time later. Nice it were, but it wasn't my writing. Well, not since 1954.

And then there was the song I sang in 1990. Drunk as a skunk, but in good voice, I sang the most beautiful song - with not a single word known to any race on this planet. If I could go back to any moment, I would go back to that time and observe the faces of my astonished audience. Life is a mystery, a bit like handwriting.

* Apologies to Dud and Pete.

24th Apr 2013, 01:26
I remember writing them "poetic" letters in the 80's.

My first job in a law firm was to go through old papers in the cellar of a firm we had taken over. "Read and throw out", were my orders from On High.

There was one parcel of letters, etc., from an old gentleman to his wife. They went back many years, tied in a bundle with a red silk ribbon.

The writer had grown up in Germany, never married, and then moved to Dundee on business. Once there, he had stayed. He had met his wife to be, and with her over the years had found the happiness he had thought would ever elude him.

Among the papers were several deeds of gift, which began: "In consideration of the love, favour and affection in which I hold my dear wife etc., etc., I do etc., etc".

He and she were both long dead.

I could see why she had kept the papers.

24th Apr 2013, 02:04
...when the system's working, anyway.


Yeah! That's what lit the blue paper. The system was mocking.

24th Apr 2013, 02:08
A worthy thread, sir.

Technology has made much more information more readily available but at the cost of logical thought and well-formed ideas. Our loss.

As to the lost art of letter writing, while I agree that it is going, the young man that figures out that she will like getting something 'hard copy' that sings her praises will get a leg up, errr yes, on the competition.

Ballroom dancing where the man actually leads the lady and directs her will also do well in the romance department.

Some adage about 'history repeating?'

24th Apr 2013, 02:20
I can't do a consistent signatureI'm with Slasher on this one. When you sign for expensive jets, never do a consistent signature sos' you can deny everything (Baldrick!) after the crash.

...especially when you pickup a new one from the factory and discover that YOU, not you on behalf of the RAF, are signing for it.

Anyway, back to ancient crafts...woodworking. We spent most of a year at school building one thing - a box for chess pieces/pencils. No design / poster / customer needs rubbish like today, just learning how to use tools and how wood could be worked. What use was that?....Just built an entire two storey house! Thanks,Mr MacDonald for teaching something properly.

24th Apr 2013, 02:48
Yes Fox3 - when one knows how the legal blame game is
played in aviation then one knows when to place a proper
signature in blue ink and when to scrawl in crayon.

Loose rivets
24th Apr 2013, 04:51
My next door neighbor was my bank manager. I'd holler at him out the window as he returned to work after lunch. He'd rush back and grab my paying-in slips and then rush away. (I vaguely recall paying-in slips.)

He had the most common family name in the United Kingdom, but one of the most rare given names. Perhaps the rarest. His signature had a small tunnel of circles in the middle - I have no idea why, neither i nor t need circles.

Some days the tunnel would be brief, a train to scale would be through it in a flash, but other days the tunnel was so long and dark, the same train's passengers would have time to smoke a cigarette. I asked him what prompted the change.

"Oh, I don't really know. Just the mood of the moment. The better my mood, the longer the tunnel."

I suppose it didn't really matter, the bank would have known if he was in credit.:hmm:

Pinky the pilot
24th Apr 2013, 05:54
We actually had writing books, scratchy school pens and inkwells, the ink constituted by mixing a powder with water and all kept in a jug by teacher! The books had across the page a blue line, underneath two red lines and a blue line at the bottom, taking up about three quarters of an inch, this pattern was repeated down the page. Capital letters went blue line to blue line, lower case only up to the red lines, a few other variations I can't remember now, all done with a slope to the right, in Copperplate format

Likewise parabellum. I started Primary school in 1960 and went from pencil to the inkwell filled pen at grade 3. Unfortunately I never really developed a decent (read legible) cursive but persisted with cursive style writing until a Lady friend complained that she couldn't read my writing.:ooh:

Quite possibly it may have been the letter I wrote whilst the C402 I was flying on autopilot over the Owen Stanley's at 16 or so thousand feet and the O2 bottle was empty that did it, (what O2 bottle?:mad:) but after she grizzled about it I abandoned cursive style.

Now some people complain that I can't even write 'print style' properly.:O

24th Apr 2013, 07:03
Read this article about the history of handwriting (http://www.ejf.org.uk/Resources/ejhandw.pdf) and all will be revealed

Lon More
24th Apr 2013, 07:07
I remember those books as well.
Miss Sprout(she must have been about 80 years old, short, fat, legs like tree-trunks was our teacher (but she could inflict agony with the tawse). I remember having my right arm in plaster from above the elbow and being told to use my left hand, then getting belted because it wasn't good enough. "Lon More, you're nothing but a wastrel. Nothing good will become of you. Hold out your left hand." She had the trick of managing to get the tawse to wrap around your hand so that you also got it on the back of the fingers.
After her, moving down to England and being caned across the backside became a laughing matter. Saying "Was that it?" the first time the Head caned me was not a good career move.

tony draper
24th Apr 2013, 07:21
Pencils? we could only dream of Pencils,we leaned our letters on slates.:uhoh:
Hmmm should that be 'we were taught our lessons'?
I remain Sir your obedient servant.

24th Apr 2013, 07:25
The vagaries of modern life and work mean that much communication I do is electronic, but my trusty yellow Ferrari fountain pen is immediately to the left of the keyboard and gets used a lot. I've used fountain pens for the best part of half a century and have no intention of giving up.

I've encountered the blue screen of death from time to time, but never the blue Basildon Bond of death.

