Monday, 23 February 2015


Conversations - Part 1 of 4 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Train seats
Sit down, relax and keep talking.
The person behind is studying shorthand.
Recently I was travelling across London on the train. My seat faced backwards and after a while my eyes needed a rest from the rapidly receding buildings and trees. Then three talkative lads* boarded the train and sat a few seats behind me. The lively conversation was mainly on the merits, failures and career prospects of various footballers. I thought I would follow my own advice and visualise some of it in shorthand. I am usually successful at this when it is a television or internet broadcast. However, these lads were so intent on voicing their opinions to each other that the sentences came out in short and very fast bursts, no doubt to get their point over before one of the others butted in with a counterclaim*. A slow talker would not have*stood any chance of finishing his sentence! Their speech was terse, clipped and abrupt, mostly phrases and exclamations more than complete sentences. The rapid-fire delivery and the difficulty of making out every word precisely made me give up on the shorthand exercise. The arrival of a few expletives was my cue to "tune it out" but I did muse on what might happen if a shorthand writer did get it all down and decided to read it back to them, swear words and all.

* Insert the vowel in "lads" and "ladies" to prevent misreading

* "counter" is doubled but written this way here in order to join to the next word

* "would not have" Write separately, to prevent it looking like "would never", or, if it has already been written, insert the vowel in "not" to clarify

Conversations - Part 2 of 4 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Train at platform
I Spy a train full of dictators
Having changed trains, the next conversation that filled my end of the carriage was between three children playing a game of "I Spy" - I spy with my little eye something beginning with T. Well, it had to be train or tracks or tunnel. I followed the game, unable to not listen, as it was all going on right behind me. After a while the rules changed slightly as they started giving the first sound of the word rather than the letter of the alphabet. They were young enough to probably not be quite sure of every spelling, or at least an older child would do this so that a younger one could take part. The other problem was that the train was moving, but this made it more of an interesting challenge that spiced up the game. If one of them spied something while the train was stationary*, then the others had to guess it quickly before the scene slipped away. Sure enough, several of the responses were, "Too late" followed by the answer. As long as all three had their opportunity to be the quizmaster, they were all happy. Later on the game mutated into spying things consisting of two words, such as tall building, factory door etc. The game had run its course as these longer versions were all but unguessable, especially as the objects themselves were whizzing past out of sight.

* "-ary" when it means not moving, liked a pARked cAR, "-ery" when stationery means papER

Conversations - Part 3 of 4 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Information boardMy third attempt at amusing* myself with the surrounding words was to write in mental shorthand the constantly repeated announcement giving a list of destinations. This was not as easy as it first seemed, being almost entirely place names which needed more thinking about than normal sentences. I could either follow the announcer's voice or look at the information board with the scrolling list of stations. The board was not easy to follow as it was further down the carriage and the words formed by lighted dots moving from right to left* were hard to read rapidly. The voice was much easier but I think I would have done better if I had actually been writing them on paper, not being distracted by dotty words or surroundings, and I am sure I would have written most of them in two or three pieces, one mark for each syllable.

* Always insert vowel in amazing/amusing and derivatives

* Omission phrase "right (to) left"
Conversations - Part 4 of 4 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Station clock at Uxbridge
Countdown to success
(Uxbridge Station, SW London)
The easiest way to practise when the overheard conversations are too fast is to pick on random words or phrases, either all the simple well-known ones or perhaps just the ones that you think you would hesitate over if writing for real. The train or bus is the ideal place for practising shorthand in this way. If there are no conversations going on, then shop and road signs can all be translated* into shorthand as they come into view. This particular variation should improve each day, as you pass the same shops and signs over and again. Many business names make an effort at writing by sound, in order to arrest your attention with the strange spelling, but you now have the satisfaction of writing the true version, and can thank them for helping you think only of the sound and not the wayward English spelling. In your warm and comfortable train or bus seat, you will be able to give yourself lots* of brownie points for getting ahead with the shorthand, making good use of the spare minutes and maybe even shortening the apparent length of the journey, as well as shortening the time taken to achieve shorthand fluency and skill. (803 words)

* Omits the N "tra(n)slated"

Insert the vowel, so it does not look like "masses" which has the same meaning

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Short Letters 2

See Short Letters 1 (9 January 2015) for intro on ways to use these passages.

