Where did that come from? : Grog

Ever wondered where the word « Grog » comes from?

Well, for all of you who have a curious mind, or for those who love languages and the origins of words and expressions, here’s a brilliant book: The Etymologicon by Mark Forsyth (publisher – Icon).

The author takes you on a twisting & tortuous journey through the English language, with lots of funny asides.

Anyway, back to the Grog.

Apparently, a certain Admiral Vernon of the Royal Navy used to wear a thick coat made from a coarse material called grogram (from the French gros graine.) So his men nick-named him « Old Grog ».

Admiral Edward VernonBritish sailors used to have a daily allowance of rum. In 1740, Vernon ordered that the rum be watered down. This eventually became standard fro the whole navy and was called grog.

Of course, if you drank too much, it made you groggy.

Vernon also has other things named after him, but I’ll leave you to find that out for yourselves.

Meanwhile, you can get an idea of the style of the book if you visit:


Have a nice weekend!





Review of « Roll ‘n Go »

A « Thumbs-Up and Thank You » to Gwilym Davies for this latest review of Chantimor’s CD: « ROLL ‘N GO »

« The success of groups such as Fisherman’s Friends has reawakened interest in England’s sea chanty tradition.   The songs are easy to learn, fun to sing and can involve a large number of people.  Chantimor is a group of 11 Brits living in Brittany which is certainly an area where live music is appreciated.  Their CD consists of 20 mainly well-known sea chanties, accompanied by melodeon, fiddle, whistle and drum, with some instrumental pieces thrown in for good measure.  The songs are mainly sung in a straightforward style, with one person leading the songs and the “crew” joining in the chorus, with harmony lines.

It is clear that the group are having a good time, and make a happy, joyous sound without too many frills and produce a sound that is very typically English.  From their website (https://chantimor.com/) it is clear that they are finding favour with venues in Brittany who will appreciate their fresh, enthusiastic approach, and even if the locals do not catch all the words, the atmosphere of the songs will come across. »

Gwilym Davies


For more information about Gwilym Davies visit: http://www.cmarge.demon.co.uk/gwilym/


armistice14-18 la guerre est finie

Le 11 novembre 1918, à 11 h précises, les cloches sonnent partout en France pour annoncer que les combats ont cessé. Un armistice a été signé, à l’aube, entre l’Allemagne et les Alliés vainqueurs, mais en France comme en Angleterre la nouvelle n’a été annoncée qu’à 11 h du matin.

On 11th November 1918, at 11am precisely, French time, bells started ringing throughout Frace to announce that hostilities had ceased. An armistice had been signed at dawn between Germany and the Allies, but in France as in England, the news was not announced until 11am when the cease-fire came into effect.

signature de l'armistice1918Les généraux allemands et alliés se réunissent dans un wagon-restaurant aménagé provenant du train d’État-Major du maréchal Foch, dans la clairière de Rethondes, en forêt de Compiègne.

German and Allied representatives met in the restaurant carriage of a train belonging to Maréchal Foch, the Allied Supreme Commander, in a clearing near Rethondes in the forest of Compiègne, north of Paris.                                                                                                                                                                                  480px-Waffenstillstand_gr        Maréchal Foch, who drew up the non-negotiable conditions of surrender, is seen here standing, with his aide Général Maxime Weygand on his left.

The United Kingdom was represented by British naval officers: First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Rosslyn Wemyss on Maréchal Foch’s right, Rear-Admiral George Hope and Captain Jack Marriott.                                                       

L’idée d’un moment de silence à l’occasion de la célébration de l’armistice au Commonwealth fut suggérée en premier par le journaliste australien Edward George Honey dans une lettre au journal London Evening News en mai 1919. Il avait proposé au départ un période de 5 minutes de silence qui fut jugée trop longue et une minute trop courte, finalement 2 minutes furent adoptée.

The idea of a moment’s silence on the occasion of commemorating the armistice throughout the Commonwealth was first suggested by Australian journalist Edward George Honey in a letter to the London Evening News in May 1919. He originally suggested 5 minutes of silence, but as this was considered too long, and one minute too short, finally the 2 minutes silence was adopted.

On 7 November 1919, King George V proclaimed « that at the hour when the Armistice came into force, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, there may be for the brief space of two minutes a complete suspension of all our normal activities … so that in perfect stillness, the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead. »