Waterman's South Sea Blue ink, if anyone is interested.

tony draper
24th Apr 2013, 07:34
Whatever happened to Propelling Pencils? do they still exist?:uhoh:

24th Apr 2013, 07:38
Indeed they do, FSL. Next to my trusty yellow pen sits my trusty yellow 0.9mm Pentel propelling pencil, available from abigsouthamericanrainforest near your computer.

Worrals in the wilds
24th Apr 2013, 07:59
I've encountered the blue screen of death from time to time, but never the blue Basildon Bond of death.
Good point. Some time ago my workplace had a major computer meltdown that knocked out emails. The shrieks and wails coming from the Geek Office indicated that it wouldn't be back up for some time. :ouch:

Suddenly, people had to visit other people's offices and speak to them (if they were internal) or pick up the phone and ring them if they were from other companies. While doing so, they caught up on news, found out about people's lives, chatted, flirted and did all the human stuff that's becoming obselete in modern workplaces. Pulling together in the face of first world adversity added to the joy de vivre.

People were quite disappointed when they came in the next day and the emails were back up and running; back to The Matrix. :sad:

Of course it wouldn't be sustainable for more than a day (and even then it slowed business down) but it really was fun.

tony draper
24th Apr 2013, 08:00
I remember being issued with my first pencil at Missus Miggins Academy for the Children of Ragged Folk,we were obliged to practice our letters in note books that appeared to be made out of soft toilet roll paper but I suppose twere just after we had crushed the Hun (again)and money was in short supply which also accounts for the pencil lead being just one below diamond on the Moh scale in harness,one pencil could last a urchin(we were not called students in those days) his or her entire school career and only need sharpened twice.

24th Apr 2013, 08:03
I would then pass it to a typist, who would type it. That typewriter would hum like a Schmeisser or Sten. Then to an envelope, and to "the boy" On the other hand I remember the typing pool.

Write letter and send to typing pool. Receive back 3 days later with 3 spelling mistakes. Correct and send back. Get back 2 days later with one new spelling mistake. Ponder whether to send as is, but then correct and send back. Get back 4 days later (weekend) and eventually send.

I thanked god when we received desktop PCs with a printer. But even then we had to send our printed drafts to the pool (use it or lose it, and a lot of wives were employed). Took several years before I could write and send a letter on the same day.

I also remember the horror of onion skins and Xerox copiers. Hands covered in ink and cranking the handle for an hour or more.

Nostalgia's not what it used to be........

24th Apr 2013, 08:08
I've used fountain pens for the best part of half a century and have no intention of giving up.

Like the FSL I too had the slate. I remember the rare occasion when one bought a new box of "slate pencil" for maybe a penny or so from Miss Corrigan's wee shop. She was Irish, of course, but when you need the pencil, you need the pencil. I have tried many times since to find a shop that had a box of such merchandise, for they were classics of Victorian commercial art.

When I was 12 I had a pretty awful fountain pen called a "Platignum", but even so more really than we could afford. In my class was a chap named "Smith" who had the most magnificent writing instrument, a "Parker 51". Just beautiful. The Smiths must have been rich, that much was obvious.

Then about forty years ago one of my sisters gave me a gift, an up-to-date version of Smith's Parker 51. Maybe a 61. Can't remember.

Anyway I used it for years. By now we were in the age of the jet, and sometimes it would leak, staining the lining of the suit. No matter, we had become as high-end Parkerman.

Eventually it became not so good at its job. I now know the reason from the local fountainpenmen, for whom I am honorary acting unpaid legal counsel, much like a lance-corporal. It seems that Parker had experimented with a new version of "Quink", composed largely of glue. which did in fact gum up the works. The upshot was that said pen languished in a drawer.

One day I thought: "Davaar! You should get that Parker fixed!"

With us Davaars, to think is to act; occasionally at least. At others, to think is to procrastinate. Right now, for example, it is 03:45 AM here where I sit.

I had to find a Parker outlet. At the "office-supplies" emporium I asked the serving-lad where one bought fountain pens these days.

"Huh?", he asked shrewdly.

He asked the boss, who knuckled his brow. After research, off I went to a local Parker outlet and explained my predicament. "No prob! Sir!" responded the trusty retainer there.

I left the Parker in his custody, and departed.

A week or two later the retainer called me by telephone. He sounded heartbroken, regretting that some vital part ("He had set his heart on the vital part, of Poor Little Angeline" ... remember Poor Little Angeline? Hers was a sad story!), but as happens the Pen was outadate. The old spare parts saga! Heard that one before. What could he do? Not much!

After discussion we reached agreement. The best he could do was the best he could do, so we left it at that.

A week or two passed. The retainer called again, deeply gloomy. He was a proud man and had indeed done his best, but Alas! to no avail. My pen was ready for collection. Well, what more was to be expected? It was thirty years, easy, since the thing had been bought, and Life is Like That. Silver threads among he gold, y'know!

Back I went to the Parker shop to collect the body, so to speak. Very sorry!
Mr Davaar!

Oh that's OK.

And there is this, of course.

What's this?

The replacement, Sir.

The "replacement" was the present-day clone, gratis, of what the Smith boy had at George Watson's College,1946.

"Oh Yes! Sir! At Parker's we have a lifetime guarantee!"

By Golly! They mean it!




Worrals in the wilds
24th Apr 2013, 08:34
Wow, that's service. :ok:
Mind you I do know of a Maglite torch that was run over by a 737 and slightly flattened (though it still worked) that was replaced by Maglite under their lifetime warranty.

And no, it wasn't me who dropped it. No-one came foward to claim ownership, which is hardly surprising.