Short Letters 2 - Part 1 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Dear Sir, Thank you for your enquiry regarding taking out a maintenance contract with us for your office and warehouse premises. I have enclosed our estimate sheet which gives an approximate idea of the annual costs for various levels of maintenance and size of buildings and area covered. Our estimator would be happy to visit you to survey the premises in order to* submit a tender for the contract. We can offer a discount if you decide to commit to a longer-term contract and we hope that you will be able to take advantage of this. We have operated this business very successfully for the past 25 years and are confident that we can supply you with a first rate* service at a reasonable cost, as confirmed by the excellent feedback we have received* which you can read on our website. I look forward to hearing from you. Yours faithfully (150 words)

* Omission phrases "in ord(er to)"  "firs(t) rate"  "we have (re)ceived"

Short Letters 2 - Part 2 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Dear Mrs Murray, I am writing to thank you for your recent letter and the enclosed donation towards our work with disadvantaged children and young people in our city centre. We are very grateful to all our supporters who help us carry on this valuable work. I attach our latest newsletter which describes the progress of our projects, and we are delighted to report that the new club building is now complete, where we will be able to help train young people and improve their prospects of gaining employment. There will also be an area where younger children and their parents can come, so we can help them apply for government grants for their* education and housing needs. We are also excited about our new project to provide short holiday breaks for the families, which they could not otherwise afford. Thank you once again* for your kind generosity. Yours sincerely (150 words)

* "for their" is written with full outlines, "if there" is doubled

* Omission phrase "o(n)ce again"

Short Letters 2 - Part 3 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Dear Mrs Clark, Thank you for writing to me about the delays you have experienced with the building work to your side house extension carried out* by our operatives last week. I have spoken to them and to our site manager, who has informed me that this problem with the foundations was entirely unforeseen at the time that our survey and estimate were prepared. It is not always possible to know what will be found when excavations start, but we always endeavour to inform our customers of variations required in the work and provide immediate information on the extra costs or delays that may result. We estimate that the work of moving these pipes will take an extra half day's labour, and I attach a revised quotation that includes these costs. If you have any further concerns or require any amendments, please do not hesitate to contact me. Yours sincerely (150 words)

* Special use of halving "carri-dout", more examples at
Short Letters 2 - Part 4 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Dear John and Joan, I am writing to invite you both to the opening of our new restaurant in Green Road. We are looking forward to meeting up with all our long-standing customers and friends who have supported us at our previous premises in White Lane. The event will take place in our spacious new dining and conference room, with drinks and nibbles buffet provided. There will be a speech by the manager and some of the staff, followed by a celebration meal which we hope all our friends will enjoy. The invitation is to yourselves and two children if you wish to bring them, so please let us know how many of you wish to come. In parting, we are giving out a book of discount vouchers for future meals with us, with sweets and a balloon for each child. Looking forward to hearing from you soon. Best wishes* (150 words)

* "wish" is a downward Ish, but upward in this phrase in order to join

Short Letters 2 - Part 5 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Dear Sir, I am writing to congratulate you on the excellent service I received at your store last week*. I had bought a set of clothes to wear to a wedding, but when I got home and inspected them, I found some faults with the sewing and had to return them straight away. As the wedding is coming up very soon, I was concerned* I would not be able to find replacements in time, but your staff member Jackie was extremely helpful and offered to find an identical* set as soon as possible. She contacted the other store straight away and made arrangements for the dress and jacket to be sent over immediately. I spent an hour shopping elsewhere and when I returned the items had arrived. Nothing was too much trouble, and Jackie really saved the day for me. Please pass on my grateful thanks to her. Yours faithfully (150 words)

* Omission phrases "las(t w)eek"  "I was (con)cerned"

* Contraction "ide(n)tical"

Short Letters 2 - Part 6 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Dear Mr Brown, Last week* our members had a meeting to discuss the new financial arrangements that are now in operation for Grays Lane Sports Club. We are delighted that this will mean we can now get on with the new building work and the summer's events. Mr Black has volunteered to oversee the changeover and we trust that under his direction this will all go very smoothly. I have attached a report of the meeting, which was very well* attended, and fortunately everyone was in agreement over our future plans. We were also able to draw up a schedule of events for the coming year and we hope that these will result in increasing our membership and providing a better service for those who wish to enjoy sports in our area. Please let me know if you have any suggestions or comments that will improve our service. Yours sincerely (150 words) (Total 900 words)

Omission phrases "las(t w)eek"  "very (w)ell"

Thursday, 12 February 2015


Sea edge
Tides - Part 1 of 4 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Sea tractor Burgh Island
Burgh Island 1981
I was watching a television programme the other day about the tides around the British coastline*. The beach scenes and shots of sea and waves were interspersed with chats with those living and working there. As the presenter was talking to a fisherman on his boat out in the bay, the man said that phrase that everyone is familiar with, "Time and tide wait for no man." Instantly my mind turned, of course, to shorthand, and I think the same would occur to anyone with a different interest or hobby that needs instant action or reaction. In my case, the speakers who would never wait were my shorthand teachers, as they always went faster than was comfortable, so that we did not get lax or lazy. With some skill in hand, these difficulties were not so apparent at work, unless someone was reading from their scribbled notes, which was not often. Like the sea, there is no holding back the torrent of words, and you have to either be prepared or get out if you don't want to drown!

