Mrs Jago’s Handy Guide to the Meaning Behind Typographical Errors XLV

… or ‘How To Speak Typo’ by Jane Jago

askhole (noun) – mouth

beliveable (adjective) – of a fixer-up house, the state it will attain in about five years

brois (noun) – compulsive liar

canservative (adjective) – self-serving (see brois)

carrit (noun) – measure of orangeness 

delsion (noun) – unsatisfactory explanation 

drafth (adverb) – to drag out unnecessarily as in his accusation was both drafth and probably baseless

freght (noun) – someone else’s luggage found where you expected your own to be

hadnsome (adjective) – a man who may have been good looking in his youth, who is now rather jaded and ragged at the edges

lotal (adjective) – humourless and with a leaning towards religious obsession (Example: The Lotal Singing Nuns of Saint Crumplesham)

otherircumstances (noun) – puzzling twist in a fantasy story usually heralded by the arrival of a mysterious wizard

plitics (noun) – the shenanigans in government that surprise the electorate so much they can’t even say ‘oh’

pointsome (adjective) – handsome, but only in small areas of the body (eg navel, or the baby toe on the left foot)

prinisple (noun) – one of a number of redundant nipples

politcal (adjective) of cake, heavy and tasteless

qween (noun) – very old woman who likes a nip of gin

reep (noun) – the cry of the lesser-spotted blabberbird

somaething (verb) – trying to smoke a damp cigarette

trcik (noun) – a special karate move

uwswall (verb) – the rinsing of one’s mouth at the dentist

Disclaimer: all these words are genuine typos defined by Jane Jago. The source of each is withheld to protect the guilty.

Coffee Break Read – Jaelya’s Brother

Like a shy creature of the wild, sleep eluded her. Jaelya’s thoughts drifted, against her will, until those time-worn ghosts that hovered about her, led her gently along the paths of unwilling memory to the beginning of everything.
It was, of course, Alize who had been there then.
Her first awareness of life had been of holding Alize’s hand on that day as if she had been flung into the world fully-formed at the age of three. Even now she could still see clearly the high beamed roof, with its painted and vaulted ceiling, arching over the huge black and white slabs of stone which paved the floor. She had stood in the doorway, as if looking into the universe from outside, one hand holding onto a small bundle of clothes and the other gripping Alize’s as hand tightly as if her life depended upon it.
She conjured the scene easily, untarnished by the passage of years. The long table, taller than herself then, the chairs which had seemed made for giants, the fireplace which looked large enough to roast a good-sized ox and the faint, musty, smell of cold ashes and old books. Seated at the table, a heavy bound book open before him and a remote screen set up to one side, sat a boy with a mop of curly hair who had looked up as they entered. To the Jaelya in the memory, he had seemed so grown up himself but he cannot have been much more than five summers her senior.
Feeling confused, she had looked up at the figure of Alize towering beside her and the face that had looked down at her contained blue eyes that seemed to embrace the world and all the stars beyond. Jaelya felt as though she might be swallowed up in their depths, but somehow the thought made her feel safe rather than frightened. Then Alize’s gaze moved from herself to the boy, who got to his feet and was standing quietly behind the table, his square face framed by unruly golden curls.
“Child, this is your sister. Her name is Jaelya and I want you to take care of her.”
The boy had been staring at her with open curiosity as if wondering what manner of creature she might be, but at Alize’s words a miracle happened and his face broke into the most gentle and wonderful smile.
“My sister,” he breathed the words as a triumphal declaration rather than as any kind of question and then the boy had come across to her, his hands held out in welcome, his honey-coloured eyes lit up by the brilliant smile that was for her alone. “Hello, Jae. I am your brother and I’m always going to keep you safe.”
And in that moment Jaelya loved him with a fierce devotion, a devotion which all the years between and all the tests and burdens of those years had done nothing to diminish. So why was it, as she lay now in the dreamless darkness, that the thought of his returning to Harkera filled her heart with nothing but apprehension?

From Transgressor 2: Times of Change a Fortune’s Fools book by E.M. Swift-Hook

Drabbling – Bedtime

The wooden bedstead had been in the family for more generations than anyone knew. Almost as long as the rambling farmhouse which each generation had rebuilt and extended to suit its needs.