I have a fountain pen that was a 'got into uni' gift from my grandmother, but being left handed I never got the hang of writing without smearing the ink everywhere. :( I still have it but unfortunately the disposable BIC does the work that the keyboard can't.

24th Apr 2013, 08:57
Hi visI'm better now, my cheques are still recognised by them so-called banks

What's a cheque? I haven't written one in 25 years. Everything paid at the Post Office - now by e-banking.

24th Apr 2013, 09:09
I remain Sir your obedient servant.

Or, when writing to a government department: "You remain Sir, my obedient servant".;)

24th Apr 2013, 09:38
When still a small boy I purchased a large book for a few pennies at a church jumble sale in the early 60's.

It was titled "Enquire Within Upon Everything" and included (amongst an enormous amount of other useful information) sample letters for every imaginable occasion, ranging from the hiring and dismissing of domestic servants, through proposals of marriage, to letters expressing condolences.

This thread has prompted me to try and find out what happened to it. I suspect it may still be on my aged mothers bookshelf.

Takan Inchovit
24th Apr 2013, 09:39
Before handwriting dissapears completely it will take on one or two transformations as it goes, eg;

Davaar Esq.

w/o prejudice

I had 2 (with pleasure) fit a formerly disadvantaged frNd w my ex-formal clothing 4 a job intRview yestRdA (Tuesday).

He hz 1 mo exam b4 he iz qualified (theoretically, electrical).

He hz n formal clothing & wz asked, upon intRview & n gud spirit f he wz a lawyer !

He hz Bin askd 2 cum bak on Thursday, 2 c how it worx.

d dA previous, he went 4 a job app n a jean & T-shirt & dat wz a no-go, accordN 2 him.

ther iz a formal way of cmUnik8shn whch iz aL bt 4gottn. Sure, ther R relaxations, bt whr it counts most, most hav 4gottn.

mAbE I'm getin old. knO how & wen 2 communicate. I'm suR U mA agree, it's not wot iz said, bt how it iz sed.

Adjourned !

24th Apr 2013, 10:55
Should you ever be in the USA, visit Mt Vernon, the home of that revolutionary, G. Washington. The tour takes one to his office. Ask the guide to point out Mr. Washington's copying machine. He kept a copy of many of the letters he wrote.

The "copying machine" was a letter press. One dampened a sheet of tissue paper, put it against the ink side of one's written document and pressed the two together in the letter press. Some of the ink was transferred to the damp tissue paper. The copy was, of course, in reverse - but could be read through the tissue paper.

Just try to do that with a document written with one of Marcel Bich's (Bic) instruments.

24th Apr 2013, 11:32
I still enjoy using a fountain pen, a Rotring, purchased on being admitted to the Bar, together with its accompanying propelling pencil. They don't have that look of luxury like a Parker but a certain industrial quality of a fine precision instrument. Using a pen makes writing a considered undertaking, not just scrawling something for the sake of a mere record or note. It imparts a special seriousness to the undertaking.

My handwriting on the other hand is slowly degrading to the illegible unless I take special care. A by-product of university note taking in lectures. However, the true pleasure is when using paper that is fit to be written on with a fountain pen. None of this cheap muck that sucks up ink to create a soggy mess but something fine, slightly off-white, on which writing is a pleasure.

24th Apr 2013, 12:09
You put it better than I could, PLovett. Totally agree.

One great misery of the UK is or was ******** Bond paper.

One other element of writing that did not dawn on me until many years had gone is that it seems, but only seems, to be a unilateral activity, but that is a fallacy.

The letter I write to A is vastly different from my letter to B, and both from my letter to C, which I cannot even begin. The writing comes from the same pen, but it is held by two hands, the writer's and the reader's.

24th Apr 2013, 12:17
The letter I write to A is vastly different from my letter to B, and both from my letter to C, which I cannot even begin. The writing comes from the same pen, but it is held by two hands, the writer's and the reader's.

A fascinating point Davvar. Obviously the vocabulary used will differ depending on the recipient and perhaps that affects the style of writing. I know that in my legal days I was always very conscious of who I was talking to and to use a vocabulary that was appropriate (without descending to the gutter for some of my clients). Do we do the same in writing? Something to ponder.

24th Apr 2013, 13:23
I am still the happy owner of a matching Parker 51 and automatic pencil set, a gift from over half a century ago, and both still working perfectly.

A bit of culture shock for me, however, were a few trips to emporia such as Staples and the like in search of ink. The very young, glassy eyed attendents had absolutely no knowledge whatsoever of that which I sought, and it transpired, {as with more and more items it seems}, it is only to be obtained via the use of the world wide web.

24th Apr 2013, 13:56
About a month ago I decided that I would get myself a fountain pen. On one of my rare visits to Kirkwall I went into the local office supplies shop and enquired. They had several fountain pens one of which was a Shaeffer - a snip at £45! But I had made the decision so I bought it and a spare bottle of Quink; now I think I'd like a slanting nib so that I can write "proper" italics but I may have to save up for a while.

24th Apr 2013, 14:21
as with more and more items it seems

As several report above.

Frau Davaar is an assistant professor at a local educational, or in her assessment, "degree-granting" mill. She is reconciled now to standards below those at Tuebingen in her day, but even she is not beyond new astonishment, as per the discovery that undergraduates cannot use cursive script, have no idea how to do it, are wide-eyed at her arcane skill. Witchcraft!

"How do you do that?"

It is not taught in schools.

24th Apr 2013, 15:00
My handwriting was always terrible and I rapidly lost the art of script writing long before the advent of computers. So I don't miss it all. Lately though I had to hand write an address on an envelope. I messed it up so badly I had to get another envelope. I am seriously out of practice.

