On The Sofa (9)

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    Mudlark @mudlark


    My skills lie elsewhere 🙂 Or is it “lay.” That particular word and its usage has always troubled me.

    Ah, the joys and confusions of our mongrel language!

    If we are using the verb in the present tense, the first is intransitive, the second transitive.

    to lie, verb, intransitive; present lie, past lay, past participle lain: to assume or recline in a horizontal position; secondary meaning, by extension – as in your example: to be located

    lay, verb, transitive; present lay, past/past participle laid: to place or put (something) down on a surface – e.g. to lay paving stones; to lay an egg.  Can be used quasi-metaphorically, as in ‘lay a proposal before the committee’.

    And that’s before we get to the words with identical spelling and pronunciation but different meanings – lie: a deliberate falsehood or to tell such; and lay: a narrative poem or ballad (from Old French); or lay: non-clerical (from Greek).

    All grist to the mill that is the mind of the crossword addict. Talking of which, what is needed chiefly is a certain capacity for lateral thinking, a knowledge of the different kinds of clues  and techniques of misdirection used by the setters, plus practice  – of which I have had a good deal, since I have been doing the things on and off since I was a university student. A wide vocabulary helps, including British, US and Aussie slang,  and for the Guardian and Times crosswords, at least, a fair smattering of general knowledge across the board, including current affairs, history, geography, the sciences, art, drama, music, etc. etc.

    You really shouldn’t have wakened my sleeping grammar pedant 👿


    janetteB @janetteb

    @mudlark My second son is currently doing a kind of English basics course on line which is is none to happy about but on reading through several of the exercises I realised how little I actually know about grammar. I have always got by on instinct. Ironically I did an English honours degree from the same Uni and learnt nothing at all about Grammar. It was assumed knowledge. The benefit of helping sons with homework is that I get to learn things too. (probably more than they learn.) The downside is it is taking up way too much of my time.

    ..and hence..I have fallen behind with the posts on this thread. I keep leaving it open in tabs as a promise for when I have the time but other tasks keep intervening. Grrr. There have been some very interesting discussions which I am sorry for missing out on.



    Mudlark @mudlark


    Since I seem still to be in grammar pedant mode 👿

    It’s an interesting point: why aren’t people now generally taught basic grammar and syntax as a matter of course?  It needn’t be anything more than the basics. Most people who read a lot a will probably pick it up by a kind of osmosis even if, like you, they don’t know the technical terms, but I can’t see that it would hurt to have at least some formal instruction, especially for those who don’t read much.

    Way back in the Palaeolithic era were taught the basics around age 10 or 11, if not before, and although it certainly wasn’t very exciting, it wasn’t particularly arduous, either. And our essays in creative writing were assessed for grammar and syntax as well as imaginative content. At my school, when it came to GCE ‘O’ level exams (usually at aged 15/16), we all took papers in English Language, and many of us also took Use of English, but we weren’t put in for English Literature as a separate subject, because our teachers thought that the latter wasn’t very helpful in developing critical thinking – too much learning by rote at that stage, and not enough allowance for understanding or appreciation in depth.  Instead, they encouraged us simply to read, whether books they recommended or books of our choice. Personally, I think they had it the right way round, though others may disagree.

    Oddly enough, another thing that I found helpful was studying Latin, which most secondary schools in Britain don’t teach at all now, and in (relatively) modern Britain were only ever taught to those who might want to go on to study the humanities at university. It wasn’t so much having to plough our way through Caesar’s Gallic Wars, which only served to convince us that Julius Caesar was a conceited bore, or even Cicero’s speeches or Virgil, which I quite enjoyed: it was what we learned about the structure of language in the process of struggling to translate English prose into Latin. I’m not advocating the widespread teaching of this ‘dead’ language, by any means, but on the other hand, a passing knowledge some Latin vocabulary, particularly in relation to the English words which are derived from Latin, might prevent such common errors as the spelling of desperate (from Latin spes:  hope), as desparate, which suggests a confusion with disparate, or separate (from Latin par: equal to, like).

    I know I shouldn’t fret about such things, and no doubt it is a warning sign of how old and crabby I am becoming, but spelling errors of this kind, grammatical errors such as the misuse of the apostrophe*, and mangled syntax which has me reading a passage several times before I can get a sense of what the writer is trying to convey, are like nails on a chalkboard to my sensibilities.

    Rant over. I will now withdraw in administer a sedative to my inner pedant.

    * Would it really take too much of a teacher’s time to explain that in English the apostrophe represents the omission of a letter or syllable, and to explain exactly how and when this applies and when it does not?



    ichabod @ichabod

    thane16  I think the small applause for Moffat -if that’s all it is – will eventually become a deafening roar

    I agree.  Hysterical hate-rants aren’t going to have much staying power, IMO.  Moffat is too good a writer to be drowned by all that venomous envy and resentment.

    By placing an actor of great note, who, I believe, understood the Doctor as well as Tom Baker all those years ago, into such a role was IN ITSELF an act of feminism; a way of ensuring that older women matter; that we don’t all want pretty lads because what woman in her 30s 40s, 50s and onwards wouldn’t applaud Capaldi as handsome?

    Not just an act of feminism: an act of validation about aging, both in men and in women.  It wasn’t just that Capaldi looked his age; the scripts occasionally *reminded* us, deliberately, that this was not a young man’s body (near the end of “Deep Breath”, the Doctor effortfully hanging onto the bottom of the elevator Half-Face is ascending in).  The choice of Capaldi as a sexy asexual — an attractive male who plunges into a relationship with a pretty young human female that’s passionate in every way except sexual congress — is also a feminist statement in that it’s about both men and women being capable of deep and compelling cross-gender relationships that aren’t just tricksy pathways to getting them into bed together — that we are more than sets of genital organs calling all our shots, and genes “demanding” controlling us by demanding to be expressed into the future through reproduction.

    And older women responded.  We’re used to being ignored, deployed as stereotypes, or made into jokes, in our culture’s mass entertainment.  Moffat had the guts to use DW to address us, not just the girls he’d won over with Tennant, in a show supposedly for kids, their parents, and the same kids grown up but trying to get back to kidness again.  Holy cow — no wonder he got pilloried for it!

    . . . Many people like to say Moffat can’t write for women. I find this a bleak and frankly stupid idea. I see the females in ALL of Moffat’s stories during Tennant’s time being ‘mouthy’ and quick thinking.