* Full strokes for "coast" to enable it to join

Tides - Part 2 of 4 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Newquay waves and rocks
Newquay - Shortly after
This reminded me of a holiday we had in Cornwall many years ago. We took a day trip to Newquay which has several beaches separated by small cliff promontories. When the tide is out, it is one long strip of sand, and we wandered round the little headland to the next beach. When we saw that the tide was coming in, a little way off, we turned back to retrace our steps, not wanting to take the longer and less interesting route of continuing up the second beach and making our way back along the cliff top road. It was only a few yards to get round that corner, and although we started off walking on damp sand, within a minute we were splashing through the incoming ripples. Behind those tiny advancing wavelets was a huge expanse of grey sea that had no intention of letting us keep our sandals dry. The view in front of us of yellow sand, deckchairs and distant shops and car park* was much more attractive than the view behind us of rows of waves of ever-increasing height as one looked farther* out. I did not enjoy having crossed the line from being by the sea to being in it - an ever moving boundary, one that has to be predicted and avoided.

* "park" on its own has full strokes

* Distinguishing outline, compare "further" which is doubled. Farther refers only to distance, further refers to distance, subsequent/another, additional/more

Tides - Part 3 of 4 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Trevellas Cove Cornwall
Trevellas Cove, Cornwall
Later on in the seaside television programme they were looking at an old mechanical tide prediction machine, that could be fed information and produce tide tables for any place in the world*. The presenter talked to a lady who had worked there for many years before it was discontinued in the 1960's. He commented on the neatness of the index cards that contained the data*. She said that neat handwriting was essential, as accuracy was paramount, and that mistakes were not tolerated. This last phrase fairly jumped out at me, as one of my shorthand tenets, learned at college, although with much less serious consequences than issuing an inaccurate tide table. The necessity for accuracy was not an added extra because the lady and her colleagues were especially keen at their jobs, but an indispensable  and immovable part of their work, never to be disregarded or neglected*. I am sure that if they had the slightest doubt about anything, it would be checked and verified until it was perfect. In shorthand this attitude is the only one that will bring constant improvement as well as the approval by an employer of your error-free work. Wrong outlines have to be tolerated for the sake of* getting something down and it is easier to allow them during note-taking if you know you will be sorting them out later, so that they do not trip you up again.

* Omission phrases "in (the) world"  "for (the) sake (of)"

* Small dash through a contraction signifies the past tense

Tides - Part 4 of 4 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Burgh Island helping the tide come in
The moment captured
Burgh Island 1981
On another seaside holiday on the south coast of Britain, we visited Burgh Island near Plymouth, which can be reached on dry sand at low tide. When the tide was in, a sea tractor conveyed visitors across to the island. We walked back in good time, but stood a while looking at the waters creeping very slowly round both sides of the island, waiting for the moment when they would meet. With holiday-makers and eager children watching intently, the two leading edges approached each other and were a minute away from meeting. At that moment two children decided to intervene and rushed in, and with their hands started quickly scraping two small channels between them*. The waters were desperate to join up and knew exactly what to do, rushing along the shallow groove and meeting with a bit more force and splash than they would otherwise have done. I am sure they spent that night making plans to come back the next day and repeat the performance, probably with a few more minutes in hand, in order to dig a bigger trench. I took a photo and called it "Helping the tide come in". The sea had not been stopped but it had been controlled in a small way - the vast ocean altered in its course using nothing but hands. (853 words)

* Omission phrase "betwee(n) them" Tide prediction machine

Sunday, 8 February 2015


Habits - Part 1 of 7 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot
Many years ago I would avidly read the cartoons in the newspapers. I had no interest in the political ones that wanted to make a point, but I did enjoy the gentler ones that were light-hearted observations on the quirks of everyday life, with an innocuous and inoffensive humour. One of the fluffier publications not only had cartoons scattered throughout but also had an entire page of them. I had my favourite* artists who managed to encapsulate whole personalities and reactions with a few deft strokes of the ink pen, and I greatly admired their skill in using the minimum of lines and detail. Even though the figures were wildly unrealistic in shape and proportion, this did not matter, as it was the situation that was being presented, and the distortion had to make up for the lack of real time movement. I would cut out and keep those that I really liked, in order to revisit them another day. I particularly enjoyed those with no caption, where the situation, postures and expressions told it all without the need for words.