When I started working as a Technical Clerk -Junior grade in the early eighties. The state of the art was the IBM golfball typewriter. My God it was noisy not helped by the fact that the typists were most efficient and sat directly behind me. The machine gun comparison is apt but I felt they were noisier than firing a Bren gun!

I couldn't type so when tasked with producing draft work documents based on the RB211 overhaul manual. I did it all longhand later to be typed up. After that I spent weeks producing similar documents for a Pratt and Whitney engine. They ended up in the bin when I found out that they weren't going to be used.

Then I produced the first draft of the company exposition, all longhand. Which was typed up by my machine gun girl typist.

I don't miss those days at all. Ironically the advent of PCs led me being sent to learn how to type so I could type up the handwritten documents of other people. Not exactly career progression.:{

Something that puzzles me is why speed typing is not part of the school curriculum or is it? Learning to type has served me well enabling me to post extremely long and rambling posts for the pleasure of my many fans.:hmm::O

tony draper
24th Apr 2013, 15:26
Never mind,wont be long the way things are going before we are back to chiseling runes on cave walls with bits of flint.

24th Apr 2013, 15:30
Never learn to type.

Never Learn to Type: A Woman at the United Nations: Margaret Joan Anstee: 9780470854310: Amazon.com: Books

Woman graduate joins the UN.
"Type this please".
"I can't type".
"Oh well, you'd better head the unit then."

24th Apr 2013, 15:31
What nostalgia!

Reading this thread has convinced me I must search out at least one of my fountain pens, buy some (liquid) ink and immediately improve the standard of my handwriting by a factor of ten!
I used my trusty Sheaffer for my entire university course to take notes as the use of a 'biro' meant that my handwriting degenerated to such an extent that not even I could read it. Not good at revision time!
Years later I was given a set of laque du chine ST Dupont pens whilst working in the Gulf but they are a bit expensive to carry and use daily.

Whilst on this nostalgia kick, and with only a small change in direction, anyone remember slide rules? Completed my degree (almost 40 years ago) without the use of a calculator (they had only just been invented and were very expensive and equally basic) but must have been the last year of engineers to do so.

24th Apr 2013, 16:08
I had to use a plastick stick with a nib. Using ink from the well. You bet I was armed with plenty of absorbent tissue to suck up the blobs.
We also had an hour of calligraphy class every day.

Anyone remembers abacus? Yes, I did have one. Good old days!

Loose rivets
24th Apr 2013, 17:01
Becoming aware of my existence in the war, I soon learned one did not waste things. The bottle of green Quink was one item I refused to waste, and was still refusing to waste - the very same bottle - in 1963. Some of my first logbook entries are green. And a very nice green it is too.

I bet there's more than a few of us routing around for our old pens now. I'll have to wait until I'm back in Essex.

as per the discovery that undergraduates cannot use cursive script, have no idea how to do it, are wide-eyed at her arcane skill. Witchcraft!

Isn't that astonishing??!! My number-one grandson looks down at my six-footness and says, in a voice an octave deeper than mine, that cursive writing has no point. Is not taught. Wastes time. In fact, he'll put as much energy in countering my argument, (that he'll look pretty darn silly in the real world) as it would take to do lots of those lovely strings of ffffffs and qqqqqs that I can still master with a wet broad-nib pen.

I must find some ink.:O

24th Apr 2013, 17:05
I must find some ink.
Make your own:-

24th Apr 2013, 19:13
Think yourself lucky you are not Chinese. The so-called simplified Chinese has about 1,750 characters. Primary school children are REQUIRED to learn these before secondary school. It is done by rote. The teacher holds up a flashcard with a character on and all the children chorus its meaning.
With this knowledge they can read any publication printed in China as they are constrained to the same characters.

The last estimate for traditional Chinese was about 23,000.

They consider English as fairly easy with only 52 (A-a) plus a few (ph) and (gh)s but it is the variety of spelling of the same group of syllables that gets them (ruff-rough) etc. and the pronounciation of the same spelling. (row;argument-row;a boat)

24th Apr 2013, 19:36
They don't really teach children how to write in script anymore.

Some of them really do! Not 'copperplate', admittedly, but fluent flowing joined cursive stuff- oh yes. It's value in aiding good speeling cannot be overstated in my view.


tony draper
24th Apr 2013, 19:47
Of course we were greatly encouraged at school in the gaining of our writing skills by being soundly thrashed if we lagged.
Never did us any harm.:E

24th Apr 2013, 20:02
In my undergrad days, one of my projects required me to compute the correlation coefficient (r) of about four hundred sets of scores.

We used an electric comptometer which clanked away for the better part of half an hour before producing the answer (somewhere between +1 and -1). Little calculators being given away at gas stations a dozen or so years ago did the same thing in less than a second.

Dad taught me the use of a slide rule which I found very helpful in a cockpit in converting time travelled to time to go, as it was very visual.

And being close to Chinatown in San Francisco in the military, I got and taught myself how to add and subtract with an abbacus (basic one with two on top and five below...the one and four is a bit too advanced for me, still).

24th Apr 2013, 20:03
They have stopped teached cursive here in Florida. I have students working for me who cannot read cursive. Like most of you, I was taught to write in school. We were taught italic script and although my penmanship has slipped somewhat, it isn't a bad hand. During a workshop about the preservation of manuscripts we were shown a film about a small business that makes paper. After watching it, I had the urge to rush out and buy some good quality handmade paper and a proper pen and ink. I had a wonderful afternoon writing letters "the old fashioned way." It went well until one of our cats jumped up and knocked over the ink bottle. Things went rapidly downhill after that. But, by gum, it were worth it!

