Category Archives: ETCETERA

Reflecting on the work of women in compiling the Oxford English Dictionary.

On 6 June 1928, one hundred and fifty men gathered in London’s Goldsmiths Hall to celebrate the completion of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). The guests were men who had served the Dictionary for decades or months or not at all. They ate Saumon bouilli with sauce Hollandaise, and they drank 1907 Chateau Margaux. Among the guests was Professor J.R.R. Tolkien. He had not yet written The Hobbit, but after serving in WWI he spent a couple of years in the Scriptorium (a grand name for the garden shed where the Dictionary was being compiled) defining words beginning with Wa. We can thank him for waggle and walrus and warlock. I’d like to think he was also consulted on wizard, but there is no evidence of this. Gentlemen representing The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Manchester Guardian were also invited. As were scholars, editors, clerks, men of the cloth, knights of the realm and a humble school headmaster. They poured into the Hall and found their places at three long tables arranged in front of another, higher, table. These were the lesser men, though … Continue Reading ››

ABOUT ME

I love to read,  write & travel. Sharing the joys and disappointments of all three is what makes life good. The long version I have spent most of my working life as a social researcher studying how people live their lives and what makes life good. My research has resonated with the public’s thirst for knowledge about how to live a more balanced life and I have been interviewed for newspaper, magazine and radio. I am co-author of the book 'Time Bomb: Work, Rest and Play in Australia Today' (with Barbara Pocock & Natalie Skinner), published in 2012 by NewSouth Press. I have also published a handful of academic chapters and more than thirty peer reviewed academic papers in the fields of psychology, sociology, public health, medicine, work and family, and community development. A few years ago I became thoroughly bored with academic writing and developed an unhealthy cynicism about its worth. The only logical thing to do was give it up and drag the whole family to the other side of the world to work as labourers on organic farms. Since then I have published travel articles, book reviews for radio and press, and flash fiction. My second book, One Italian Summer, will be published by Affirm Press in … Continue Reading ››