* Compare "favoured" which has the Vee the normal way round

Habits - Part 2 of 7 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

One of my favourites was a short strip where the husband comes home from work, hangs up his coat, and, in the last frame, is seen in the act of sitting down onto thin air, with the appropriate whizz lines drawn in, expecting there to be an armchair behind him. His words were, "Darling, you've rearranged the furniture again!" The wife is standing by with a surprised and apologetic look on her face, as she sees the unexpected consequences of her day of fun playing around with the furniture. I looked back at the first two frames and noticed the husband's cheery face, glad to be home from work, and, like a film with a teaser, I now knew this was not to last more than the next half a minute. Then I filled in the rest of the story, how she would move things around, he would finally get used to it, and then it would all happen again. Maybe another day the kettle and teacups would be in a different place, or the socks moved to another drawer and be impossible to find in the early-morning rush. I have done all this myself, having been both perpetrator and victim of the urge to rearrange, and had the annoyance of expecting things to be found where I used to store them.

Habits - Part 3 of 7 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

I am sure beginners in shorthand will recognise this scenario. New habits are being learned, but if you drop your guard and allow the hand to fall into its former habit, it will revert to longhand. If you interrupt it, it will then do neither longhand nor shorthand, and just wait in mid-air while you provide the alternative shape that you want written. The problem with this is that the outline does not always come to mind as quickly as needed, if at all, and the poor old hand is caught between two masters - old habit and new instruction. Clearly the new instruction must become a habit, equal to or stronger than the old one, and this can only happen if the action is done repeatedly. Thinking, considering, pondering over and agreeing with the page of rules in the book, and even reciting them, are not actually doing. The same thing applies to wrong outlines that are left uncorrected, they become ever more difficult to root out, the more they are written.

Habits - Part 4 of 7 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

CCTV notice
Let no error escape capture,
correction and cure
The desire to romp through the chapters at lightning speed has to be curbed, and plenty of practice and review undertaken, not only to consolidate what has already been learned but also to form the new habits of reaction and movement, so that they come easily and quickly. I know from experience the temptation to rush ahead which would leave the previous sections half learned and the passages and dictations getting ever harder, as the memory burden increases. Fortunately I was in a college class so the pace was set by the teacher, and when I went to speed-building evening classes, it was entirely up to me* to work between classes to ensure I got the best out of them, which meant reading my notes and working on problems that had surfaced. Practice on the current chapter needs to be thorough not cursory, with regular review of previous chapters, to ensure it all becomes familiar, well known, and, dare I say it, boring, meaning that difficulty and novelty have been drained from them. Only constant actual writing will do this, creating habits of mind and fingers - that is, instant responses* - that can completely replace the ineffective juggling act of memorising.

* Vowel inserted, so it is not misread as "to him"

* Vowel inserted, as this outline is also the one for "responsibility"

Habits - Part 5 of 7 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

The way to form shorthand habits is to write shorthand regularly, so that the strength of the new habit equals that of the longhand. Reading is also important as it increases knowledge of outlines. Fortunately longhand is too well entrenched to be threatened by this additional system, but I did find that I was increasingly frustrated with the excessive time and effort* it takes to write it - it fell out of favour with me and rapidly lost its former prime position. I found that the fight between longhand and shorthand only occurred at the very beginning of learning, and quickly faded, but some might find it surfacing during a fast dictation - it all depends on how strict and firm you have decided to be with yourself. In a real life* situation it might be your last resort to write a difficult word in longhand, as gaps and errors are not acceptable when you are entrusted with the task of producing a report, but in studies the pull to fill in with longhand must be firmly resisted, as it can only undermine and contaminate the gaining of the new habit.

