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Cafetalk Tutor's Column

Tutor Samuel C 's Column

Picking plums 1: Battle

Sep 12, 2020

Reading difficulty: challenging

Tip: Read the article before looking up words in your dictionary. Try to guess the meaning of words from their context and from the photographs.

Mrs C and I have been guzzling cherries, raspberries and strawberries all summer long and although we’d intended to go pick soft fruit earlier in the season we only just got round to it in the last fortnight. In ‘Pick Your Own’ (PYO) farms the berry season is well and trulyover but there is an abundance of one of my favourite fruits: the plum. So off we went to Ticehurst for plum-picking.

Getting to that village required a pleasant bus journey through pretty countryside. The route meant taking two buses, changing bus in the charming town of Battle. Battle gets its name from a battle that was fought in 1066. The Normans from northern France won that battle. Their leader, William, became king of England, and French became the language of England’s ruling class. As a result, many English words have a French origin, ‘pork’ (porc) and ‘beef’ (boeuf) are just two examples that spring to mind. Since then many other French words have found their way into English. There was half an hour between buses so we had coffee and a quiche (I wonder where this word comes from?) while waiting in a café and delicatessen (and these ones I wonder?).

The café faces a square called Abbey Green which is decorated with what I can only call ‘bollard cosies’. No word exists for them. Sometimes we may see a knitted covering for a teapot, this is called a ‘tea cosy’; in Battle there are knitted coverings for bollards, so I suppose it makes sense to say ‘bollard cosy’.

To be continued...

In the meantime please feel free to post your comments or questions concerning my journey to Ticehurst and the vocabulary used in this article.



l  to guzzle   regular verb   to eat or drink something greedily or quickly

l  fortnight   countable noun   a period of two weeks

l  get round to something / get round to doing something   phrasal verb   finally do something after delay

l  well and truly   phrase   completely

l  over   adjective   finished

l  abundance   noun   a large quantity of something

l  spring to mind   phrase   a thought that occurs or something suddenly remembered – often used when giving examples

l  knitted   adjective   made by knitting

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