24th Apr 2013, 20:24
Ah, cursive. We should all write letters to young people in cursive. At least force them to learn how to read it.....

I learned cursive writing in what I though was the normal American style. Then, age 12, I found myself in school in Richmond, Virginia. They forced me to learn the "Locker" method of writing. Pronounced "Lock-Uh" in Richmond. It differed mainly in lower-case "r" and some capitals.

24th Apr 2013, 21:04
I'm left-handed and my handwriting was never up to much, deteriorating significantly when ballpoint pens came out. I did however manage to achieve an 'Award of Merit' in a competition organised by the Children's Newspaper (remember that?..me neither!) in 1951 at the tender age of 8 to the amazement of me, my parents and my teacher (who by that time had been told to stop forcing me to write right-handed). I always achieved the best (or least worst) results with a fountain pen, especially my Parker 51 (a 21st birthday present).

Even now, I find it increasingly frustrating that I cannot write more than a few words without the script disintegrating into the almost illegible.

Slide rules? I've still got the one 10 inch Faber Castell one I used at school and the additional 6 (5?) inch version I bought as shop-soiled in Bristol for ten bob for use in the University aero labs. I have also acquired a circular version which my sister found hidden in the bedroom wardrobe of a house she bought (the mind boggles) and an Otis King cylindrical slide rule I found in an auction a few years ago. The latter has its instruction book but the former doesn't and I've never had the time to work out its full potential - I got as far as multiplying 2 by 3 and getting somewhere between 5.94 and 6.05; the logarithmic scales remain a mystery.

It's on my to do list but a fair way down.

24th Apr 2013, 21:40
My handwriting was never good but readable until the ballpoint pen came out.It improved again when the ink rollaball was introduced but as the computer took over it went back to poor whenever i wrote anything. I hardly ever write anything now and, after reading this thread, noticed that this evening when i was writing out a shopping list i was printing the words to make i sure that i could read them. Feel a bit sad about it now and think i will teach myself to write again.:hmm::hmm:

24th Apr 2013, 22:04
Being a molly duker (a southpaw in US parlance) it was a relief
when I progressed from bloody fountain pens at school to ball
points. Suddenly my writing grades went from C- to A+ and my
left hand didn't need to be scrubbed with soap and Steelo pads
when I came home from school.

Worrals in the wilds
24th Apr 2013, 22:09
Ah, cursive. We should all write letters to young people in cursive. At least force them to learn how to read it.....On vellum? It's still available. You could chisel some stone tablets, too...;)
Never learn to type.My aunt always said that. However when PCs became popular in the 1990s she begrudgingly taught herself. I think it became less relevant when people started typing their own documents, rather than sending them to the (female) typing pool or the only woman in the office because she'd presumably know how to type.

I was taught to type at school but I don't know if it's common for boys.

24th Apr 2013, 22:27
Nope it wasn't common for boys Worrals. One automatically
fell into the poofter category (or pansy should one had been
reasonably liked) if one was even rumored to know how to
type - but we was 60s /70s kids and rough as shit.

Worrals in the wilds
24th Apr 2013, 22:34
I figured that ;), but I don't know if typing for both genders became part of the curriculum post 1990s computer age. I'll have to ask a teacher friend. :8

24th Apr 2013, 22:34
The so-called simplified Chinese has about 1,750 characters.
Does each character represent a phrase, or perhaps just a word?

Does each character have a unique meaning (as much as English words have unique meanings ;-) ?

24th Apr 2013, 23:32
if one was even rumored to know how to
type -

...and among the younger set it was social death to carry or even possess one of those leather briefcase devices for carrying sheet music. They had a handle and a kind of fold-over metal rod to close the lid.

To be seen actually taking piano lessons was beyond the pale. I was bullied into it so far as that damned "Mazurka" went, the one I expect everyone knows, by someone. My main problem was those little short notes above and below the main five lines, them and that machine beeping on the piano, tick-tock. The teacher confessed that I had no talent. I could have told him long before, without having the LRAM and ARCO to give the insight.

He truly meant it, because looking back I am sure he really needed the money.

25th Apr 2013, 00:42
Whilst on this nostalgia kick, and with only a small change in direction, anyone remember slide rules?
Or the circular version thereof, the Jeppesen CR-2.

25th Apr 2013, 01:16
That used to be called the "Dalton computer", named for the Lt Dalton, USN, who invented it.

So let me understand this: Are y'all telling me that pilots do not now use the Dalton computer, as I continue to know and love it, and in fact have two on my desk at the moment, as a matter of course?

Where does all this is lead? Next thing someone will announce that he doesn't use the YG beacon any more. Or the SBA. But No! Say it ain't so, Joe; say it ain't so!

25th Apr 2013, 01:19
Cursive script, bah, forced to learn it at school I was, or a version known as cord cursive. My class was the experiment for the rest of the school. Once clear of classes that were forced to use it I staged a silent rebellion and started to revert back to what I originally used. As a consequence my hand writing can be formed from any variety of forms, there is absolutely no consistency in how I form the letters. It does make for an interesting read.

Further to fountain pens I also rather like using drafting pens. You know, the ones that come in a variety of pen thicknesses that were used in analogue days, pre-CAD. Its the same thing about putting ink on paper that was meant to have ink and leaving something of note behind, something for someone to look at and understand clearly what is meant.

Now slide rules were fun back in those pre-digital days. I still have a collection of both circular and long-form stored away somewhere and a variety of Jeppesen side rules, one of which is in my flight bag. Actually, writing this has reminded me that among the drafting pens and slide rules I still have a selection of circular rulers, you know, the kind with variable radii as well as a flexible ruler which was a extruded length of rubber that could be bent into any type of curve, very useful for connecting up non-linear graphs.

galaxy flyer
25th Apr 2013, 01:22

I have several, too plus a Pickett slide rule from the days prior to Messrs Hewlett and Packard's invention of calculating things. Now, scan the FMS.


