As a child, the television programme Noggin the Nog consisted of incomprehensible wonders glimpsed through grey and shifting mist.
Was it for children?
Was it funny?
I really still don't know.
And nog...what was a nog?
Well, dear readers, come closer. Gather round the screen, just as the knights used to gather round the fire in the land of Noggin the Nog, and I'll tell you of nogs and noggins in all their forms, some fleeting and some that will last to the end of time.
Er...oh dear. I'm afraid I can't keep up the nogesque style any longer, because as it turns out nogs aren't very romantic.
To start with, a nog is a drink. It's usually an alcoholic one with beaten egg in it (eu!) although in Eastern England it's strong beer.
If it's not a drink, then a nog is a wooden block built into a brick wall to which nails can be fixed.
A noggin can be a small amount of spirits, a little mug or cup, or, most commonly nowadays, someone's head, as in he got a bash on the noggin.
It's also a protein, discovered by Richard M Harland, which is important in bone-development and joint formation.
And, while we're here, nogging is a bit of a wall. It can be a piece of timber used in a stud wall, or the bricks filling in a timber-framed wall.
Just to confuse things even further, nogging is often called nog, unless you're in Scotland or New Zealand, where it's called dwang.
But what Noggin the Nog was, I still haven't the faintest idea.
Word To Use Today: nog. I suppose it's no surprise that although the words nog, noggin and nogging have existed for a long time and have many uses and meanings, where any of the words came from is a complete mystery.