The bedstead had been the place where family members had been conceived, come into this world and eventually left it. The old stained oak headboard bore the marks of usage like proud scars.

But all things change eventually.

The latest generation thought the old bedstead too chunky, dark and unfashionable. So they replaced it with a stylish pine bed from Ikea – and had a bonfire in the garden.

E.M. Swift-Hook

Big Orange and the Mambo Woman – One

It was always kinda weird in the aquarium, and nowhere was weirder than the octopus tank. People brought stuff and put it in the water, just to see how Big Orange reacted. Maria stood in the knee-deep mist and watched him sidle over to the strange statue the fat woman in Bermuda shorts had lowered into the water. She could tell – by the way the woman, and the group of people she came with, stared into the cool clear water – that this reaction was even more important than usual. And she was pretty sure it wasn’t going to end well.
It didn’t. Big Orange reared up and smashed the flimsy thing with one swipe of his massive tentacles. Then he moved away.
The fat woman spoke. “I guess that tells us then don’t it…”
One by one her companions nodded and as they filed out of the aquarium Maria got the feeling some sort of secret pact had been signed. For a moment she shivered, then she forgot the woman as Big Orange came to the glass to stare out at her with his impenetrable eyes.
“Why you smash the thing, big boy?” she asked idly. She almost fell to the ground when she felt his response like a wave of the salty water in his tank.
“Bad thing. Voodoo thing.”
Maria swallowed the bile that rose in her throat, but she was made of stern stuff and knew what to do about voodoo bitches on her patch.
“Okay, big guy, leave it me.”
The octopus regarded her pleadingly before dropping to the bottom of the tank and pulling his weedy nest tight about him. Maria dragged herself away and hurried about Big Orange’s business with her sandals slapping on the damp tiles. First she went to the keepers’ lodge.
“Broken crockery in da big orange man tank. Some crazies been throw a muppet in dere.”
“Dios Maria. You go for get a mambo…”
“I goin’ man.”
But first she had to beard the Director in his den. She tapped briefly on his office door.
“Come.”
She poked her head into the room, meeting the icy blue eyes of Doctor Magnus Thorssen. He was a tall, thin Swede who was noted for his acid tongue and his lack of respect for local traditions. Many of the local girls sighed after his chiselled cheekbones and sea blue eyes. Maria, who would have been ashamed to her bones to run after a broni, wouldn’t even admit to herself how this man made the blood sing in her veins – even if he did have a stick so far up his ass it shoulda come out of the top of his neatly barbered head.
“Trouble in octopus tank. People thrown bad stuff in there. I be going for help.”
Then she shut the door and ran before she could be caught drooling.
Maria went as fast as her sandalled feet would take her to the snug little home of her mother’s sister. She tapped respectfully on the door.
“Who that?”
“Is Maria, tia Benita. There be trouble at the aquarium. Big Orange smells bokor magic.”
“You sure chile?”
“I am.”
“Then I’s coming.”
Benita was not at all what popular imagination thinks of a voodoo mambo as being – she was far from skinny, had all her own hair, and didn’t mumble one bit. She was, in fact, a tall handsome woman of some fifty summers with a round good natured face and a lot of gold teeth. She smiled easily, but right now looked far from pleased. She swept out of her house, followed by a positive river of acolytes carrying gourds and pouches and all manner of arcane goods.
“Maria. You just come along us now.”
As one person the acolytes glared at Maria, who laughed at their jealous malice, but Benita turned a wrathful face on them.
“Anybody wants to be questioning my decisions, now would be a good time to run…”
The sulky ones subsided and the whole group made good speed to the back entrance of the aquarium, where the director awaited them. Maria worried that he was there to bar their entry, but he actually held out his hands in welcome.
“My thanks. I don’t know what has been happening, but I do know that the air in here tastes bad and smells foul. And the pieces of pottery the keepers are pulling out of the cephalopod pool make my hair stand on end.”
Benita pursed her lips in thought. “That don’t be good. You gonna need to close off the area.”
“Done already.”
The scientist and the voodoo woman eyed each other in silence for a moment, but the quiet was far from confrontational. In the end Benita spoke.
“How brave you be, skinny white guy?”
“Honestly, I don’t know. But this place is in my care so I will stand up to be counted.”
“That be good enough.” She turned a jaundiced eye on the small crowd that had already formed and addressed her acolytes firmly. “I gonna open da portal. You lot to guard. Nothin’ comes in. But I be sending stuff out. You gets that.”
The young ones nodded.
“Maria. You gets to go in the water with the big guy.”
Maria swallowed, but accepted her aunt’s words.
“Skinny white guy, you is with me.”

