Gruntled and Gormful (18.22)

Wordplay Isn’t the English language a funny thing? We were discussing this week the idea of being gormless. It’s one of those anti-words that doesn’t really have a postive version. You can be gormless but not gormful. Why is that? Why does gormless persist as a word but gormful doesn’t? And what it gorm?

But this is not the only word in English that is like this.

You can be disgruntled but not gruntled.

You can be dishevelled but not shevelled.

You can be ruthless but not ruthful.

You can be uncouth, but not people are not often referred to as being “couth”.

If you can think of any other words that have a similar status, please let me know in the comments.

Pub Quiz We won pub quiz this week! After several thirds, a third last and a very embarrassing last place (once), this week we bounced back with enthusiasm and won the thing outright. And not by any kind of half measure – we were 13 points clear of the next team. I didn’t walk out of the pub singing “We are the champions” but I was thinking it.

The satisfaction of winning is enough but we won a prize as well – a £50 bar tab that expires next week, so we’ll use it to buy drinks for next week’s competition. I’m not sure how our team of four will drink £50 of bar tab midweek, especially as one of us doesn’t really drink, but we’ll give it a go.

New food corner We get a veg box delivered every two weeks by Oddbox, a firm who specialise in buying up fruit and veg that’s considered too odd or is otherwise wrongly timed for the heavily regulated supermarket purchasing schedule. We’ve received a lot of white cabbage in the past weeks and it has been sitting reproachfully in the fridge, unused.

It’s not something I would normally buy, so I always struggle to use it up. I like a coleslaw but Husband doesn’t, so we struggle to agree on how to use cabbage apart from shred it and stir fry it with lots of bacon.

But a recent comment from a colleague had me thinking about Okonomiyaki, Japanese cabbage pancakes. I found a recipe on BBC good food and decided to try it, but without the suggested squid and sauce.

It turned out really well. Just one point – you make the batter and then leave it to sit and rest for at least 2 hours. I planned to make my Okonomiyaki for lunch, but we ended up having them for dinner (note to self: Remember to read the recipe in full before starting to cook!). They were delicious and – for non cabbage fans like us – deliciously un-cabbagey.

The recipe had a recommended sauce which I didn’t make, instead we ate them with mayonnaise and I think we will eat them again (good thing too because we still have another whole cabbage to use).

I’m also trying a raw fennel salad today – fennel finely sliced in lemon juice and lemon zest with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. It’s resting now, ready for dinner but I’ve picked at it a little and it seems very tasty.

Things to look forward to There is a potential work trip coming up, which would be good but also tiring as I would be away 8 or 9 days in total. If that gets confirmed I’ll tell you more.

Jami Attenberg is also running 1000 words of summer again at the start of June. She gave some tips this week on how to prepare: 1. Strategise what you want to write 2. Commit to what you’re going to accomplish 3. Carve out the time in your day (I know from previous years I need 45-60minutes) 4. Find your spot 5. Have the supplies that you need (a new notebook? A favourite type of pen? a special tea or coffee?)

Lots of food for thought there. I need to prepare my headspace and my physical space and my scheduling.

If the idea of 1000words is unfamiliar to you, it’s simply a group write event, where you and me and Jami and thousands of others sit down every day and write 1000 words for 14 days. In previous years I’ve written chunks of stories that (sadly) remain unfinished but this gave me time and space to get into them and perhaps this year the pushy character I refer to as Lady B will make me get more of her story down on paper. Or screen.

I hope you’ve also got something by to look forward to this week.

And let me have any other top cabbage recipe recommendations in the comments.

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