Chi ding myself for having googled "pronounce Greek letters"

I wish I hadn’t. I found myself observing an entertaining discussion forum on the subject of “fee” versus “fie” The English tend to say fie, whilst it’s fee in Greece. But then someone mentioned that it depends on the next letter. I looked further. As soon as one person assured me that chi was pronounced “see”, another said it was “kee” or, ideally, “khee”, with the kh pronounced as a Scottish loch.

I give up. I’ll do what I want and I’d already, many years ago when Al was 15, discovered it was too late for me to learn ancient Greek as I’d spent a geeky childhood wanting.

So, today I looked after Squiffany and Pugsley again, as their mother was doing tattooing at the village school Christmas fair. Tattoo transfers, obv. It was very busy and everyone was having fun. For the first time in my life, I entered Father Christmas’s grotto (I don’t say Santa Claus because I’m English. I don’t shorten it to Santa because once in a while I prove to be a crashing snob). We think it might have been the real Father Christmas, which was quite unexpected, because he had a real weather-beaten red nose and chin that were, undoubtedly, natural and not painted on. Squiffany had told me that he has stand-ins at this time of the year, which seems entirely reasonable.

For the last ten years, at least, there have been silent auctions at school fairs. One year, someone did sterling work in getting gifts and vouchers from local businesses, and it seemed a pity to put them all into the raffle, which had lots of prizes anyway. The Sage suggested a table-top auction, with written bids and a time limit and the then Head was doubtful that it would work, but it brought in a lot of money and they’ve done it ever since. I spent £50 on my three winning bids (a day for two at a Norwich hotel’s swimming pool, sauna and jacuzzi, a pair of children’s shoes of your choice from excellent Norwich manufacturer and a £20 voucher from the clothes shop in town that I often shop at anyway). I gave Dilly the spa voucher and she plans to invite Weeza I think. She also wants me to give the shoes voucher to Weeza as Zerlina grows out of her shoes so quickly.

We came home with a basketful of other goodies, including whole lots of homemade cakes. I’m afraid that the Sage and I, and Dilly when she arrived back, overindulged rather. I could hardly walk by then and was glad of comfort food. I’d been on my feet for several hours, without a stick, and although it doesn’t hurt now, and I may well walk fine tomorrow, I’m glad I phoned for that appointment on Monday. I’m going to get operated on as soon as I can.

My mind is, of course, already toying with what music to listen to, if I do have an epidural. I shall be asking for suggestions. I’m quite sure that Dinu Lipatti will be included but I haven’t thought further yet.

20 comments on “Chi ding myself for having googled "pronounce Greek letters"

  1. sablonneuse

    Goodness, I really must try to read my favourite blogs svery day as there was quite a bit to catch up on. Your mother was very wise over food wasn’t she?
    As for pronouncing Greek letters I suppose it all depends whether you’re thinking ancient or modern. It’s like the difference between classical and ‘Church’ Latin I suppose.

  2. mago

    “chi” – I learned to pronounce it as, well, “ch”: Chairete. I am sorry, I am unable to project them Greek letters here, my dos-handbook is long gone. As Franconian I have no difficulty with this sound.
    Music for an epidural? Why not compare Lipatti’s interpretation(s) with Agerich’s? Bachs Kunst der Fuge? Some Dowland. A Doors-sampler would propably go well with the morphine. Satie or Glass to help with self-suggestion, Avo Pärt for praying.
    Honestly I can not imagine such a situation and would simply trust my anestheticist.

  3. Z

    I don’t know enough to differentiate between ancient and modern pronunciation, I’m afraid. I have got the “ch” sound fairly well nailed myself, having had Dutch au pairs as a little girl and a father educated in Scotland.

    Thank you for the musical suggestions. I’ve also just remembered the CD of Schumann lieder I bought after hearing Christian Gerhaher at Aldeburgh in the summer. I think he might suit the mood too.

  4. martina

    I was going to jokingly suggest Bad to the Bone by George Thorogood and the Destroyers.
    Honestly, do you like Hawaiian music? Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (10 points if I spelled that right) had a beautiful voice and his CDs have very soothing music.

  5. Z

    I don’t know much about Hawaiian music, so I googled him. 10 points indeed, Martina. He does has a lovely voice.

    Your card arrived, thank you very much. Has my postcard got to you yet? The ones to the children haven’t yet, although I put those in an envelope.

    I appreciate your trouble in looking up a band you’d never heard of for me, Dave. Have you listened to them yet?

  6. Christopher

    Lipatti would be just the man to bring out the deep, unassailable comfort of the E flat Nocturne, Op.55 No.2 – but if you’re wandering down this path I don’t think there could be any more rewarding companion than the Barcarolle, Op.60. I sometimes play the F minor Nocturne 55/1, and would happily make a private recording if it didn’t suggest a rather stormy, uncomfortable night, reminiscent at the very least of the cat jumping on you at 3 o’clock in the morning.

  7. Z

    Now, recordings from my friends. That’s the way to go. I wonder if Jonny B would let me have a recording of himself playing the banjo? Time was, I was half worth listening to on the clarinet, but sadly not now.

    As long as I could dream of the cat being thrown gently out of the window (which is how I dealt with the situation the only time it happened), I’m up for that.

  8. Sarah

    I used to have a ‘woman wot does’ (in the days before Lloyds underwriters…oh its’a long story..anyway) who always made cakes for the village cake stall, beautiful fruit cakes and and sumptious creamy, jammy sponges. But she wouldn’t let anyone buy them except us!! and she wouldn’t let us buy anyone elses cakes because she didn’t know where they had come from!! Now that’s snobby!

  9. Z

    I had a friend who ran the cake stall who always tipped us off as to the best cakes to buy. And where my mother used to live, there was someone whose cakes were quietly hidden and eliminated by the person who’d seen her kitchen.

    It’s the comments that are the best part, aren’t they, 4D?

  10. Blue Witch

    Contemporary culture isn’t part of my lifestyle.

    Seconds Dave’s sentiment 🙂

    So pleased you’re going to go ahead with the op sooner rather than later.

  11. Z

    This morning I listened to The Tragically Hip. This afternoon I’m listening to the Mahler lieder I downloaded last night after talking about Christian G. I’m something of a flitterer and will give anything a go.

    Yeah, it’s the right thing to do. I’m dealing with the prospect best by being gung-ho about it – another sort of denial, but better than worrying.

  12. Z

    Sorry – Christian Gerhaher. I referred to him in my first comment (which is comment 3) and was too lazy to write twice a name I can spell but don’t actually know how to pronounce.

  13. martina

    Yes Z, I emailed a thank you. It is grey and very cold here. The card somehow makes me feel warmer and ignore the furnace going on every half hour. Thank you again.

  14. Christopher

    Sorry too – I should have picked this up. But don’t you find Mahler lieder – apart from some of the Des Knaben Wunderhorn – calculated to make you and everyone about you bloody miserable?

  15. Z

    Yes, thank you Martina – I hadn’t checked my hotmail accounts this morning. I’m sitting in front of a lovely log fire at present!

    So I’d always believed, Christopher, before I heard CG in August and was abruptly converted. In any case, Mahler was one of my Composers To Get To Grips with this year. I had been struggling with this, I must admit.

    Anyway, what’s wrong with misery? Embrace your misery, I say! Choose misery and you will never be disappointed again, but you will often be cheered by unexpected happiness.


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