    Well, see, that’s supposedly the gist of the argument: that all of them are like that, to some degree.  Young women who are trying to be feminists are given the heroines they complain are missing, and complain even more, that they’re all the same, so Moffat can’t write female characters spanning the varied spectrum of real women.  Only — would the Doctor, being the Doctor and not a gender ideologue, accept a slow-thinking, dull, meek companion, or one that only follows fashion, or a self-absorbed neurotic, or — etc.?  Not bloody likely, darlings.

    @pedant  . . . the people who complain about Moffat, using his depiction of women, use exactly the same syntax ad those who style themselves mens rights activists or incels.

    The men, yes.  The young women, however, were doing something else (on tumblr and The Mary Sue at least) — complaining that Moffat’s female characters aren’t “feminist” *enough*.  They were so busy trying to be more-feminist-than-thou that they completely missed the fascinating development of Moffat’s own feminist awareness as shown in his scripts.  There was also, IMO, an element of shocked rejection — of the idea that a middle-aged Scottish man like Moffat could deliver what they were decrying the lack of (strong female characters with intelligence and agency in screen entertainment in general), and continue to keep trying to do it better.  I think they showed a sort of naive essentialism here: he’s a man, he can’t possibly be writing these women right.  I did not see that from those I thought were mature women rather than youngsters.  And I suspect that some of the more outraged young female fans were angry that Moffat was pitching his stories beyond them, to older women who’d grown up as fans.  I think they see themselves as much *better* feminists than us older feminists, and they were insulted.  “Get Tennant back!”

    In a way, Moffat deserved that: he did, after all, set bait for those younger women, in the forms of Tennant and Smith.  They didn’t like not being catered to any more, starting with S8.

    @tempusfugit  I’m glad to find fellow 12th Doctor fans since he’s not well liked in the DW Fandom. I enjoy absolutely everything about him

    I loved 12 too; and welcome.

    Anonymous @


    Thank you!

    I agree with what you say about older women. In my own experience as a woman in her late 30s I got tired about all the complaining about Capaldi’s age when he was cast. I mean, the Doctor is a 2000 year old alien, why the heck can’t he be portrayed by somebody in his 50s? And as a personal taste, I find him more attractive than Tennant or Smith. But I don’t watch Doctor Who only because the main actor is attractive or not, that’s the least important thing to me and it was really pathethic to see all those fans crying that they were done with Doctor Who when Tennant left, and then when capaldi was casted, a big backlash because “he was old and ugly” (haha LOL), so these fans only watched because they fancied Tennant, when tennant left they didn’t give a fuck about the show. Why am I calling them “fans”? *sigh*

    I have seen a lot of criticism in the way Moffat portrays women, it never had occurred to me that casting an older actor was a feminist statement. Well said



    The men, yes.  The young women, however, were doing something else (on tumblr and The Mary Sue at least) — complaining that Moffat’s female characters aren’t “feminist” *enough*.

    I refer the honourable lady to the comments I made some time ago

    [It can work the other way. Sometime ago I engaged with someone on the Graun, who asserted that Sorkin did not have any strong women in The West Wing. I very quickly rattled of a list of immensely powerful women in the show, include Ainsley Hayes (ref: above). “Yeah, but she’s a Republican”.
    For some, women are only strong is they fulfil your expectations.]


    There are other sources of critique (of course) but too often they seem to boil down to “Well, that’s not how I would have written [her]” (see the West Wing caveat – same principle in action).

    But also, the thing with Moffat is that he absolutely refuses to spell things out for the (to be charitable) impatient or inattentive.



    @mudlark @janetteb

    It’s an interesting point: why aren’t people now generally taught basic grammar and syntax as a matter of course?

    Care is needed. Many of the grammatical truths were were taught were not, in fact, truths at all, but the consequence of 19th Century Oxbridge nobs applying Latin rules to a High Germanic language.

    Be it the split infinitive, not ending a sentence with a preposition, not beginning a sentence with ‘and’ or ‘but’ or avoiding the double negative, while there may be many sound stylistic reasons for avoiding all of these at times, none of them are anything to do with grammar or syntax.

    There is, for example, absolutely no dialect of English in which the expression “I ain’t got no bleedin’ money!” is in any way a logical statement. It is a wholly rhetorical assertion of emphasis, from the East End of London to Yorkshire. The double negative is the battle lost of grammar pedantry, but anyone who wishes to object to the split infinitive needs to read Fowler’s essay on the topic and have a long, hard word with themselves.

    I have lost count of the number of times I have come across discussion of the proper way to hyphenate some turn of phrase or another, in which all of the participants entirely fail to see the wood for the trees: if you are getting all oozlumy over this, then the entire sentence needs to be redrafted to eliminate the risk of ambiguity. When this is pointed out at least one of the participants with shouts “cop out”. The person doing that has nearly always been taught English the way we were.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @pedant  For some, women are only strong is they fulfil your expectations.]

    Thanks for the reminder!  Yup, nailed it.

    @tempusfugit  so these fans only watched because they fancied Tennant, when tennant left they didn’t give a fuck about the show.

    Clearly; but Moffat let himself in for that, really, by setting Tennant, and then Smith, as bait to attract more fan-girls to the show (and it worked — boy, did it work!).  Once the bait was, ah, devoured, these viewers who had enthusiastically joined in with the established fandom no longer had a reason to stay, because they weren’t getting the fix they’d come for any more. A whole bunch of them turned on Moffat for what was to them a dirty “bait and switch” trick, not, IMO, without some justification.

    I’m an SF fan from my pre-teen years, we ‘uns used to refer, rather disdainfully, to the SF-blind as “mundanes”.  I would chide Moffat a bit, for drawing in mobs of mundane girls to show that he could and to bolster the show, but acting all surprised and put upon by at the furious flouncing-off of the ones who really only came for the bait he’d set out.  I think a lot of that flouncing centered on dissatisfaction with Clara as a disguise for anger that Tennant, in particular, was gone — but that was so childish a reaction that it had to be dressed up as rejection of “badly written” Clara, whom many of the Tennant groupies really couldn’t care less about.

    At any rate, choosing this moment to finally introduce a female Doctor was, IMO, a brilliant move, and will of course generate its own flurries of criticism and defenses of how it’s handled among the viewers.

