The odd-job man came round this morning so I spent an hour scurryfunging before he arrived.

No, neither of those words remotely means what some of you are thinking! The odd jobs are not odd in the sense of strange or peculiar, maar odd in the sense of occasional.

And the wonderful old word ‘scurryfunge’ comes courtesy of colleague Janet Roodbol who brought my attention to it. Once in common use in England in the 19th century, ‘scurryfunge’ means that rushed tidying of the house just before a last-minute or unexpected visitor arrives. In my case, basically any visitor. As a hardened ‘scurryfunger’ (which says everything my housekeeping, but nothing about my translating😉) I would like to suggest that we reinstate the word. I know I’m not the only scurryfunger here by a long chalk!

Interesting fact about ‘not by a long chalk’. It’s only every used in the negative; it’s never ‘by a long chalk’. The same applies to ‘no laughing matter’, ‘no rest for the wicked’ and ‘not for all the tea in China’.

It’s a bit like ‘I couldn’t care less’ which, bizarrely enough, is apparently used in the positive as well. I mean, if I could care less, then I must care quite a bit now whereas if ‘I couldn’t care less’, I really don’t give a jot, or one iota (the least part of anything).