This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Friday, 15 April 2016

Word To Use Today: grumpling.

Here's a rare treasure.


I've not known about grumplings long, but it's already one of my favourite words.

What's a grumpling?

Well, you get them in just one small corner of the globe (not that a globe has any corners, but you know what I mean) in the few square miles around the town of Haddenham (you say that HADn'm, and it's quite near Oxford, England) where you find witchert (another excellent word) which is a natural blend of chalk and clay. It's the only place in the world you find witchert, and it's valuable stuff because you can, if you take enough trouble and are prepared to spend your life on maintenance, make buildings with the stuff.

Haddenham Baptist Church, the widest witchert building in the world.

But before you can start building your witchert house you need to make a grumpling, which is a foundation made of limestone rubble. The grumpling has to form the lower part of the wall, too, because witchert isn't very waterproof.

Once you have your grumpling then you mix your witchert with straw and make the first layer, or berry, of your house. Then you wait for the witchert to dry out before you make the next berry. You finish off with a tiled roof and perhaps some lime render, and you hope like mad the walls don't get too damp and turn the witchert back to mud again.

Still, if it does, you'll still have your grumpling

That would have to be some comfort, wouldn't it?

Word To Use Today: grumpling. This word isn't even in the Oxford English Dictionary, so heaven knows where it came from. Perhaps they have particularly surly builders in Haddenham.

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