    Anonymous @

    @ichabod I hope the fan base is finally free of that kind of girls

    MissRori @missrori

    @tempusfugit @ichabod What’s funny is that I couldn’t really get into Tennant — I’d really enjoyed Eccleston’s one season, but Series 2 just came off as too focused on character angst for me, the sort of problem I’d had with the expanded universe novels, specifically the ones from the 1990s — they seemed more interested in analyzing and reanalyzing the characters (often in negative ways) than the fun storytelling that I liked from the classic series.  Too much “lonely god”, “sad angel” stuff; even though I liked Tennant’s take on the character and had no real beef with Rose, I bailed about 2/3rds of the way through the season and only kept up with the show in passing, in that I’d read reviews and stuff, for many years.  I’ve only seen 2 Smith episodes in full.  For shame!

    Capaldi was actually what brought me back to the show even though Series 8 got so much negative press.  Ironically if anything it was exploring the Doctor’s sorrows more than ever but Twelve was such a rich character I was genuinely interested in his struggles and occasional successes, rather than frustrated and bored.  I miss him dearly but we did get 3 seasons and change out of it, plus a lot of expanded universe stuff.  The writers of comics, short stories, etc. slip into Twelve’s voice and personality so easily — that’s how well-defined he was from the start.  Perhaps down the line Capaldi will do Big Finish (he’s busy right now loafing around after all that work!), so we can hope.  Also, there is a 60th anniversary coming in 5 years or so… 😉



    1. Moffat didn’t cast Tennant, RTD did (and had worked with Tennant before – like Chibnall with Whittaker, he went with someone he knew he could trust);

    2. Moffat has stated repeatedly that the original intent was to cast someone older, but they were won over by Smith’s audition as old in a young body.

    Mudlark @mudlark


    Care is needed. Many of the grammatical truths were taught were not, in fact, truths at all, but the consequence of 19th Century Oxbridge nobs applying Latin rules to a High Germanic language.

    What you say is perfectly true, and I have no quarrel with it; but that is not really what I was writing about, and it doesn’t really reflect how I and my peers were taught. If it appeared otherwise, I expressed my thoughts inadequately, and mea culpa.

    Yes, we were taught technical terms for the parts of speech and their function, and we were taught the uses of and the reasons for punctuation, but the emphasis, and the focus of all the exercises that we did, was above all on syntax: how to analyse the logical structure of a sentence to convey meaning unambiguously, with the emphasis on clarity and simplicity, not on arbitrary ‘rules’ of the kind you mention.  But nobody who was taught as we were would ever write ‘could of’ instead of ‘could have’ or ‘could’ve, or fail to spot a dangling participle.

    As for things such as split infinitives and the rest, I’m well aware of what Fowler wrote on the subject. And when it comes to ending sentences with prepositions,  I seem to remember one of our English teachers citing the story, probably apocryphal, of Churchill responding to the tortured grammar in some official document from a Civil Service mandarin, with, ‘This is the kind of thing up with which I will not put’

    When I write,  I am generally guided by my feeling for to the rhythm and balance of the sentences, how they ‘sound’; and whether or not I split an infinitive or avoid ending a sentence with a preposition will be, as you say, for stylistic reasons and no other *.  As for starting sentences with ‘And’ or ‘But’, a cursory glance at any number of my posts here, including this one, will demonstrate that I have no such inhibitions.

    When I wrote that learning Latin giving me a greater understanding of the structure of language, it certainly wasn’t because I considered it a guide to English grammar. It was that the exercise of translating one from the other, and particularly from English into Latin, gave me a greater awareness of  something more fundamental; a philological insight, perhaps.

    I also make a distinction between written language, to which the above applies, and colloquial speech, including dialect usage, which is much more of a free-for-all, and all the better for it  🙂

    * On one occasion I was given the draft of a newspaper article written by my boss to read through and comment on, and offended him mightily when I objected strongly to the opening sentence beginning, ‘ A plan to totally excavate … ‘ – not because of the split infinitive, but because of the grating alliteration.


    Anonymous @

    @missrori gosh how I understand what you are saying. I liked Rose in series 1 but the dynamics between her and the Doctor on series 2 I found it rather off putting: she got jealous of any woman who got near the Doctor (Sarah Jane, a serving girl in the Cyberman two parter, she had a bad reaction to Mickey joining the TARDIS etc) and that attitude got on my nerves. Add to that a lot of fans who were way OTT about Ten and Rose, I have a kind of allergic reaction when I come across comments on YouTube or Tumblr about how much they miss Tennant, that the show went downhill when he left, et. I have seen some say that Capaldi is the worst Doctor and so and so. I enjoyed Smith, he was childish and a lot of fun, but my Doctor will always be Capaldi. I sooooo hope he will do Big Finish one day, but like, I wish it so much😅</p>

    Mudlark @mudlark


     Moffat has stated repeatedly that the original intent was to cast someone older, but they were won over by Smith’s audition as old in a young body.

    And how right they were!

    I hadn’t come across any of Matt’s earlier work, and the initial publicity photos didn’t impress me: he looked so impossibly young. It just shows the folly of jumping to premature conclusions, because ten minutes into The Eleventh Hour I was convinced that he did, indeed, embody the essential Doctor, and his external appearance wasn’t an issue.

    @ichabod  @tempusfugit  @missrori

    I doubt whether RTD or Moffat deliberately intended to lure teenaged girls into watching; they were and are both too attached to the show and too much aware of its character and history.  No doubt they simply wanted actors who could convey the character as they understood it; and while they wanted to reach as wide an audience as possible, they are surely as aware as anyone that no show runner, as they are now known, can please everybody all of the time.

    Speaking for myself alone, I preferred  Troughton to Hartnell, and Tom Baker to Pertwee, and both to the three who followed; though in retrospect I don’t think I gave Sylvester McCoy a fair viewing, because I gave up on the show before it – all too briefly – took on a new lease of life.  In the new era, Capaldi is certainly the greatest so far, in my opinion, but that isn’t to say that I cannot see the merits of the others. Tennant was perhaps the least successful as an incarnation of the Doctor as I imagine him, and towards the end I became a little irritated by his mannerisms, but I continued watching happily enough, in the knowledge that regeneration and change would come.

    Girls who watched the show largely because the leading actor was ‘hot’ never understood what it was really about anyway, so if they fall by the wayside, the only people who mourn their loss will be the people in the BBC whose main concern is Doctor Who as a money spinner.

    As an aside, I’m not entirely happy to be labelled a ‘fan’, either of Doctor Who or of science fiction in general because I don’t like to be pigeon-holed. I am simply someone who has watched the show, and on the whole enjoyed watching it, more or less from its inception, and – like ichi – has been reading science fiction, as well as a wide variety of other fiction,  since my pre-teen years.