* Omission phrase "time (and) effort"

This could also be an omission phrase "rea-life", using upward L

Habits - Part 6 of 7 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Site notice "Caution uneven surface"
A propensity to check
paper quality before
every meeting or exam
I have assembled a selection of definitions of the word habit and, like the related word inhabit, this is where the shorthand learner and writer should make their habitation - where they live and stay all the time. A habit is a tendency or disposition to act in a particular way. It is an acquired behaviour pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary. It is a recurrent, often unconscious, pattern of behaviour that is acquired through frequent repetition. It is a learned behavioural response* that has become associated with a particular situation, especially one frequently repeated. Here are some more words that describe this most useful part of our make-up -  an established* custom, a usual practice, a manner, mode, routine, tendency, inclination, predisposition, proneness, propensity, frame of mind, fixed attitude and second nature.

* See note para 4

Short dash through a contraction signifies past tense, advisable here as it could also be read as "establishment", as the sentence consists of a list

Habits - Part 7 of 7 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Train tracks
Pitman's Shorthand is made up
of curves and straight lines
My favourite definition is rut, which led to the invention of railway tracks, and it is difficult to imagine a cartwheel* or train wheel departing from the groove that has been made for it. Having a one-track mind is necessary when writing shorthand and for periods of study, as long as it does not descend into a fixation, impulsion or obsession. All this allows us to send actions down to our endlessly* willing, well-trained, faithful and obedient servants in the Habit Department, leaving our higher mind free to consider* other things and take our place as ruler of all we survey - which I hope at the moment* is a desk, shorthand pad, pen or pencil and a book open at the exercise page, ready to be studied, copied, recorded and taken down in smoothly flowing shorthand. If you can manage all this at a fairly slow speed, it is only a matter of time before force of habit leads to being* able to write at ever higher speeds, with no loss of accuracy, neatness or legibility. (1282 words)

* "wheel" is written thus to obtain a good join

* See for distinctions between endless/needless/ly

* Omission phrases "to (con)sider"  "at (the) moment"

* Based on the phrase "to be"

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Martian Bombshells

Martian Bombshells - Part 1 of 9 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Mangled shorthandIt is easy after a long day of working in front of the computer screen to find one's eyes beginning to close all by themselves. You only know about it when they suddenly spring open again some moments later. I was recently searching to find the plans for the rebuilding of my local shopping centre, when my tired eyes were arrested by the unexpected arrival on the screen of a page of cryptic writing. The unfamiliar squiggles seemed to rearrange themselves in my brain and I quickly typed a transcription before it disappeared. So, with a few grammatical corrections, here it is, an amazing archived report from our friendly neighbourhood Martian newspaper. Fortunately for us, they have unwittingly provided some good shorthand practice in the art of dealing with dictation "bombshells", that is, those difficult words buried amongst the simple ones, for which no outline of any sort comes to mind, resulting in shorthand paralysis and confidence-denting gaps, or worse. Practising all the awkward outlines before taking it from dictation should prevent you from falling by the shorthand wayside.

Martian Bombshells - Part 2 of 9 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Earthlings Time Machine - Readers of The Martian Chronicle will be interested to know that our National Organisation for Space Survey Advancement (NOSSA) has been sending us reports of an Earth Time Machine that is being tested in an undisclosed terrestrial location that Earthlings call Kent England. Our roving cloud-covered Earth cams picked up the extraordinary visual, acoustic and vibrational activity a few weeks ago* and our scientists immediately relocated some of the geostationary observation vessels to the area to make additional recordings of the disturbances.

* Omission phrase "few wee(k)s ago"

Martian Bombshells - Part 3 of 9 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Demolition wall crunching machine
Feeding frenzy
The Earthlings seem to have reversed time in a small rectangular area in an unassuming shopping centre, apparently taking it back to a prehistoric era, possibly Jurassic or even Cretaceous, resulting in the demolition of certain of the central buildings. A huge rock strewn sink hole has appeared and fierce steel dinosaurs have emerged from its murky depths, eating up the buildings and chopping the fragments into a pile of amorphous rubble. The noise of these monsters has been picked up by several of our satellite audio and vibration sensors, enabling us to pinpoint the cataclysmic event and so focus the Earth cams with greater accuracy.

Martian Bombshells - Part 4 of 9 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Wall crunching closeup
Megadontosaurus Lithoraptor
We are not sure whether the dinosaurs have been enticed into consuming the buildings, or whether the Earthlings have accidentally created an earthquake which demolished them, with the giant theropods emerging from the past via a Time Hole and merely taking advantage of their new surroundings. One theory is that the creatures are pulling the buildings apart looking for prehistoric insects, worms or maybe bees nests where they can find energy-rich honey in large quantities. A powerful waterspout, released by the Time Machine, is dousing the rubble at regular intervals, and although the dinosaurs do not appear to drink very often, at least the water spray is keeping the demolition dust levels down, which enables our long-range camera lenses to record the action quite clearly.

