Thursday, 24 September 2015

Can't And Won't

Can't And Won't - Part 1 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

White-faced Woodland Sheep at Mudchute City Farm, London
Can't get my neck any closer
I can’t think of any good reason why you can’t learn to write fast shorthand. Longhand can’t keep up with people speaking at normal rates and you can’t always have a screen or keyboard to type on. You can’t really get very far without complete notes at college and you can’t remember everything that everyone said at a meeting, even if you did make brief* notes of a few points. You probably can’t get away with writing abbreviations for words all the time, as later on you may find that you can’t remember what you meant. You certainly can’t run the risk of a new abbreviation, created on the spur of the moment, clashing with an existing one. Unfortunately one can’t know about it until after the event, when one is left wondering what those few hasty letters meant.

* Always insert the vowel in "brief" to ensure it is not misread as "number of"

Can't And Won't - Part 2 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Jacob Sheep at Mudchute City Farm, London
Couldn't decide what
colour to wear
I couldn’t imagine not being able to take proper* notes. It couldn’t be easier once you have learned the system and you couldn’t find a more reliable system than this. But I must mention that one couldn’t really expect it to perform unless it is written correctly. Someone might ask, couldn’t I just scribble something near enough. I couldn’t agree with that at all, as you couldn’t get away with producing a letter, report or minutes that were not completely right. You couldn’t expect an employer to put up with that and my guess is that he or she couldn’t resist finding someone else to do the job in future!

Can't And Won't - Part 3 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Gloucestershire Old Spot Pig at Mudchute City Farm, London
Won't stop eating
I think perhaps some people won’t want to spend time learning, and so they won’t get the benefit of a very quick system of writing. What they won’t realise is that they are already spending lots of time on their slow longhand. It all depends on what you will or won’t tolerate and how much you think it will or won’t be worth the effort of learning. Some people won’t be convinced and it won’t be a surprise to realise that many people won’t be remotely interested, like you and I are, and they won’t be competing with us to see who can write the fastest.

Can't And Won't - Part 4 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Cockerel at Mudchute City Farm, London
Wouldn't want anyone
to stay asleep
I wouldn’t want to put you off and I hope that you wouldn’t think that shorthand is a very difficult subject. The thing is, a person wouldn’t give up on something that will make things easier in the long run, and they wouldn’t let anything get in their way. As for us, we have decided that it wouldn’t be in our interest to abandon our studies and that we wouldn’t want to look back on our time and wish that we had continued with it. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to remember getting to a certain speed that seemed very fast at the time, but now we wouldn’t consider it fast at all.

The animals are all from Mudchute City Farm, London

Can't And Won't - Part 5 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

I can’t think of a better way to improve your skills and I hope that you agree that you couldn’t find a more successful way to exercise your brain. You won’t regret practising your fast reactions and I am sure you wouldn’t swap your shorthand studies for anything else, now that you are seeing great improvements over when you first started. It won’t be long till you leap over the hundred words a minute* hurdle and “can’t” becomes a thing of the past. (550 words)

* Omission phrase "words (a) minute"

Can't And Won't - Part 6 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

can, cannot, can’t
could, could not, couldn’t
will, will not, won’t
would, would not, we would not, wouldn’t

Apostrophied abbreviations like above should always have the vowel inserted, especially “can’t” which must have the vowel to distinguish it from “cannot”. See

Friday, 18 September 2015

Misspellings 3

Misspellings 3 - Part 1 of 7 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Here is Part 2 of this month’s* misspellings list. The narrator Mr Speller seems to have had quite a time of it and is totally unaware that the events of his week turned out the way they did merely to provide material for others to practise their writing. Maybe it is better that he does not know this and that he continues to think it is all happening by chance! On the other hand*, I think really he would be delighted to know his activities have helped someone in their quest for advancement* of their skills. The only way to improve spelling is to read reliable text, and to be diligent in looking up anything that is in doubt. When you see the same word spelled* different ways in the same article, especially those online, you know that it is time to hit the dictionary shortcut on your browser and check it out. I have a button on my bookmarks bar for the website shown in the link below, as that site combines definitions from several other dictionaries for each word. However, it is very easy to wander off into related words and other interesting snippets of information and it does take some strength of will* to just look up the one word and get back to the matter in hand.

* Omission phrases "of this (mon)th's"   "on the oth(er ha)nd"

* "advancement" When "-ment" cannot join, just "-nt" is used instead e.g. announcement, achievement, pavement. Disjoining the Mnt stroke would be "-mental"

* "spelt" uses upward halved L

* The noun "will" is always written in full. The verb "will" in phrases can be shortened to just the L stroke.