    P.S.  @ichabod   I haven’t encountered the label ‘mundanes’ before.  I suppose that it never occurred to me that reading and enjoying science fiction set me apart in any sense. I must have been very obtuse in some ways 😕

    Anonymous @

    @mudlark having watched the Classic series this summer, I also preferred Troughton and T. Baker. I suppose everyone has their preferences about the Doctors, at the end you have someone who you enjoy more than others. I became a fan not so long ago, started watching the new series and I loved the premise of the show. I enjoyed Eccleston,Tennant and Smith (I became a fan during the Smith era), in fact there isn’t a Doctor I could say I actively dislike. It was when I started reading the online forums and comments that I realized the extent of the fandom. Capaldi was the first Doctor I saw casted being a fan and saw all the backlash he got. I have read about a similar backlash with Smith for being too young when he was casted. I consider myself a Sci fi and horror fan, I love anything to do with time travel and that was what attracted me to the show in the first place. You are right, those fans who only watch based on the hotness of the actor won’t be missed it’s just annoying reading their whinging online, and always hurts a little when they trash a Doctor you love

    ichabod @ichabod

    @ mudlark  @pedant  Moffat didn’t cast Tennant, RTD did

    Right, thanks for that correction.  I fell into the common trap of attributing everything about NuWho to Moffat, because as the latest show runner he sticks in the mind as the mover and shaker behind it all.  And it was, of course, all about expanding the viewership to keep the show successful enough to avoid having it sidelined or trashed by the BBC, not *specifically* about appealing to girls.  On the other hand, I think the way young female viewers flocked to the show for Tennant encouraged a certain flirting with romance (without actually committing it) in the scripts, capitalizing on the pull Tennant had on that demographic to keep that segment of the audience coming back for more.  And it was a big change — were any of the BG Doctors youthful “eye candy”?  Tom Baker wasn’t.  Eccleston certainly wasn’t teen-idol material.  To me, the big change was Tennant, followed by Smith, with Capaldi a turn back toward the original Doctor Who template — a mature man, more likely a bit clownish than seriously commanding (the exception being Pertwee).

    they were won over by Smith’s audition as old [man] in a young body.

    I did read that, yes, but conveniently forgot it while maundering on.  The effect, though, was the same: the adorable raggedy-man/boy continuing on from Tennant, and then BAM, a man with lines in his face and thunderous eyebrows, not cuddlesome nor even Heathcliff-y “romantic”.  Dismay: “Aagh, he’s OLD, he’s grumpy — we want our candy back!”  Did the male fans get much into this “too old” stuff?  Seems to me it was mostly a girl-thing.  I think it was only later on, when the more serious undercurrents of the Moffat/Capaldi manifestation emerged, that some fanboys (and fan men from way back) began complaining that the show wasn’t fun any more.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @mudlark  I haven’t encountered the label ‘mundanes’ before.  I suppose that it never occurred to me that reading and enjoying science fiction set me apart in any sense. I must have been very obtuse in some ways

    Naw, yer fine.  It was new to me, too, when I finally gave up my incredibly snobbish disdain for “those Trekkies”, i.e. Star Trek fans, whom I assumed covered all devoted followers of science fiction.  I went to my first-ever SF convention, the World SF convention in Kansas City in 1976 (only because my own first book had been published in ’74, and my editor told me to attend the con for publicity purposes), and lo!

    There they were — all the friends I’d been looking for all my life and then some (plus some jerks, some guys who never bathed, some people who insisted on belly dancing — complete with wildly jingling trinkets — in the corridor outside my hotel room at 3 a.m., etc.).  That’s where I heard “mundanes” for the first time.  It’s fallen somewhat out of fashion lately, since SF and fantasy have more or less taken over the film industry and swamped TV, so who can really be “mundane” in that sense of being oblivious to or disdainful of these genres, as mundanes were, any more?



    But nobody who was taught as we were would ever write ‘could of’ instead of ‘could have’ or ‘could’ve, or fail to spot a dangling participle.

    And they aren’t taught that today either, and to suggest so is (as well as being quite insulting to teachers) to ignore two fundamental changes since our day:

    1. The inclusion of much more non-RP into broadcast media, delivering much more “casual” speech to the ear;

    2. The explosion of social media that means people who might have written “could of” in a diary or note to a peer now do so publicly and a massive numbers.

    It is much less a question of teaching and much more a question of less able or less attentive students having a platform that our less able or less attentive peers could scarcely dream off.

    I suspect in due course that ‘coulda’ (as in Shoulda, Woulda ,Coulda’) will replace them all.

    Fun fact: lawyers are trained not to use commas unless absolutely necessary, since they can change the legal meaning of a sentence. A very large US bank got totally screwed on a rent review because of a rogue comma and the order of 4 words in an 80 page lease.

    syzygy @thane16

    @pedant @mudlark @ichabod @janetteb

    I think it was here that I learned  less commas are better. In fact, yes! @jimthefish mentioned on the Buffy pages that as a journalist he was taught only to use commas when absolutely essential (@mudlark is it “learned” or “learnt”?).

    I over-use commas: that I know for a fact.  🙂  Because, people, facts are important, din’t you know? 😉

    I also learned on this Forum what RP actually was. 

    I understood -due to music studies -that Latin was essential in some jobs involving interpretation of the written word, the musical words and notes.  The occasional teeny bit of Latin certainly helped but I don’t think it’s anywhere on the Year 11 or 12 Language choice guide in QLD except, perhaps. in two private schools, close by.

    I do find the wandering apostrophes a residual problem in my brain. Millions of apostrophes lost when the words “DONT WALK” replaced the red figure of a person standing, not walking, when crossing the street. I always preferred the figures in red or green.  🙂

    Fowler? Him I do not know! Or, know him I do not?

    Actually, if I start writing like the above I just sound like Yoda. Whilst this is sound (LOL), in theory, as Yoda was a great guy, it’s definitely weird.

    I also learned the meaning of:  if you are getting all oozlumy over this…

    Oozlumy is a real word. Not @pedant trying to trip us up….Or should that be: “up with trip I will not put.”


