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July 2009 - Is Your Oven From Oban?

Mr S of Edinburgh, apart from being overjoyed, I'm sure, at getting his mention so early on in this month's edition, will be one of the very few of my viewers to have the slightest idea of what the heading, above, is all about.

Now, I could explain it all immediately to the tens of thousands of others of you who are, currently, totally confused, but that would spoil all the fun, wouldn't it?

No, I'm going to leave it till a bit later on, I think; after I've rambled aimlessly on for a paragraph or fifty about everything else, or, to be slightly more precise, little else.

It's one of those months again, you see.  We're up to the last weekend before publication day and, thus far, not very much has caught my eye to either grumble or enthuse about.

Oh yes, Mr S did come up with this amazing idea for detailed discussion and in-depth analysis, but with no disrespect to his good self, it's just not the sort of subject that is going to produce one of those messages at the bottom of my screen warning me that it will take over 20 seconds for you to download the page at 28.8 bicycles per hour, whatever that means.

Does anyone still download stuff at 28.8 bicycles per hour, anyway?  I expect there's some way, somewhere in the depths of one of the menus, to make the machine tell me how long the page will take in our lovely new, modern world, but I'd need to think about it for a little while to decide if I'm really all that interested in the first place.

Could that have been a digression already?  Ah, I must be on good form this month then!  And I haven't even bid you all a warm welcome yet, have I?  Shall I even bother with a welcome yet?  No, perhaps not.

It's actually been incredibly difficult to decide on a subject for this month.  As aforementioned, nothing much has caught my eye and I'm certainly not going to waste any more valuable space in the world wide spider's home on either the demise of Mr J of Los Angeles or the possible triumphs of Mr M of Wimbledon.  Sorry, better make that Mr M of Scotland.  If I dare to accuse him of being English, he'll probably sue me.

In any case, Nick Harvey certainly doesn't want to be accused of being part of the "bloody media" by one of the other Mr Hs of Wiltshire, so best to keep off certain subjects, I think.

Actually, it's turned out rather lucky that I'm putting fingers to keyboard for this load of old rubbish so close to the deadline, otherwise I suppose I'd have had to do a late edit to make some mention of the dead chap in America, a bit like they had to do with EastEnders the other night.

Why they bothered is totally beyond me.  Mind you, what malfunction of my mind just made me think he was worth a second mention is also beyond me, so let's change the subject somewhat rapidly, shall we?

I see Mr R of north Wales is in!  He's firmly rooted to his favourite seat in the third row as usual, adjacent to the sweet smelling lady in the the beige cardigan.  You know, I'm beginning to wonder if she's his mother?

I should perhaps clarify, for the grammatically pedantic amongst you, that that would be a reference to a lady who smells sweet and not a sweet lady who sniffs a lot.

For fear of upsetting himself, I'd better not mention the election again.  I seem to have stirred up a little unrest in his row with something I said last month about favouring a party just a teeny weeny bit to the right for his sensitive sensibilities.

I shall put all this confusion down to the heat, you know.  Well, this fortnight was bound to turn into a heatwave the moment they put a lid on the Centre Court, wasn't it?

And if Nick Harvey starts talking about putting lids on things, then it's likely to take us back to last month again and the expenses of the elected members, so perhaps that's another subject to avoid like H1N1 influenza.

I understand, by the way, just as an aside, a minor digression don't you know, that we're not allowed to call it swine flu any more because it's thought, by the loony lefties, sorry Mr R, oh, and Mr S of south Wales, to be unfair to pigs.

Heaven forbid that pigs should suddenly become more equal than others!

Why do I get this funny feeling that I'm rapidly digging myself a rather deep hole here?  Would it, perhaps, be sensible to retreat to Oban about now and get myself out of all this trouble?

So, madam, how exactly do you pronounce the name of the thing that you stick the meat in every Sunday morning?  Oh, and welcome, by the way, to the July edition of Nick Harvey's Comment.  We're actually starting now, I'm sure you'll be pleased to learn.

The question was raised in another place, no, no, not the one with the new chap sitting in the only seat that's got arms, you know, the one up one end of the place, no, yet another place, where a few of you, including Mr S of Edinburgh, dare to tread, about that thing you stick the meat in and how exactly you get your mouth round it.

So it's pronunciation which is being popped under Nick Harvey's jolly old, Acme microscope this month.  Or, to be more precise, inconsistencies in the pronunciation of the same letter in various words.

If you pop back up to the top of the page for a minute and read the heading again out loud, is their any difference between the way you pronounce the "O" in Oven and the same letter in Oban?

If there is, and I suspect that to be the case in approximately 94.5221478375% of cases, then can you please explain why there is an inconsistency in your pronunciation and exactly what logic drives same?

Oh yes, and while I remember, back with the dead chap in America for a brief moment, why on earth did the hospital spokesman, or whoever he was, have to say that the paramedics were called at approximately 1.14pm?  Surely 1.14pm is pretty bloomin' precise in the first place, isn't it?  Wasn't the poor guy quite sure whether it was 1.14 and 8 seconds, 1.14 and 11 seconds or 1.14 and 13 seconds perhaps?

What, I need to know, however, is of what consequence the difference of a few seconds is to those simply consuming the "bloody media"?  Surely, if you're going to be approximate in the first place, then "approximately quarter past one" or even "about one o'clock" would have sufficed?

But, anyway, I seem to have digressed again.  What a surprise.  Meanwhile, plot at the back.

Your answers, if you please, to the question which has suddenly become five paragraphs ago, on the back of the usual ten pound note, and one in colour please, Mr H, the bank are still refusing to honour the one you sent me last month, to the usual address.

It is round about here, dear viewers, where you might just start to understand the reason for the interminable preamble to this month's exciting episode.  You see, the incredibly knowledgeable Nick Harvey doesn't actually know the answer to this month's question, so there's little more for him to say on the subject really.

If we'd started in with the main thrust, right back at the top of the page, then the whole thing would only have lasted a handful of paragraphs and you'd all have gone off slightly disappointed with July in Comment-land.

As it is, at least I've bestowed a few other gems of geniality upon you, so, hopefully, you're not going to go away too unhappy with the whole event.

Next month will definitely be better, however.  You can trust me on that, just like you can trust my Council Tax expenses claim for approximately 249.99 for the corner of the room I use one day a month to write this load of old rubbish.

August the first it shall be, then, for the next one.  Please make sure you join me punctually for the proceedings.  You never know, by then the rest of the "bloody media" might have nearly finished talking about the dead chap in America.

Don't buy any plastic toys for the children in the meantime; you never know what they might have been recycled from.  Right, I'm off, where's me black tie?

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