I’m a big fan of lifelong learning. What, you guessed that already? In fact, I’m taking a workshop in literary translation this very afternoon. But I don’t think that lifelong learning is just about taking classes and courses. I think it’s about hanging on to your enquiring mind. Always looking for answers and explanations and interesting tidbits (from ‘tyd bit – a special morsel to eat last’) of information to keep you warm in these freezing temperatures, brought to you courtesy of Storm Darcy (which turns out to have more balls than the name would ever have led me to suspect).

I learned a lovely new Dutch word this week: sneeuwjacht (snow chase or hunt). It’s used to describe snow drifting at less than wind force 6. Thinking about the word ‘hunt’ reminded me of a game called ‘Hunt the Thimble’ which in turn made me look up the etymology of the word ‘thimble’. It actually comes from ‘thumb bell’ and thimbles were first manufactured by a Dutch person called Lofting, in England in 1695.

I don’t think you see many thimbles these days, but the word lives on in the expression: a thimbleful of …. well, generally, of alcohol. But I’m extending Dry January until there’s something special to celebrate. And when that happens, it won’t be with a thimbleful!