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I'm getting fed up translating ignorant into English on a daily basis. And I'm not thinking of slips of the tongue, but scripted material delivered by supposed professionals. "Journalists" who believe that situations are exasperated rather than exacerbated. That preempting is the same as predicting. And the plural of child is childs. And they are all being paid to produce this confounding drivel. I shouldn't have to work out what they are trying to say or mean. It's their job to use the correct words. 

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So, excited about the impending announcement of the SMD 2021 Book of the Year? Probably not. I think the only folk who might care are the ones on the shortlist. That's because I'm not beholden to any publisher and don't have to creep up to any fellow writers.  A lot of those pithy quotes from reviewers  on the back of new books are more about getting the some publicity for the reviewer, often a writer, than guiding potential readers. And I can think of one Canadian best seller praised for its originality by reviewers who did not realise that the central "revelation" had formed the opening chapters of British book two years earlier. So, the choice of SMD Book of the Year is usually less tainted than most such awards. The same goes for all the reviews that appear in Book Briefing. 

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Does anyone else remember a Scottish TV drama series from the 1960s called High Living? I remember it was about people living in a Glasgow high rise but that’s about it. Was it some kind of Scottish Coronation Street? I have no idea. It was in black and white. Or was it? Maybe we only had a black and white TV and really it was in colour.  I remember getting an old camera and automatically assuming it would only take black and white photos. Strange sometimes what I come up with. Am I only person who remembers Pogle’s Wood? I think I always hated Andy Pandy but used to make sure to be home from playing in the dark woods for in time Bill and Ben. It turns out that the dark woods where we were sent to hunt rabbits every morning takes up a space about the size of a football pitch. But when I was three or four and armed only with a bag of salt, which I was told if I could sprinkle on a rabbit’s tail would paralyze it, the dark woods seemed massive.

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Many of us have been brainwashed by the shear weight of American self absorption into believing that the Second World War in the Pacific theatre began with the Japanese air attack on the US fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on Dec 7 1941. Not so. Several hours before that the Japanese shot down an RAF flying boat which was shadowing the invasion fleet heading for the Malayan Peninsular. It's a mystery as to whether the plane from 205 Squadron failed to get off a radio message before it was blown apart, or whether the message was not received, or whether it was simply ignored; because the crew were all killed. Certainly, RAF and Australian air force planes had been aware of the invasion fleet since December 6th, though no-one knew where it was headed at that point. When the Catalina flying boat was was first raked by Japanese machine gun fire the fleet was only 150 miles from the invasion beaches. Actually, perhaps few people are aware that the first Allied casualties of the war in the Pacific were flying with an RAF squadron rather than Americans at Pearl Harbor because the incident raises too many  questions about British military ineptitude. 

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I wonder how many people realise that the present 2nd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment was once part of the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders. And how long will it be before folk forget that the 1st Battalion of the new Ranger  Regiment is descended from the old Royal Scots and King's Own Scottish Borderers, two of the oldest regiments in the British Army. 2 Para is usually associated with the guys who got the bridge at Arnhem in 1944. But actually what is now the 2nd Battalion started life as the 5th Battalion in May 1943 when the 7th Cameron Highlanders was converted into a parachute unit. The 5th Battalion was was redesignated the 2nd Battalion in 1948. So, there is a precedent for turning what used to be called a line infantry battalion into a specialist unit. Which is what is being done with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, formed from a 2006 merger of the Royal Scots, by the way the oldest line regiment, the old 1st Foot, and the KOSB, once the 25th Foot. In the run up to the 1881 Army reforms there was much talk of making the 1st Foot a London regiment and the 25th a Yorkshire unit. 

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