Loose rivets
25th Apr 2013, 05:12
This was in the Bucket, so again, here it is: Elven quid I think it was. The Dalton was spitting out fragments of flack at inopportune moments, so a new plastic device was sort. Not that Bakelite was not a form of plastic, but at least, the new one could be run over with a motorcar and still used, or so one of my contemporaries assures me. Sadly, the new one had no place for a chinagraph pencil to be stowed.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v703/walnaze/PpruNe/Aristo617.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/walnaze/media/PpruNe/Aristo617.jpg.html)

I was lucky, for despite graduating from a postwar school that didn't allow the teaching of decimals, I went, of my own accord, to Colchester Tec, just one day a week mind you, and there I learned about slide rules. I was also lucky because I could focus with ease down to 3", and get four figure answers out of a ten-bob device. My tutor scoffed . . . until he checked my answers with log tables.

Thinking about it, it's astonishing the marks were that accurate, but sure enough, using half a line thickness produced fine results.

Blooooody Nora! I've just pulled it out of my $15 charity shop desk, and even with me computer glasses on, the said lines only come into focus at arm's length.:ooh:

25th Apr 2013, 11:18
My navbag still contains my Jepp CR2 but I noticed Spock
preferred using the old reliable E6-B in the 23rd century -


25th Apr 2013, 14:06
Of course, this is what you get, when Doctors are advised to write their own protest strike signs ... :)


25th Apr 2013, 21:09
Still got my Aristo Aviat circular slide-rule purchased in Germany in 1965! Beat the service issue one as it had a rotating arm with a sliding marker on it, did away with china graph pencil marks etc. and much quicker. Lot of good guff on the back too, hours of endless fun at Avigation in Ealing doing practice plots!

25th Apr 2013, 22:31
Still got my Aristo Aviat circular slide-rule .......

Ditto, and a Dalton roller-blind type one, and I have a 2" key-ring style circular slide rule glued into my wallet - to prove to the thieving bar-stewards in the Supermarket that buying two 500 gm packets is cheaper than the "Supersaver" 1Kg packet on their eye-catching shelf. A young check-out cashier once asked me what it was - she didn't believe me even after I'd showed her how to use it, needed an electronic calculator to convince herself.

Actually, the new NZ rule to show unit price has removed the need - 'cept I need to buy a pair of stronger glasses to read the minisucle print that they use for this required information - I might try taking a brass telescope along one day, just to see if that helps me read the ticket, and to prove a point should I be asked. Eccentricity Rules - OK?

26th Apr 2013, 21:48
I enquired within upon everything using the modern on-line equivalent and lo and behold, there it is, safely recorded for posterity by The Gutenberg Project.


Milo Minderbinder
26th Apr 2013, 22:08
still got my Thornton 12" rule in its original case
all my smaller 6" ones have gone, didn't stand up to the use.
Spent half a day showing my son how to use it, when he went back to school he told his maths teacher who said "I've never seen a slide rule..."

26th Apr 2013, 22:48
he told his maths teacher who said "I've never seen a slide rule..."

That's awful, Milo! I remember when the slide-rule was in the van of progress, new knowledge, understood in its majesty by bright lads who were taking technical subjects and could swank around with neat instruments cases. Latin was good, sure; but could Livy really compete?

26th Apr 2013, 23:16
One of the few pleasures left to us old farts is using a slipstick faster than those kids can use a calculator...and coming up with the correct answer.

Loose rivets
27th Apr 2013, 04:24
I'd always supposed that if it were big enough, 8 digit answers could be obtained.


Pretty girls to assist were a requirement it seems.

https://www.google.com/search?q=giant+slide+rule&hl=en&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=slJ7UdbIM8eRiQKyi4C4CQ&ved=0CC4QsAQ&biw=1440&bih=766#imgrc=EJynHXgWxQ0LmM%3A%3BpHv7rxcDPVV0gM%3Bhttp%253A %252F%252Fwww1.wne.edu%252Fimages%252FCoeds%2526Sliderule66-copy-2.gif%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww1.wne.edu%252Fnews%252Findex.c fm%253Fselection%253Ddoc.2507%2526DCIid%253D13364%3B360%3B27 9

https://www.google.com/search?q=giant+slide+rule&hl=en&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=slJ7UdbIM8eRiQKyi4C4CQ&ved=0CC4QsAQ&biw=1440&bih=766#imgrc=3Mq31qMl69Mi6M%3A%3Bu7uw9LCjoWMbjM%3Bhttp%253A %252F%252Fsliderulemuseum.com%252FEphemera%252FLockheedAircr aft_FlightDeckOfConstellationFlightEngineerWithSlideRule.jpg %3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fsliderulemuseum.com%252FAerospace.htm% 3B1250%3B1280

A member of the society against edit thingies. :suspect:


27th Apr 2013, 05:20
Slide Rules - once had a Flt. engineer who carried a Chinese Abacus, he could use it too, and got the right fuel burn, trouble was the clicking of the beads kept us awake, had to insist that he use a new-fangled slide rule.

Mac the Knife
27th Apr 2013, 07:08
Always had poor handwriting (in spite of Mlle. Claivaz' efforts) so Dad gave me a little Olympia Traveller DeLuxe portable that I still have and occasionally use.

How many hundreds of thousands of words have flowed through that trusty little machine! Stories, love-letters (not a few), medical school notes, surgical notes, letters, letters and more letters. The symbols have worn off on some of the keys and the E is deeply pitted as well.

