This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Dirty gardening: a rant.

The BBC (that's the British Broadcasting Corporation, Britain's publicly-funded but independent provider of TV and Radio) has been getting it in the neck for swearing.

Someone - it was Alan Titchmarsh, who's probably best-known in Britain as a rather cuddly TV gardener - was a guest on daytime television. He was talking about double-digging (that's digging down to two spade-depths. This little video is supposed to explain how to do it, but I'm afraid it just confuses me):

Double digging with spade and fork loosens the soil, to increase drainage and aeration.

Anyway, Mr Titchmarsh happened to mention that this procedure is also called bastard trenching.

The main presenter of the programme, Louise Minchin, apologised for "some of the language that was used in the last couple of minutes" when the item was over.

And did that satisfy people? No, it did not. People were enraged. They were absolutely furious. How dare the BBC apologise for the use by a respectable man of a technical, and therefore absolutely neutral, gardening term?

This kerfuffle has been described as possibly the most English thing ever to happen. As far as I have been able to discover no one at all complained about the use of the term bastard trenching.

And, you know something? Such sturdy good sense makes me feel almost proud to be British.

Word To Use Today: Um...this may be hypocritical, It is a very nice word, after all. It comes from the Old French trenche, which is something cut, from the Latin truncāre to cut off. This is rather neat because if the programme hadn't been live then Alan Titchmarsh's words would presumably have been truncated.

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