… and an excuse to post another photo of a gooseberry.
As I was checking on the way dictionaries expressed the pronunciation of ‘gooseberry’, I found a few interesting uses of the word.
It is, or was, possible to have gooseberry eyes, which are, so they say, dull and grey, like boiled gooseberries! Or how about a gooseberry wig, which is large and, apparently, ‘frizzled’. Most people have heard of playing gooseberry, but to play old gooseberry was to cause havoc or mischief, ‘Old Gooseberry’ being the Devil himself!
There are also still a few gooseberry shows around the country, such as the famous one at Egton Bridge in North Yorkshire, which started in 1800. Somehow I don’t think the ones in my garden would qualify, but they still look good to me!
I seem to recall that the single gooseberry produced by my plant last year turned a deep red, so possibly more gooseberry ramblngs to follow…
I’ve only got one gooseberry plant; it’s in a fairly small container and has been sadly neglected. Every time there’s a hint of a breeze in the wind tunnel that is my garden, it topples over. But now it’s rewarded me with some of its glowing green gems, so I know I have to repay it by finding it a new and safer home.
On the subject of the gooseberry – how to pronounce the word? One of the dictionaries I consulted tells me it’s:
‘gʊzbəri or ‘gʊzbri
but it could also be
(Apologies to experts if I’ve typed these inaccurately: it was quite difficult to find the right symbols.) I remember my grandmother using the first pronunciation, but my mum uses the last one, as do I. However you pronounce the word, they’re delicious!
I bought some old gardening books recently; this one in particular caught my eye because it combines two of my interests: plants and language.
It contains some fascinating information about the origin and meaning of plant names.
I know all this can probably be found easily on the internet, but it’s much more exciting somehow to read it in a book from 1923.