    “Many people like to say Moffat can’t write for women. I find this a bleak and frankly stupid idea. I see the females in ALL of Moffat’s stories during Tennant’s time being ‘mouthy’ and quick thinking…” [puro]

    Well, see, that’s supposedly the gist of the argument: that all of them are like that… [Ichabod]

    Ah, so that is their argument? Perhaps when writing “mouthy” I should have written “the companions had ideas, they were creative, they began to think like the Doctor but most importantly they already did speak like him, think like him 🙂  and as @pedant clearly stated above in that terrific post, they had the “audacity” to speak up and question the Doctor, to “insist they be heard;” to choose the manner of their death; and to fully understand that whilst tomorrow is promised to no-one* they insist on ‘having’ their past – -rather than losing  control of their decisions: Bill’s shock about the ret-con [which was also a comical scene as much as an ironic one] and River’s appearance and death in Silence in the Library where Moffat kicks off the arc involving ‘timey whimey’  and the DEPTH of River’s relationship with the Doctor.

    *those words in Moffat’s script [if it was Moffat in Trap Street] choked me up.

    Cheers, Puro (now, that comma has to be there. Otherwise “Cheers Puro” is me writing “cheers” to me.


    PS: @mudlark is “to totally…” THAT much of a grating alliteration?

    Anonymous @

    @ichabod wow. I have never been to a convention, but then, I’m painfully shy and either don’t have the money or the people to go with. Thanks to the internet I can share my passions with other like minded people around the world 😁



    THAAAAAAAANE! Your mum’s freebasing her meds again!

    MissRori @missrori

    @tempusfugit At this point about the only vacation time I take off from work save for an annual week in Las Vegas is specifically for going to conventions, usually just a few hours away in Chicagoland.  Not an exotic locale for the money but it’s more than worth it to see the Artist Alleys, cosplayers, and so forth.

    The Who-specific conventions are especially nice because they tend to get more older fans and there’s a clearer, more sympathetic and diverse picture of the overall fandom.  I’ve not had to deal with Moffat-haters at Chicago TARDIS, and I see more Twelve cosplayers there every year.  😉  Of course when I went to Baltimore for RegenerationWho this past spring where Capaldi was a guest, there were acres of Twelve cosplayers.  Kids dressed as Twelve are especially cute.  😀

    Anonymous @

    @missrori I live in Spain so I’m a bit far and the journey is expensive for me. Anyway, I enjoy seeing photos online from conventions and panels that some people put on YouTube. It’s great about the 12 cosplayers. By what I have seen, the DW Fandom always complains about different things,. I’m sure in a few years people will look at the Moffat and Capaldi eras with fondness and they will consider it a good era. I don’t know what was the reaction when RTD left but now it seems to some fans that Doctor Who stopped being good when he left, but I’m sure when RTD was the showrunner he has his own deal of hate and crirics(I wasn’t a fan then) by that I mean that when time passes, eras who are critizided now maybe will be considered in the future

    ichabod @ichabod


    Well, see, that’s supposedly the gist of the argument: that all of them are like that… [Ichabod]

    Ah, so that is their argument? Perhaps when writing “mouthy” I should have written “the companions had ideas, they were creative, they began to think like the Doctor but most importantly they already did speak like him, think like him

    A little more complicated, now that I think it over a bit more.  There’s a subset of the Moffat-can’t-write-women argument according to which he has only one “on” switch for female characters, which toggles between Clara/Rose/Amy (all reduced to “young women who exist only to orbit the central male authority figure”) and skinny, sharp-edged, black-wearing bosses, like the head of the Bank in “Time Heist” and wassername with the eye patch — cold lady villains.

    Reductivism is very useful to whiners who slag Moffat off like this, both male and female ones; as, I’m pleased to say, was often pointed out in a spirited and detailed manner by DW watchers with more individual and nuanced thinking.  I expect to see the ground of the argument shifted, now, to “that’s not my version of a female Doctor — she would never do/say/think like that!”  All the more so, with female writers on board.  “I am more xxx than thou, and this insufficiently-radical mistake you just made proves it” is a significant problem in protest movements, certainly in feminism.

    @missrori  I’m glad to hear that 12’s cosplayers are gaining ground, since Capaldi was concerned from the get-go that his outfit be easily and cheaply reproducible for fans.

    @pedant  2. The explosion of social media that means people who might have written “could of” in a diary or note to a peer now do so publicly and a massive numbers.

    Put that together with the fact that so many users of social media are doing that (and video gaming etc.) instead of reading actual books, and it’s no wonder that one of the great losses of our era will prove to have been a reasonably standardized written language.  I think we’re headed right back to the days of making English spelling up as you went along, except for the more formal English that’s (still) the language of international business.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip



    ‘Could have’ and ‘should have’ are a losing battle. It IS taught – ‘could of’ vs ‘could have’ turns up regularly as ‘spot the grammatical error’ and in SATS grammar tests. But pronunciation has shifted both phrases into using the same neutral vowel. When kids hear ‘could’uv’ every day (for ‘could’ve’) and ‘of’ is also pronounced ‘uv’, it’s not surprising they all think ‘could’ve’ is could of.

    I’ve moved to teaching it as ‘written English is different from spoken English’.

    My problem with commas is that I’m often writing for spoken English and the commas are essentially used as short pauses. Which means you end up with a lot more commas than needed in written English. Oh, well. 🙂

    Mudlark @mudlark


    is “to totally…” THAT much of a grating alliteration?

    It’s all down to personal opinion, of course, but it certainly grated on my sensitive inner ear. Those were the opening words in what was, as far as I recall, a piece publicising the excavation in question, and I may have been influenced also by the way it fitted into the sentence as a whole, which struck me as clumsy. I certainly felt I had a say in the matter, since I was the one in charge of the excavation, and I think he did eventually concede that my alternative suggestion – ‘A plan to excavate the whole site of  … ‘ was preferable  🙂

    less commas

    or fewer commas?  – you decide  👿


    I’ve moved to teaching it as ‘written English is different from spoken English’.

    Exactly so!


    I think we’re headed right back to the days of making English spelling up as you went along.

    But spelling and grammar aren’t  the same. In the days when spelling was phonetic rather than standardised, and often reflected regional variations in pronunciation, the majority of people who were literate had received a rigorous monastic or grammar school education and understood grammatical structure. Writing in the 15th, 16th and 17th century may strike us now as convoluted and over-elaborate, but it isn’t ungrammatical. Not even practical texts such as manorial surveys written by parish clerks are that. The way I think of it is that, in the newly expansive age of widely available printed books, they were drunk on language and exploring its new possibilities. At the apex of that think of Shakespeare who, in his day, vastly expanded the vocabulary and idioms in common use. Compare the expressive range of his vocabulary and syntax with that of, for example, the French playwright Racine who, later in the same century, confined himself to a vocabulary barely a tenth the size, and to a highly disciplined syntactical range. Not that my intention is to disparage Racine, because his plays have their own dramatic force, if not the range; but they didn’t contribute to the expressive richness of the language as a whole.



    syzygy @thane16


    I do find the wandering apostrophes a residual problem in my brain. Millions of apostrophes lost when the words “DONT WALK” replaced the red figure of a person standing, not walking, when crossing the street. I always preferred the figures in red or green… Actually, if I start writing like the above I just sound like Yoda. Whilst this is sound (LOL), in theory, as Yoda was a great guy, it’s definitely weird…Because, people, facts are important, din’t you know?