Some of you here will remember onion-skin paper - used to save weight whern sending airmail. Loved that crinkly, whispy feeling.

As a child, going to sleep at night hearing the steady clack-clack of my Dad's ancient Remington.

Ho hum...



27th Apr 2013, 09:39

I will refer you to Wiki. It is too difficult to explain. I will add that numbers, where their syllable fits a word, are used in the same way as texting.
Chinese characters - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_characters)

27th Apr 2013, 09:52
Mac the knife

Always had poor handwriting

I thought that was compulsory for a medic.

Worrals in the wilds
27th Apr 2013, 09:58
Some of you here will remember onion-skin paper - used to save weight whern sending airmail. Loved that crinkly, whispy feeling.
I'd forgotten airmail paper! It used to tear if you pressed too hard and Mum would get cross, because it was expensive. You had to buy special Airmail envelopes too, and put the letter in a different box at the post office.

There was a real sense of occasion about sending overseas mail.

27th Apr 2013, 18:12

Of late one has been reading Bomber Command memoirs of the late unpleasantness, and learns again of the evasive tactic "weaving" almost guaranteed to induce airsickness in the tail-gunner, but often effective against enemy fighters. It could even bring the evil airsickness during practice runs with the homely Hurricane or Spitfire.

During the War it became quite a common expression to convey the message: Git your *rs* in gear.

At one time we lived in the country and the Davaar Mum was quite ill. We had a full-time nurse in the house, Sister D*******. She was trained in the best traditions of Florence Nightingale and understood well eactly who was in charge of all things at all times when she was within, say, one mile: SHE was.

So it befell that Davaar Pere, young Davaar, and the Davaar sisters would receive the instruction to DO THIS! or DO THAT! NOW!

The instruction was always followed by "Get Weaving!".

And we did.

Have not heard that in nearly seventy years!

27th Apr 2013, 18:20
(hours of endless fun at Avigation in Ealing doing practice plots!)

In the days of Nabarro who corrected the papers and smoked rather a lot?
Then perhaps you might remember the name of that kind, self effacing and excellent tutor who worked there who loved opera and the theatre?

27th Apr 2013, 18:40

I like to watch Youtube interviews with WW2 aircrew of all descriptions.

An old British warhorse mentioned that savvy pilots always unbuttoned their collars and loosened their ties after take-off. They were pretty sure that, should one take a dip in the Channel, the collar, tie, Mae West etc could swell up in the water enough to throttle the wearer.

Milo Minderbinder
27th Apr 2013, 19:45

I hate to disillusion you, but I strongly suspect the "get weaving" instruction originates with the labours of the workers (often young children) in the Lancashire cotton mills, not from any hand-me-down military parlance.

tony draper
27th Apr 2013, 20:15
I seem to remember reading that some Mae West type gear was so badly designed if the wearer became unconscious it would cause him to float face down in the water so surviving whatever it was that put him in the drink his life vest kit would kill him.

27th Apr 2013, 21:15
Milo, you may well be right. These etymologies and origins are so often misleading that I try -- much against my nature, mind you -- not to be dogmatic. Not too dogmatic, anyway.

Still, the "Get Weaving" hit me much later in time and far in place from "'t mill", and it seems to have had but a short life-span in the mid-1940s.

On the Mae West, Dr d., I never had to use one in anger, but when I sneaked into Naval circles I did rather conceal the fact of my non-swimmingness, not much, anyway, which caused me misery in "wet dinghy drill", jumping off the topmost board.

I do remember, though, being dropped with others from an "MFV" a fair way off the South English coast, far enough out to be quite out of my depth, equipped with but the sexy Mae West, life jacket, inflatable (so I hoped), there to await retrieval by the S.51 helicopter. It did inflate on demand, and I waited.

I paddled around, taking in the scenery, alone in the Ocean wastes, thinking that surely they must have counted the number of treasures, especially me, to be re-gathered from Davy Jones's locker. They must? Are there sharks in the Channel? Barracuda, perhaps?

All was well. I was conscious, though. Fully.

After a while the chopper chopped along and the sling was dropped. Up I was hoisted. As I clambered aboard, though, I noticed one disconcerting element: the guillotine past which the steel cable was neatly reaved, or maybe roven?, just in case they had the jettison me plus the 56 lb. lead weight attached to the sling.

The Mae West did not fail, though, in its appointed task of head-support, nor did the engine in the S.51.

27th Apr 2013, 22:12
.............a little Olympia Traveller DeLuxe portable

I bought one of those that typed in joined up writing, proper posh I felt, no longer have it. ( it looked odd when one wanted to write something in Capitals tho' !)

Loose rivets
28th Apr 2013, 00:26
Vernon Canton. The name just came to me.

28th Apr 2013, 02:17
In the days of Nabarro who corrected the papers and smoked rather a lot?

Then perhaps you might remember the name of that kind, self effacing and
excellent tutor who worked there who loved opera and the theatre?

Sorry, the grey cells just can't go back that far:sad: Didn't have Nabarro, we had a gentleman named Tom, he smoked too, always put a red biro dot on his cigs when he lit up.

28th Apr 2013, 10:04
"Naggy" Fletcher taught me joined up writing. It was a painful experience.

Though one is fluent on the computer keyboard, I cannot type fast enough for taking notes. This, I use my trusty rollerball when taking the minutes or picking the salient points out of some new tortuous European Commission Regulation or whatever.

28th Apr 2013, 11:47
When first introduced, the ball-point pen was horrendously expensive, around 30/-, which was a lot of money in those days.

