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Thursday, November 09, 2006

A Matter of Taste

We had a vast `two family’ roast vegetable dish over the weekend. A similar dish over the summer had segments of nasturtium thrown in for seasoning.

Our family has divided opinions over the nasturtium. My wife thinks upon it as a weed. I have to beg for a segment of the garden. When the plant gets too big towards the end of summer it can only be hacked at and severely reduced.

The strange thing about the nasturtium is that it flourishes in poor soil. No self respecting nasturtium plant likes an abundance of fertiliser. It does not like to be over watered. It just likes to be left alone.

Every now and again we see television shows with bright young children engaging in the act of a spelling test. In some eleven plus examinations, as some parents know, the ability to identify spelling, grammar and punctuation errors is tested.

A syllabus is prepared for GCSE and `A’ level examinations. What happens if a syllabus is prepared for 11+ English examinations? Suppose the 11+ examiner is an acknowledged authority on the Wild Flowers of Britain and Europe?

We will be able to teach words like nasturtium. To me the word sounds and looks nice. A sort of `feel good’ factor word.

A word like trifoliate should also be easy to teach as it means with three leaflets.

The spelling of a world like `saprophyte’ would be more difficult. It would, however, be easy to remember the meaning as a plant lacking in pigment and feeding entirely on decaying matter.

While I would be quite content to throw a nasturtium into a meal I must admit I would think twice about using a saprophyte in a favoured dish. Examiners must have the same feeling about some words.

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