seeing red…..

Bounty Bar cake – recipe from

There are, in my life, two new era defining acronyms to add to the familiar BC and AD, to wit BS and AS, which demarcate those periods in time before and after the advent of the saviour, aka Spellcheck ( interestingly, Spellcheck has just denied the existence of “saviour” which is a bit worrying). In the ancient time of BS I remember being as an immortal in that it seemed impossible for me to incorrectly spell a word in Egnlish…and there it is….. the wax drips from the melting wings of my keyboard as I spiral down into AS, a red slash of a wound waiting to bleed beneath my failure. One click of a mouse on the bloody line and that which was Egnlish is reincarnated as English. The intimate linkage of hand, pen and paper allows a direct flow of knowledge from brain to page without the intervention of another intelligence or the inconvenience of mastering a keyboard. I have minimal hand to eye coordination which defect, at school, determined that I should be banned from the cricket pitch, where I could quite easily be killed by bat or ball, and be resigned to the river where I would become the smallest rower in the history of the school and where, with any luck, I would disappear, hopefully unnoticed, into the murky waters thus avoiding bringing any more shame on the alma mater. I mention this failing as a computer makes similar demands in that it requires my fingers to accurately type on a keyboard, obscured from view, leaving my eyes to judge that the chosen letters are appearing, as chosen, and in the correct order on a screen some distance away from my hands and my person. The tactile intimacy of pen and paper is lost but convenience is gained. Welcome to AS, where convenience outweighs intimacy to such an extent that the computer empowers me to tap out words that will allow me to share intimacy with a complete stranger whilst sparing me the inconvenience and  misunderstandings that may result from a real life encounter, such as being mistaken for a fortune hunter or a white slaver, and, above all, without any misspellings. It was such a double “s”, as in the word ” misspelling”, that led me to begin this diatribe, or, more honestly, the mistaken belief that such a double “s” existed in the word “dessicated”, which of course it doesn’t: but I didn’t know that until SC, red in tooth and claw, slashed its disapproval beneath my attempt and led me to the desiccated light. Had I not decided to make the wonderful Bounty Bar Cake, that I discovered on Fork and Pixel, the packet of desiccated coconut that had lain at the back of my store cupboard since BS, or even longer, might have continued to lay therein for many more years, steadily desiccating to an irredeemable ( I didn’t spot the double “r” in that word until I saw red) dryness when all that would remain would be the plastic bag emblazoned with “Desiccated Coconut” to remind the finder of how to correctly spell that which once lay within. I suppose that’s the point of gravestones.

About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
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42 Responses to seeing red…..

  1. Sally says:

    On a very unscientific straw poll of all the design agencies I’ve ever worked in, my conclusion is that very few creative people can spell. It was always distressing to me as I’m a very good speller (so by default not creative?).

  2. margaret21 says:

    I used to be a faultless speller. No more. But at least I recognise when Spellchecker is being a bit off the planet. Try ‘panforte’. It will insist on ‘pianoforte’.

  3. Nadia says:

    Spellcheck can be so frustrating especially as I am constantly switching from French to English!!!

  4. lulu says:

    I try and remember to check spelling before I send a message because SC sometimes changes not only the spelling but the entire word making it totally incorrect. There is nothing incorrect about your photo!

  5. Mad Dog says:

    …and I was expecting a post on black pudding.
    The worst ting about spell check is the increasing Americanization, but I suppose one can blame the keyboard for Tourette’s. All that BS and AS nonsense is complete BS 😉

  6. Drives me bananas – or platanos – especially when switching between English (not American English of course!) and Spanish 😦

  7. MELewis says:

    In defense (not defence) of American English, I would just like to point out that it is, indeed, English. Canadian being a hybrid somewhere between the two, I like to think of myself as mid-Atlantic. But I do detest those who claim owners’ rights over my native tongue! ;-P

  8. Francesca says:

    I also have difficulty in this age of AS with American spelling,especially the substitution of z for s, leading to an array of red underlining and reminding me of the red biros kept for that task when teaching Italian and English in a former life. My current spellchecker allows me to continue using ‘our’ for labour and favour, and ‘mm’ in programme, but many Australians have sadly gone down the American path with these words.
    My brain, hand co-ordination is also odd- with many a ‘teh’ appearing for ‘the’, a simple word that I would never misspell if handwritten. Keyboard dyslexia I suppose.

  9. Eha says:

    Am also on a QWERTY and may I suggest all those not having to ‘find’ the very common Estonian vowels of ‘õ’, ‘ä’, ‘ü’ and ‘ö’ without spending an entire evening ‘correcting’ one’s letter are quite lucky in comparison!! Otherwise I seem to use something called ‘English – Australia’ and don’t get misunderstood all that often 😀 !! American English: well, according to ‘My Fair Lady’ such an entity does not exist . . . don’t bombard me – I am only a ‘messenger’ . . .

  10. ardysez says:

    I’ve always been a good speller and have a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art so really, that should disprove the above theory that creative people can’t spell. I was told once that I didn’t ‘look’ like an art major, though….whatever that means. Delicious looking cake, was it?

  11. Sue says:

    Love your rants!

  12. ChgoJohn says:

    I say forget about killing the lawyers … well, maybe delay their execution. Instead, bring me the heads of Spellcheck’s creators.

  13. Your stories are always insightful and amusing. Your photos stunning.

  14. Why is it that desiccated coconut is one of those ingredients that just lays around? When I was moving last year, I reluctantly tossed a bag that had previously made the move with me from London – and that was more than five years ago!

  15. Off yer head Rog. I like it!

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