Lincoln: Diary of an Impy Kid

It’s funny that England remains a bit of an unknown quantity to me, when I have spent all of my adult life here. I’ve passed through most of its cities when playing gigs, going to away matches or visiting friends, but I wouldn’t usually consider it for a holiday. I think of these towns as insufficiently exotic to go and visit. There is no basis in fact for this; at its best, England matches the picturesque and ancient qualities of my favourite corners of Europe with the state-of-the-art comforts (stuff actually works) of Holland or Germany. There comes a point when it seems ridiculous that you’ve been to St Peter’s, St Mark’s, St Nicholas’, St Anthony in Padua and St Francis in Assisi and yet are wholly unacquainted with the great cathedrals of your own country. And so, to Lincoln.

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Word on the Street

This entry is a first for The Baedeker Raids, as I have the pleasure of introducing a guest post by a fellow author from the Michael O’Mara stable. Caroline Taggart has written some twenty books and her newest, published this week, is New Words For Old, an illuminating and very enjoyable forage through the English language and its quirks, in particular our habit of repurposing old words to describe new phenomena (think of the ‘world wide web’). Here she reveals a few of the many words to have shed their skins and taken on new meanings in our loved/hated city of London. Over to you, Caroline.

English is a fantastically versatile language and we Brits (and our American and Antipodean cousins) have always been pretty hot on inventing new words when we need them, or recycling old ones when a new shade of meaning comes along. Contrariwise, as Lewis Carroll might have said, we sometimes preserve obsolete words in idioms and place names. Because London is so rich in ‘all that life can afford’, it should come as no surprise that the capital is way up there in the wordgames stakes.

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