    And how could you tell? 🙂  🙂

    Seriously, no meds on board today at all but yesterday? Yesterday was AWFUL!

    Also Spawn at a soccer semi-final all day & just back.

    On English, I don’t know if it was ever “semi-standardised” @ichabod? I have some very interesting linguistic funnies from the early to late 1800s and then again from the 1970s until 2000:  interesting data.

    Kindest, Puro-off-meds.

    syzygy @thane16


    bugger! “fewer” -THAT was the “worst” thing about my entire post! Arf. The secret be out: I don’t know any englizh.

    Now Racine I know: chiefly because of Antonia Byatt’s quartet of books beginning with The Virgin in The Garden. It’s shocking -or was to me- in the mid-’90s as a “music specialist” I had been steered towards prose from Italian, German, Czech, Polish and Hungarian writers.

    Puro-down-hearted….    😉

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by  syzygy. Reason: Racine I love
    ichabod @ichabod

    @mudlark  . . . think of Shakespeare who, in his day, vastly expanded the vocabulary and idioms in common use.

    When you say he expanded vocabulary, do you mean that he picked up uncommon usages for his work and so his audiences also picked those up, from the plays, and spread them?  Or that he invented new words or new ways of using them (something analogous our cultural habit now of turning nouns into verbs for no discernible reason: “She gifted me with a slow loris for Christmas”), or both?

    ichabod @ichabod

    @thane16  Hearts up, Puro!  I envy you such a rich literary background and your knowledge of music.

    Mudlark @mudlark


    More the latter, I think.

    Shakespeare is credited with introducing about 1700 new words into the language; some of them of completely new coinage, usually based on Latin or Greek roots; others created by combining existing words or elements of existing words in new combinations so as to convey subtler gradations of meaning, or by using nouns as verbs – as in the example you cited – or creating adjectives from verbs, or by adding prefixes and suffixes.

    More than that, though, is his gift for combining words in innovative ways so as to create images which stick in the mind. There are very many expressions now in common use and trotted out unthinkingly which originate with him. He lived in an age when language was evolving fast in the wake of the Renaissance and the expansion of secular literacy, but even in that context his contribution was outstanding. Compare Shakespeare’s plays or his sonnets to the works of Chaucer.

    The comparison with Racine is perhaps a bit unfair, since the two playwrights had a completely different view of drama. The French at that time had a poor opinion of Shakespeare and other English playwrights, whose works they regarded as undisciplined, often with far to large a dramatis personae, and who – oh, the horror! – introduced comic interludes into tragedies. And, above all, they failed to observe the classical Unities.  Racine was quite deliberate in restricting his vocabulary and employing it in a very formal and stylised way; he was looking back to Greek drama. He employed only about 4000 of the words potentially available to him, as compared with Shakespeare who used well over 30,000, and he wrote in Alexandrines, whereas Shakespeare employed bland verse.


    Not to worry 🙂  The distinction between less and fewer is so widely disregarded now that soon, no doubt, it will cease to matter. Just as the difference in meaning between ‘disinterested’ and ‘uninterested’ seems to have been lost.  Such things matter to me and a few other fogies, because it seems to represent an impoverishment of the language, but who are we to withstand the tides of linguistic change.

    As for Racine, when I read The Virgin in the Garden I remember identifying with Frederica for that very reason – she could almost have been me at that age. Not so much in her later career, though.

    Mudlark @mudlark

    Oops  😳 Blank verse, not bland verse, and the inevitable typo, to instead of too.  Memo to self to proof read before posting although, in extenuation, I was in a hurry.

    syzygy @thane16


    Yes, Frederica had a spotty existence 🙂  I wasn’t sure if anyone would even know this book.

    I remember the way she looked up to Alexander & with almost no money had to speak with a male friend (who wanted to ….get to know her) about how to prepare a meal without grey vegetables & tough mutton.

    He suggested peaches for dessert and a good cheese for supper. At 23, when I read this, I felt horribly sorry for Fred. But her sister’s life was worse! Stephanie (was it?) married Daniel for the wrong reasons, as I recall.  Or at least too soon. She was very clever, quick thinking & very compassionate. In a different era she would’ve worked as a teacher, lecturer in English or the fine arts (“would have” 🙂   ) but at that time assisted her husband in parish activities. Daniel’s mother ended up living with them & was whiney & miserable & at that time Frederica’s younger brother was living with his sister, too. He had flopped ‘life’ I think?

    Goodness, it’s been years since I’ve thought of those spectacular characters who made a significant mark on my early twenties.

    The last novel of the quartet blew my head open. I’ll never forget Alexander’s whispy good-looks & his cavalier attitude to everybody else. He loved to call Fred “foxy, you with your dirty underwear” & that image stayed for way too long.

    Puro x

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by  syzygy. Reason: overusing the comma

    @thane16 @mudlark

    Curious factette: The much touted and meme-worthy distinction between less and fewer is a modern thing. Grammatically, either is acceptable in most cases. The first edition of Fowler (1927) notes the then-new tendency to use fewer (and other words, such as smaller) where less or lesser might previously have been deployed. Gower’s (1965) second edition notes it as a modern tendency.

    Burchfield’s 3rd edition (***shudder***) asserts that some uses “incorrect” where Fowler and Gower both described them as tendencies. But then Burchfield was a twat who admitted to not understanding the appeal of Fowler..

    Should probably get the 4th edition.

    Prof reading is for wimps.

    syzygy @thane16


    Isn’t it a factoid? 😉

    Mudlark @mudlark


    It’s donkey’s years since I read the quartet, and your memory for the details is a far better than mine. What remains in my mind are chiefly the general impressions. Probably I read too much for my limited brain to retain everything, and/or I just have an inefficient memory. In any case it’s high time I read the books again as a refresher.

    As it happens I’ve been on a re-reading kick all summer, ignoring the pile of new books yet to be read, but the hours and the days are far too short for all that I want and need to do, and I no longer have the stamina I once did 🙁  Indeed it is a matter of, ‘Had [I] but world enough and time … ‘ !