Jane Jago

There will be more from Big Orange and the Mambo Woman next Sunday…


My Generation Revisited

People always put us down
Just because we’re st-still around
The things we did don’t get extolled
Hope I die when I’m v-very old

They want us to just f-f-fade away
Young folk blame us every day
We tried to make this world a b-better place
But we’re told we’re a disgrace

My generation, my generation’s still here today.

Why don’t you all f-f-face the truth?
We did our best with all the proof
Where we fucked up, so would’ve you
Now stop the blame game, you know it’s true.

We tried to make the world a b-better place
But now we’re told we’re a d-disgrace
The things we did don’t get extolled
Hope I die when I’m very old…

E.M. Swift-Hook

One of the poems you will find in In Verse, a collection of poems by Jane Jago and E.M. Swift-Hook.

Weekend Wind Down – Druid

Gwion Yfans was an imposing figure but not really what Dai had imagined an Archdruid to be like. He realised he was probably over-influenced by too many viewings of ‘The Conquest of Ynys Mon’ where white-robed figures with beards growing to their naked toes, stood waving staves, bellowing curses and sending wave after wave of zombified Britons against the brave and gallant Roman legionaries who opposed them. 
By contrast, Yfans surprised by his air of normality. He welcomed them into his comfortable villa on the outskirts of the village of Llanwddyn, nestled deep in the lovely valley of the River Vyrnwy. 
“Call me Gwion please, Submagistratus – I would be honoured if you did so. Delighted you have come by. Please, please come in. I do apologise for the mud on the driveway, I have been having a new swimming pool and pavilion style garden house built out the back.” He held an arm out like a signpost towards a door at the back of the entrance hall. “I have honey and cinnamon cakes fresh baked and will have some brought through to my winter room.”
The man was indeed tall and bearded, but his beard far from being long and tangled, had been trimmed to a discreet length that still allowed the shape of his jawline and chin to be seen. His clothing was perfectly normal, even erring slightly on the side of fashion. He was also younger than Dai expected – perhaps in his early forties at most.
“I regret we are not here for a social visit,” Dai explained trying not to think about food. It suddenly seemed much too long since breakfast. “This is part of a vigiles investigation.”
Yfans put his head on one side looking for all the world like a curious bird.
“Oh? Official? Then perhaps my study instead. Come this way. Oh sorry, I should have warned you about that step. Are you alright?”
Dai rubbed his head where he had stumbled off the invisible step and hit his head on the low lintel of the doorway beyond.
“Just fine,” he lied.
If Gwion Arfan was a disappointment for an Archdruid in appearance, his study more than made up for it. There were shelves of old books and two beautifully carved harps. The air carried the scent of old leather and paper with a slight undercurrent of dried ink. The chairs were wood carved and the huge desk looked as if it had grown up out of the floorboards. The sole concession Dai could see to the modern world, was a case on one wall containing some particularly ancient looking books and scrolls. It was sealed shut and had humidity and temperature readings on a small panel to one side.
Afran gestured politely to the two chairs which were closest to the hearth, where a few logs burned and settled himself into the large chair by the desk, swivelling it around first to face his guests, who remained standing.
“So what can I do to assist you two gentleman? Oh, my manners, Saturnalia Optima to you both.” His smile boarded on the patronising. Dai felt his jaw tighten.
“We have reason to believe you were celebrating the solstice on the night before last, in the company of Cariad Llewellyn.”
Afran laughed.
“Well, of course I was celebrating the solstice. It goes with my job description – giving spiritual counsel to those of my faith, maintaining and honouring the traditions of Druidism and celebrating major Druidic festivals. But I was not in the company of your sister – is she of the faith? I would have assumed since she has married Rome she professes Roman creeds – as you do, Submagistratus.” He lifted his voice in a very slight interrogation.
Dai ignored the question – or dig.
“So where were you and what were you doing?”