(I wasn't around then, Mum told me that)

28th Apr 2013, 19:09
When first introduced, the ball-point pen was horrendously expensive

It was called a "Biro", 1947 or 1948. Banks would not accept cheques signed by Biro.

tony draper
28th Apr 2013, 19:40
I read somewhere that when the ballpoint first appeared the Brits made about 500 very posh ones and sold them at a fiver apiece,the Americans made about ten million of the buggas from tat and sold them at ten cents apiece.
A lesson to be learned there.

28th Apr 2013, 22:09
As I recall the first Biros were advertised in Britain at 55 shillings (£2.75 to you young whippersnappers) when whisky was £1.75 a bottle = half a working man's weekly wage

28th Apr 2013, 22:28
The Biro pen which now costs just a few pence originally retailed for the equivalent of £27.
From:- Biro pen, invented by Laszlo Biro, turns 70 - Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2134528/Biro-pen-invented-by-Laszlo-Biro-turns-70.html)

29th Apr 2013, 05:44
I hate to disillusion you, but I strongly suspect the "get weaving" instruction originates with the labours of the workers (often young children) in the Lancashire cotton mills, not from any hand-me-down military parlance.

Umm! Milo ...... Umm! Golly! Umm, again: How to approach this?

Here we are at 0130 29 April, 2013, sleep far distant. Stille Nacht. and young Davaar is deep in page 6 of the RAF Tee Emm for April, 1943. Such is the scene.

But what is this? What prods us into full wakefulness? What springs from the page to greet the eye?

Nowt but the simple, direct, order:


29th Apr 2013, 06:01
It's getting worse. One has just moved to the Telly at 0200. Shirley Temple has just received a letter from Daddy. We all bate the breath.

The little treasure reads. Aloud. Well, you knew she would, didn't you?

Terrible news about the Boers. Mafeking! Gotta go. Don't want to miss a word.

29th Apr 2013, 10:00
Sorry, chaps. You should have done your research properly. From the authoritative source ...

Definition of weave in Oxford Dictionaries (British & World English) (http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/weave--2?q=get+weaving)


late 16th century: probably from Old Norse veifa 'to wave, brandish' ... "

See also, "Weave" at the bottom of this link ...

Online Etymology Dictionary (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=get+weaving&searchmode=none)

"from PIE (Proto-Indo-European) *webh- "to weave;" also "to move quickly" ... "

"Extended sense of "combine into a whole" is from late 14c.; meaning "go by twisting and turning" is first found 1590s. Sense in boxing is from 1818."

29th Apr 2013, 10:52
Definition of weave in Oxford Dictionaries (British & World English

Different usage, Old Man, from a different time and place. For a ballad of the Davaar era of weaver try:

Oh I am a bachelor,
I live with my son,
And we work at the weaver's trade;
And the only only thing that I ever did wrong
Was to woo a fair young maid.

I wooed her in the winter time,
And in the summer too ....
And the only only thing that I ever did wrong.
Was to keep her from the foggy foggy dew

We Davaars are weel acquent with the weaving, regardless of effete dictionaries and the bloated capitalist oppressors of the poor, represented above by the bourgeois running-dog Milo.

On the distaff side we were weavers in Ayrshire when it was still a very profitable cottage industry, before the mechanisation discussed above. My late Granny still had a beautiful fine family hand-woven throw when I was very young, woven by one of her remote early 19th century ancestors.

I suppose one of the cousins has it now.

tony draper
29th Apr 2013, 11:01
Dammed Machines
Did they go out and buy sledgehammers and join General Ludd Mr Davaar?

29th Apr 2013, 11:28
Davaar, you should have scrolled down in the first link I put up; to the word "phrases" ...

"get weaving

British informal: set briskly to work; begin action."

29th Apr 2013, 14:45
Onetrack, I did not scroll all the links. That's true. There: I confess.

I did scroll your first one, though, and what should it yield but:

weave: •take evasive action in an aircraft, typically by moving it from side to side."

Flexible though I yearn, at least a little bit, to be, you are driving me to the dogmatic, and I do not usually need much encouragement.

Just to add variety to Life, I did mention this topic to one of my veteran Lancaster mates, who comes back that he never heard tell of it.

He used the verb "to corkscrew". Pilots loved it, he says, but the rest of the crew loathed it.

I in turn must admit to you that the good Sister ******** never once in my hearing gave the command" "Get corkscrewing, Jimmie". I am beginning to wish I had never mentioned this. In common with others, could be.

2nd May 2013, 07:21
Sixty years ago, undergraduates at the ancient University of XX in Scotland used to help fund their studies by finding a job in the long summer vacation.

One engineering student found such a job driving an ambulance.

In came an urgent call on behalf of a lady in advanced pregnancy, in fact about to deliver ..... imminently.

Off went engineering student plus his ambulance, collected said lady, set off for the hospital.

En route undergraduate kept careful watch on his passenger, and realised that Time Waits For No Man/Woman.

Something HAD TO BE DONE.

Into the side he drew, ran round to the back of the ambulance and into the passenger compartment went he. Applying strict engineering principles, he delivered the child.

Back went he to the driver's seat and went with Madonna and Child to the Maternity Unit.

Joy was universal.

The tale found its way up to Matron.

She like all others was impressed and sent off a letter of congratulation to the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine.

He too was gratified that one of his students had done so well.

He ordered Search in the Records, but Alas! The records revealed no student who bore the name reported!

Even wider Search ensued, and the Guilty Man was exposed; an ENGINEER!

That revelation led to one of the first great bureaucratic triumphs of modern society.

Henceforth, went the order, none but undergraduates in the Faculty of Medicine might get a summer job driving an ambulance.

Can't be too careful, I suppose.