Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Treachery of words

Some words seem to have the power to pick you up on their strong wings and carry you off to beautiful realms.  But beware - ride them too far and they'll capriciously let go, abruptly dumping you into a place you'd rather not be.

On a crossword-driven voyage through the dictionary, I stumbled across 'Rosa-solis: a cordial, originally flavoured with sundew juice, afterwards with various spices [Latin, rose of the sun]'

Lovely, eh?  Sounds delicious.  So I looked up sundew.

'Sundew: an insectivorous bog-plant.'

Oh well.


  1. Probably okay if you add some ice cubes and a stick of celery.

  2. How did you know about the celery?

  3. "Take of the hearbe Rosa-Solis, gathered in Iulie one gallon, pick out all the black moats from the leaues, dates halfe a pound, Cinamon, Ginger, Cloues of each one ounce, grains halfe an ounce, fine sugar a pound and a halfe, red rose leaues, greene or dried foure handfuls, steepe all these in a gallon of good Aqua Composita in a glasse close stopped with wax, during twenty dayes, shake it well together once euerie two dayes. Your sugar mutt be powdred, your spices brused onely or grosselie beaten, your dates cut in long slices the stones taken away. If you add two or three graines of Ambergreece, and as much muske in your glasse amongst the rest of the Ingredients , it will have a pleasant smell. Some adde the gum amber with coral and pearle finely poudred , and fine leafe golde. Some vse to boyle Ferdinando bucke in Rosewater, till they haue purchased a faire deepe crimson colour, and when the same is cold, they colour their Rosa solis and Aqua Rubea therewith."

    Invigorates the heart & stirs up lust. Is it in Nigella's latest?

  4. Oh yeah, and filtered through a newt's bladder into a goblet carved from the tusk of a narwhal by the light of a gibbous moon, no doubt. Not to mention the celery. I've gone off the stuff.

    Coming soon - Grape Vodka!

  5. Laughing aloud over here. Shot of tabasco will sort things out.Oh, and make mine a double.