    When I think back, I don’t think anyone ever actually taught me that there were rules about the uses of less and fewer;  I just I seem to have acquired an intuitive sense of what ‘sounds’ right or wrong in a given context, probably from all the reading I did while growing up, and it is only recently in browsing the internet that I have seen the question debated. Generally speaking I tend trust my intuition in such matters, but whether or not my intuition is a reliable guide is another matter 😕



    Oh, I think the idea that it is a rule is very modern, an artefact of the age of memes and other easy aphorism. I have the 4th Edition on order now to check what current thinking – well, three years ago thinking – is. Hopefully some of the worse damage done by Burchfield will be undone.

    What Fowler did – and I suspect this was more by serendipity than design – was draw a clear distinction between standard English (essentially RP for the written word) and correct English while managing to be practical and useful rather than snobbish and didactic. He was certainly tart and impatient to the point of sarcasm with what he saw as stylistic frippery, but the sheer common sense of what he wrote shines through.

    Had I a time machine, I think sitting HW Fowler and George Orwell down to natter about language would be a fine afternoon. Probably with a large quantity of tea consumed (Orwell was, rightly, a milk-in-first man).


    Isn’t it a factoid?

    I admire your preference for gender-neutral language.


    Mersey @mersey

    Look at the cast and enjoy! https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bgppt5

    syzygy @thane16

    @pedant @mudlark

    Thank you Mr P for linking to Fowler. Rather embarrassingly the reference explains how “everybody knows this household name.”  Oops.

    Also, I found this particular reference used the word “inflexion” which is apparently “British” but the more common “inflection” is used. Generally, when Australians write and speak we use British idiom rather than American but I hadn’t come across “inflexion” in that spelling myself.

    When I happened to click further, I found the scope of  grammar (presumably as it was once taught) in that one article, enormous.

    Interestingly, there was one phrase Wikipedia checkers missed: “In the English clause “I will lead,” the word “lead” is not inflected for any *of person, number or tense….”   🙂

    * something is clearly missing….which, considering the grammar page, is funny.


    syzygy @thane16


    “milk in first”

    This is something I’ve never understood.

    I understand a lot about beverages: the size of wine glasses for different alcohol types…the perfect shape and size of a good coffee cup (and the thickness and type of ceramic or china used) but “making tea with the correct number of spoons, milk type, sugar (or both) and when” is damnably confusing. If I had to pretend to be British I’d fail then and there as tea-lady. In fact -horrors- I don’t even use a kettle preferring a small pot with lid which heats up the water quickly and produces no nasty scum in the kettle which is problematic to clean considering the hardness of QLD water

    Also, this is our Sofa page and so I think discussing tea makes perfect sense. Tea is one thing the Doctor drinks… I think? At some point, in a different iteration, he went for coffee. But I do recall Mat Smith’s Doctor drinking a glass of wine. But, before swallowing, he spat it back in the glass. I roughly recall Josh Lyman doing this with a cold, old cup of coffee in The West Wing  -the second time he was ever brought coffee by Donna Moss 🙂


    stman @stman

    <div><span style=”font-family: Arial; font-size: small;”><span class=”182524807-04092018″>Morning all, wonder if somebody can help me.</span></span></div>
    <div><span style=”font-family: Arial; font-size: small;”><span class=”182524807-04092018″>I have an artist friend who is painting a large retro space diner piece (set in the eighties). All of the patrons are from films or tv which were filmed and set in the eighties.</span></span></div>
    <div><span style=”font-family: Arial; font-size: small;”><span class=”182524807-04092018″>E.g. Flash Gordon, Cocoon, Morons from Outer Space etc..</span></span></div>
    <div><span style=”font-family: Arial; font-size: small;”><span class=”182524807-04092018″>I watched a lot of Doctor Who as a kid but cannot remember if there are any episodes where he goes into space, be it orbiting or flying past earth? Could someone let me know if this occurred and if it did which doctor? Thanks for your help. Going to see if I can work it out on my own in the meantime but there is a crazy amount of episodes to research.</span></span></div>
    <div><span style=”font-family: Arial; font-size: small;”><span class=”182524807-04092018″>
    Thanks again!</span></span></div>

    Mudlark @mudlark


    I have just checked my copy of Fowler and realised that it is the Burchfield edition. Bugger! that probably explains why I have found it of so little use, and consult it so rarely that the dust cover appears pristine.


    There is a great deal of unnecessary fuss about making and serving tea, and the milk-in-first/milk-in-last business seems to have arise out of pure snobbery. I’ve read several explanations of how it originated, perhaps the most plausible being that if the milk was added after the tea ones guests could do it for themselves, judging the amount according to preference. Another, less convincing suggestion is that posh people drank tea from porcelain cups which wouldn’t crack when near boiling tea was added, whereas people who were not at all posh drank from earthenware, which was liable to crack if exposed to sudden heat; and the people in between were left thoroughly confused 😕  If tea is poured into a cup without milk as a buffer it tends to stain the cup, but this wouldn’t have bothered the upper classes because they didn’t do the washing up.  In any case, back in the days when tea was very expensive and came mostly from China, milk wouldn’t normally have been added at all.

    Number of teaspoons?  As far as I know there are no rules other than those common sense dictates. I just ask who takes sugar and hand them out accordingly, although for obvious reasons it’s best to have a separate spoon in the sugar bowl. Milk-in-last people will probably serve the tea in cups with saucers, and everyone who takes milk will need a teaspoon to stir the milk in.

    As for choices like loose leaf v. teabags, or whether you make it in a teapot or individual mugs, it’s a matter of personal preference. The main rule is that the water should be freshly boiled; it has to be really hot or the tea doesn’t infuse properly. On the whole I prefer loose leaf tea to teabags, and single origin, whole leaf teas to broken leaf and cheap blends, and I make it in a pot * – a. because I drink large quantities and  b. because the amount of tea can be adjusted according to preference and left long enough to brew properly and develop the full flavour of the tea. Tea made with a teabag in a mug will, if the bag is left in long enough to brew properly, be too strong for my taste.  If I’m making tea just for myself I make it relatively weak, but make it stronger if I am serving others.  Not that I would ever be so rude and inconsiderate as to refuse or complain about tea made otherwise. I’m not that fussy.

