Posted by: travelrat | August 10, 2017

Travel Theme: Words

T5 Stuffed tomato

Don’t you love it, when you come across a word that you can sort of roll around your tongue and savour, like good wine? Having discovered it, though, it’s a much harder task to work it into an everyday conversation.

I’ve long felt we should have adopted the Italian word ‘pomodoro’ into our language. It’s much more mellifluous (that’s another word I’ve been trying to work in) than ‘tomato’ … and, in the US, it would have avoided all those ‘tomahto/tomayto’ arguments.

If I’d been Spanish, I would probably have joined the Fire Brigade, for I’d love to be called a ‘bombero’. The German language has some beauties, too. One of my favourites is Schadenfreude; that is, taking pleasure from the misfortunes of others. That word is often used in English, for we don’t really have a word to describe this concisely.

To turn to English, we have a quite a few, although they are rather obscure. Snollygoster, for example, is someone who seeks office for personal gratification, rather for what he can do, and, considering our present Government, I’m surprised it’s not used more often. Or, there’s boondoggle, or non-productive, nugatory (there’s another one!) work for its own sake …

Not far away from us, the Ringwood Brewery produced a summer ale called Boondoggle. The beer mats (coasters) were printed with the name of the beer on one side, and like a postcard on the other.

Some years ago, former US President Jimmy Carter was over to do some fishing on the River Test. Calling into a nearby hostelry for a brew, he was extremely taken with Boondoggle … and its postcard/beer mats. So much so that he requested a packet of them to mail to his friends. I wonder if he intended some kind of message there?

This is a slightly edited version of a post I did back in 2010, and this week’s contribution to the Travel Theme. See more at


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