Shielding – a subtle shift in meaning

If you look up the verb “shield” in the dictionary, you’ll find it has a purely transitive meaning: “to protect someone or something”. It’s something you do to or for someone else.  You can do it to yourself, especially a part of yourself, but you’d generally make this explicit: “I’m shielding my eyes from the sun”. The verb … More Shielding – a subtle shift in meaning

Merkel’s TV address to Germany, 18 March 2020

Yesterday evening, Chancellor Angela Merkel made an unprecedented television address to the German people. Clips were shown with English subtitles but I couldn’t find a full English translation this morning – so I did one myself below. I think its value goes beyond Germany in the current international crisis, and it shows a kind of … More Merkel’s TV address to Germany, 18 March 2020

Celebrating German reunification in Göttingen

So I find myself in Göttingen* on the Day of German Unity (Tag der Deutschen Einheit). 3rd October is a national holiday, the 29th anniversary of German reunification. I didn’t realise this when I planned the trip: my knowledge of the historical unification of Germany in 1871 is probably more systematic than my grasp of reunification, experienced … More Celebrating German reunification in Göttingen

Why Estonian?

When I say I’m learning Estonian, people (even Estonians) often ask why. I have a number of answers at the ready, depending on who’s asking and whether I think they really want to know. My shortest response is: why not? If they are looking at me as though I’m mad, I might add that I’ve … More Why Estonian?

Delving into Graves’

Last night I discovered what happens when you combine Graves’ disease with hay fever. The results weren’t pretty, and I rather wished I hadn’t looked in the mirror at around 10pm. The offending eye is now back where it belongs, leaving me with something akin to a hangover. But the experience was a reminder of … More Delving into Graves’

Keep calm – play Brahms: a talk for International Women’s Day

Looking through some old computer files the other day, I came across a talk I gave at work three years ago, on International Women’s Day 2015. It’s odd to re-read it – especially the end, as I didn’t expect I’d have “retired” (if indeed that’s what I’ve done) a year later. But I think the … More Keep calm – play Brahms: a talk for International Women’s Day