    The water here is very hard, and tea made with it forms a nasty scum which floats on the surface and stains the mug and the inside of the pot. I have a water softener unit and a filter for drinking water, which does away with that problem, plus the kettle and the water pipes don’t get furred with calcareous deposits 🙂

    * The pot has an integral strainer which fits into the top and which holds the tea leaves, so no mess.




    syzygy @thane16

    @mudlark.  Thank you for that. A water-softener unit is pretty expensive here -even though older pipes will eventually need to be replaced.

    Some while ago I mentioned baking (I think you said you weren’t able to recall this -but I did!) & your interest in it. As well as your love of gardening, creating ponds & other home improvement issues which you’ve carried out by yourself.

    Considering some of your life stories – there was one explaining how you arrived in a very cold house with your parents after moving into a different are & neighbours came to the rescue with warm water etc. – I think you should write a book: “Mudlark’s Musings.”

    From Puro and Thane



    As @mudlark says there is a lot of unnecessary fuss and no small amount of mythology about tea. Most of it is nonsense. the only truly important thing to remember is to pour the water onto the tea (whether in pot or a tea bag) before it has finished going off the boil. Everything else is a matter of personal taste.

    The Space Captain Smith facebook group has a long-running obsession with tea (because a central joke of the books is that tea is the source of the British Space Empire’s moral fibre). Mostly it is fun, but I have lost count of the number of times people asserted that the “milk in first” idea stems from the need to protect early fine china tea cups from shattering. Evidently these people have never studied what ceramics are used for, and why.

    Orwell’s argument was that adding milk to tea, rather than tea to milk, scorches the milk.


    Every Doctor has been into space and there are countless space-based stories to enjoy. I recommend a scan of IMDB, but arguably the most famous space-based episode is Ark In Space from the 4th Doctor’s run.

    From the modern era, New Earth (9th Doctor) 42 and Impossible Planet/ Stan Pit (10th) A Good Man Goes To War (11th) and Oxygen (12th) are all heavily space-based. There are certainly others than don’t come to mind, so ANY Doctor would be suitable for your artwork.

    Also, The Impossible Astronaut (11th Doctor) and Hell Bent (12th) have very strong diner elements.


    LOL “stan pit”

    wolfweed @wolfweed


    A good 80s Dr in Space scene is this one from ‘Four to Doomsday’ 1982

    4 2 doom

    Mudlark @mudlark


    there was one explaining how you arrived in a very cold house with your parents after moving into a different are & neighbours came to the rescue with warm water etc.

    That would be in February 1947, a famously cold, snowy and prolonged winter, when I was four years old and we moved from West Yorkshire to Norfolk. We came down by train and arrived, but the van containing such furniture as we then possessed got stuck in a snow drift somewhere.  There was no telephone, so even if the van driver had been able to get to a call box he had no way of letting us know what was happening, and we just had to spend two days waiting in the new house.*  Everything was completely iced up and I remember going upstairs to explore and running down again in great excitement to announce, ‘The water in the lavvy’s frozen’. I don’t think my parents shared my enthusiasm at this discovery.

    The neighbours did, indeed, come to our rescue, with hot soup and enough kindling and fuel to make a small fire in the living room grate. Any fuel we had would have been in the van with the furniture, but I suspect that my parents may have had to resort in the coming weeks to scavenging fallen timber in the surrounding woods. Shortage of fuel was a major problem that winter and caused considerable hardship. Coal was still rationed, anyway, and the shortages were compounded by both a coal miners strike and the weather conditions which hampered the transport of such coal as remained stockpiled in the depots. The problem wasn’t ice on the rails, such as causes problems for modern locomotives, but the huge quantities of snow that had to be cleared regularly from the lines.

    ‘Mudlark’s Musings’, hmm.  Perhaps if I live to be very old, some bright-eyed student of oral history may come and record my maundering reminiscences, but I doubt if my life history and experience is unusual enough or of sufficient general interest to warrant a book.

    Talking of oral history and tea, one of the anecdotes handed down in my mother’s family concerns the household of her maternal great grandparents. My gt gt grandfather Samuel Wright was a shoemaker by trade and had a shop and a small holding, so the family would have been reasonably comfortably off, and their laundry was done by a washerwoman who came in once a month.  Their daughter, my great grandmother in the maternal line, was born in 1841, so this would have been in the 1840s or 50s. On wash day the washerwoman would be given a meal and tea to drink and, so the story goes, she had a saying, ‘Better the belly bust, than good tay be lost’ and would always ask if she might have the tea leaves from the pot – the idea being that she could dry them and they would be good for a second, if more insipid brew.

    * We did spend the nights at a hotel, though;  the Great Eastern, next to the railway station, where I had my first taste of cornflakes and decided I didn’t like them. I always preferred wheat flakes, then and now.

    Mudlark @mudlark


    The Tardis is a space ship as well as a time machine, remember – Time And Relative Dimensions In Space. So yes, all of the Doctors have had adventures in space.


    The lack of a pressure suit in that scene is a bit worrying, though maybe the 5th Doctor is within the Tardis field – whether or not the writers had yet invented the concept of a Tardis field in the 1980s. Had they done so? I can’t remember.

    Whisht @whisht

    ah – for once an idiot like me is the expert!

    Nope – not on grammar, nor on Who lore, but on tea.

    I grew up on tea.
    In fact I grew because of tea.
    Its basically the main carrier of sugar into my body (via many spoons of the stuff as well as cake and biscuits especially in my earlier years).

    I am 90% tea.

    So, here for you all is the wisdom of my father as to how to make tea strong enough.

    “Make it so you can rest the spoon on top”

    So that deals with strength.

    Milk first or second is possibly “are you using a tea bag?” as the bag will either add to the flavour (unlikely) or be affected (possible if you have a princess-like appreciation of peas in your bed).

    So if committing the crime of using a bag (ie what i do daily), boil water, wait a numph of a second and pour the boiling water and then swirl the buggerofateabag around in the hot water.

    If you like it bitter squeeze it like a lover.
    (especially a lover who’s annoyed you recently).

    Add fuckloads of sugar.

    Then add milk (unless you think that adding it before made a difference).


    Then make another as soon as possible and use the learnings from the previous one.


    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip



    It’s not proper tea unless you leave the teabag in the cup for several minutes. Five, maybe. Possibly ten. If the spoon starts to dissolve, that’s possibly a bit too long. Then again, iron is good for you. 🙂

    Once the tea has reached the preferred strength, add the milk. Adding it first will reduce the temperature of the water to below boiling, so you won’t get the proper spoon-dissolving properties of good tea.

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