May I have a word about… never cursing your alarm clock again, it’s an opportunity | Jonathan Bouquet

From the same source who recently gave me the splendid word “broomsquire” comes another gem – “wood collier”.

British Genealogy has the following definition: he “was a labourer (or an apprentice) to a master charcoal burner. Apparently charcoal burning was a highly skilled art and obviously common in the Forest of Dean area”, while the Yorkshire Historical Dictionary says: “John Wayed and Christopher Wayde colyeres agreed … to falle the underwood and ockes and saplynges. However, in those parts of the West Riding where collier could mean coal-miner, the term wood collier had come into use by the sixteenth century.” Marvellous what you can learn if you consort with charcoal makers.

I don’t think I’ve knowingly seen Bear Grylls on television, and after I read the following I’m not sure that that’s going to change. It seems he calls an alarm clock an “opportunity clock” to avoid “negative connotations” and that a cold shower” is “nature’s defrag”. I suppose we live on the same planet, but I don’t think I want to visit the part he inhabits.

More corporate nonsense from the civil service, courtesy of Ian Arnott: “We need to map the current as is position and produce a value proposition. This will be designed for proactive application seeking a holistic approach with buy in from stakeholders. We need to understand the potential interface with existing IT and seek approval to escalate through appropriate change control procedures so that deliverables are approved by identifying high level requirements to high level support and limit the impact of slippage through robust contingency planning.” No comment.

In the same vein, Geoff Lavender sent me this: “I received a recent email from Spurs (I’m a member and lifelong fan) which was headed ‘Improving Membership Purchase Journeys’. I think they meant ‘Helping you to buy stuff’. It almost made me support Arsenal.” Hold, steady, Geoff.

Jonathan Bouquet is an Observer columnist

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