Martian Bombshells - Part 5 of 9 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Caution signThis scene of controlled destruction is contained within a perimeter fence of white-painted hardboard, with plastic notice sheets pinned at several places stating that workers inside the experimental area must wear hard hats for their own protection. Little perspex windows have been made in the boards, so that the shoppers can observe the behaviour of the dinosaurs and report any creature nibbling the retaining fences, or run for cover in the event of an attempted breakout. The indigenous Earthlings are all walking up and down past the fences very calmly and continuing with their food gathering, which has led our sociological scientists to theorise that the resourceful Earthlings are either very resilient and adaptable, or extremely obedient to their leaders, or possibly it is just that getting the bread, milk and eggs from their local supermarket is much more* important to them at this cold time of year, when their priority is stocking the larder before the icy winds start to blow again.

* Omission phrase "much mo(re)"

Martian Bombshells - Part 6 of 9 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Water dome souvenir
Our Crystal Dome souvenir
with model of feathered dinosaur
Once the dinosaurs have exhausted* their food supply in this small area, we suspect* that they will be immediately despatched back to the past, and we would not be in the least surprised if the residents started to rebuild their environment. They already have pictures displayed in prominent* locations of how they would like it to look in the future, including new shops and a cinema, and this has led to some of our more imaginative reporters guessing that it is all a gigantic stunt by a film company to advertise their new entertainment facilities, with their first feature movie obviously being of the "Dinosaurs invade the world" variety. We are at a loss as to why the inhabitants want to watch scary films, when their entire planet is a beautiful green and well-watered paradise, unlike our dry rocky world where all the greenery has to be grown in tiny quantities under crystal domes and our scarce water reserves* have to be augmented by supplies extracted from passing comets.

* "exhausted" The short E vowel dot is the only sign not written inside the Ses Circle

* "suspect" The contraction is only used for the verb

* For "prominent permanent pre-eminent" see

* Keep the final hook and circle small, so that it does not look like "resources" which has a similar meaning

Martian Bombshells - Part 7 of 9 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Building site rubble
One of our reporters offered the outlandish theory that the Earthlings’ local council has found that using dinosaurs from the past is a brilliant way of saving money on demolition contractors’ charges, and as a result they are now able to afford to replace it all with a smart new pedestrian area containing seats and trees, where the hunter-gatherer shoppers can rest before they resume their search for essential supplies and bargains. We have not yet located the Time Machine, but we do suspect that they are actually storing it somewhere in the past, along with its operatives, and that it is scheduled for return when the demolition is complete, and they will then send the dinosaurs back to their normal Mesozoic jungle habitats.

Martian Bombshells - Part 8 of 9 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Ipod and notepad
Astronomy student
about to start homework
Our Earth cams are recording all that takes place in meticulous detail, in order to* produce a complete historical record of this highly interesting venture. The pictures of progress are being streamed live to our technical colleges*, so that our students can produce their own reports and summaries, which will help them with their final theses at the end of their courses. We are very grateful to the industrious Earthlings for providing such a wonderful educational spectacle for our inquisitive youngsters and, once it is all finished, we will be showing our appreciation by visiting the area in disguise and spending some Earth money tokens, to help their economy and keep the shops in business.

* Omission phrase "in ord(er to)"

* Omission phrase "tech(nical) colleges"

Martian Bombshells - Part 9 of 9 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Mars-like marbles
Mars before: with water   Mars after: without
Note our recent discovery that
 the fabric of space is actually knitted
If you are wondering how we will get Earth money tokens legally, that will be solved by bringing with us some of our industrial waste gold nuggets* for sale in the local market. We will form them into keyrings, phone cases and bottle openers, so that they are more attractive to the buyers. We will then spend the metallic and paper money tokens on that most precious commodity, bottled water, which amazingly* is available in large quantities at very low cost in the supermarkets. This will delight everyone back home on our dry dusty planet. One thousand bottles will be presented to the Monarch, one hundred to the Heads of Area Government, and fifty as prizes to our best pupils on the Astronomy, Science and Interplanetary Relations course at the Higher Martian Technical College*. Watch this space for further updates and a chance to win one of the bottles of water in our upcoming competition. Follow the  link below to see a picture of what we believe is a diagram of the control panel of the Time Machine. (1244 words)

* "ingots" uses full stroke T instead of halving, to differentiate it

* Always insert the 2nd vowel in "amaze, amuse" and all derivatives

* Omission phrase "Tech(nical) College"