“I don’t think I need to speak of my religious practices to satisfy the curiosity of the Roman authorities. It is enough for you to know that my religion is not one on the prohibited list and I am, thus, free to practice it as, when and where I choose.”
“No one is challenging your right to practice your faith. But I do need to know where you were practicing it the night before last.”
“I don’t see what busi-”
This time it was Bryn who stirred.
“Archdruid, it would grieve us to have to take such an august and respected member of the community to the vigiles house for further questioning. But if you will not co-operate…” Bryn added his most sinister smile.
Arfan looked between them as if weighing up his options. Then he sighed.
“It is not secret. You will find it on my webpage in fact. I was at Bryn Cader Faner. I arrived there in the late afternoon – before sunset – and remained there until dawn. If you doubt my word I can offer you the names of at least fifty people who will be willing to testify to the fact.”
Dai did not doubt that he could do so, whether he had been there or not being moot.
“And you were not in company with Cariad Llewellyn?” Bryn asked.
The Archdruid shook his head and looked slightly non-plussed.
“I already told you, I was not even aware she was of the faith. But you must recall there are other – less organised – groupings which also profess to follow my path.”
Gritting his teeth, Dai pressed on.
“Cariad herself has been heard to-”
“To what? Mention me by name?” The expressive face adopted a look of disbelief. “I don’t think that is possible since we have never met. But why all these questions?”
“Cariad Llewellyn went missing the night of the solstice and the two men with her for her protection were murdered.” Dai watched the other man closely as he spoke. The expected shock and horror came.
“But – but that is dreadful. Terrible. I am so sorry for your loss.”
For a moment Dai felt chilled despite the warmth from the logs in the hearth beside him.
“My loss? My sister is missing. We have no grounds to believe her dead also. Unless you know different?”
For a moment the careful mask of the Archdruid slipped and something of anger seeped out, serpent like, before it could be snapped back in place.
“Are you accusing me?” he hissed.
“No one is accusing you, dominus,” Bryn said soothingly. “We merely want to know any information you might have which could help us trace Domina Llewellyn or uncover the killer of her guard.”
“Then I regret your journey here has been wasted. I know nothing about either matter.” He got to his feet and  crossed to open the door of the study, holding it open to make his meaning clear. “I will not delay you from your enquiries any longer.”
The air outside tasted clean to Dai and he did not regret leaving the warmth of the villa.
“Nice place,” Bryn observed, “and all paid for by his loyal congregation, according to my Gwen.”
“Generous of them.”
“Very. Some are that poor the tithe he demands can cost them an empty table.”
Dai stopped still and grabbed Bryn’s arm.
“You are serious?”
Bryn nodded.
“Of course I am. It’s just they are afraid of what will happen if they don’t pay. They might be cursed for neglecting their duty to the old ways. My Gwen says the last Archdruid was a very different man. Had a humble house where everyone was welcome and did not trouble anyone but the most wealthy for their tithing.”
Dai released Bryn’s arm and carried onto the all-wheel, feeling profoundly troubled. It was as Bryn was firing the engine to drive them home another thought occurred.
“So does your Gwen pay-?
Faex no!” Bryn jarred the gears and shot Dai a disbelieving look. “You can’t think Gwen would fall for that kind of daft superstition?”
Dai said nothing. It was all superstition in his book.

From Dying as a Druid, one of the Dai and Julia Mystery stories also found in The First Dai and Julia Omnibus by Jane Jago and E.M. Swift-Hook

The Devon Train

In Devon, the railway runs right by the beaches
Past small sandy inlets and bright golden reaches
Then follows the river whose tides are so steep
Over salt-smelling marshes and waters so deep
In summer the sea is as blue as the sky
And reflects the white seagulls as they hover by
But in winter the waves crashing over the line
Carry the feeling of wildwind and brine
And over the railway the white salty spume
Collects in a way that defies any broom
In Devon the railway runs right by the sea
Which is almost as nice as you think it might be

©️jane jago

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