Misspellings 3 - Part 2 of 7 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

The most insidious spelling error is the one you have no idea you are making. Using “Autocorrect As You Type”*  will be masking these from your view. Even worse, your incorrect spelling or mistype may be replaced with another word that is not at all what you intended, and because the replacement is a correctly spelled word, it will not be flagged up or be obvious when you read through, and even less noticeable if someone else is proofreading for you. For the purposes* of improving spelling, it would be better to just let the computer highlight these misspellings, so that you can see which words need working on. Simple mistypes need attention too, by forcing the fingers to slow down and form certain combinations of letters more slowly until the fault is corrected. Consistently typing wrong versions will teach the fingers to repeat it ever faster each time. These wrongmovements need to be eliminated before they become entrenched, with fingers obediently mistyping words despite your mind knowing what the correct version is. I have found it useful to always retype the whole word, in order to* retrain my fingers, rather than just backspacing to make the correction.

* The wavy underline shows that this is a whole longhand phrase

* Omission phrase "for (the) pu(r)poses"  "in ord(er to)"

* "wrong" It is helpful to insert the vowel, as here it could be misread as "writing"

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

Mr Speller’s diary for September. At long last I had a whole week free in which to catch up on activities. I opened my mail and the innocuous looking envelope contained an invitation to get my inoculations at the clinic. The rest of the mail was full of irrelevant junk mail and invitations to make irrational purchases of things I don’t need. I have the intelligence not to make such irreparable dents in my bank balance. It’s just a matter of choosing wisely. I decided to spend my morning’sleisure hours at the library in order to* become more knowledgeable about repairs, ever since my garage was struck by lightning*. I now have to do some maintenance on it, as I am still having to manoeuvre* my car around the debris and the postman is still finding it necessary to negotiate the broken gate. I don’t think I shall keep any of the fragments as a memento.

* "morning's" The dash for "-ings" is used for both plurals and possessive

* Omission phrase "in ord(er to)"

* "lightning" without an "e" is the noun; lighten, lightened, lightening is the verb“It has been thundering and lightening all night, and everyone heard the thunder and saw the lightning."

* US = maneuver

Misspellings 3 - Part 4 of 7 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

I then spent two hours of the afternoon working on my favouritepastime, my miniature railway and painting all the miniscule figures, as well as the railway station signs ensuring I did not misspell them. It reminds me of past times watching the old steam trains. I then had a visit from my rather mischievous niece who occasionally comes by after school. Later on I saw a police official visit the occupant of the house next door who had unfortunately omitted to lock his door. This omission had resulted in a break-in and we think the burglar was particularly drawn to this house because of its highly noticeable parallel handrails that older people have. He has decided to write to his Member of Parliamentfor better policing.

* "favourite" Compare "favoured" which has an anticlockwise Vr, in order to distinguish these two

* Omission phrase "Member (of) Parl(iament)"

Misspellings 3 - Part 5 of 7 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

I have come to the conclusion* that my garden should not be a permanent wasteland* and I took some hours drawing up different permutations that would be more to my preference. It is preferable to consult a reference book for recommendations on particularly hardy plants. The planting will be preceded by preliminary foundations for the paths, laying out the principal shapes and working on the principle that flowers are better than weeds and pigeons. I will proceed with this plan. It is regrettable that it has come to this state but having read the relevant books, I am sure that with this plan and the use of some proprietary products, it will soon look reasonably tidy.

* Omission phrase "come (to the con)clusion"

* "wasteland" omits the T for convenience

Misspellings 3 - Part 6 of 7 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Next day I had an unaddressed letter purporting to be from a professor of psychology enclosing a questionnaire. There were some ridiculous and surprising questions* such as how I choose a restaurant and what type of sandals I wear. I believe this is a sneaky repetition of a previous enquiry for marketing purposes* under the guise of consumer science. My shredder was out of action so I cut out my details with the scissors for security reasons. I knew the only sensible thing to do was to seize the junk mail and throw it in the bin with the other unwanted stationery. After a break for a cup of tea, it was a relief to spend an hour on the stationary bicycle, listening to the rhythms of the special twelfth anniversary brass band concert.

* Optional contraction "que(stio)n

* Omission phrase "marketing pu(r)poses"

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

The next thing on my schedule was to sort out my laundry, putting in the whites separately, and grouping similar fabrics together. I sincerely hope that this time I will not find the colours transferred from my red tee shirts and making highly visible marks on the white shirts. By midday I realised that I had left important letters unwritten, failed to vacuum the carpets, not yet ordered the gold sovereigns for my collection, omitted to deal with a vicious computer virus threat and forgotten to check tomorrow’s weather forecast, which would decide whether I would be going out or working at home. I am sure all this tyranny of the clock is unnecessary and undoubtedly, if it rains, I will be able to spend my time planning how to get everything done before the twentieth of the month, when I will have the privilege of returning to the office for some peace and quiet. (1109 words)

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Misspellings 2

Misspellings 2 - Part 1 of 8 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! BlogspotHere are some more words that are often misspelled. Apart from being shorthand practice in the less common words, the main benefit from these passages will be gained by typing the correct spellings, so that your fingers learn, as well as your memory. Unlike internet chat rooms, forums and comments sections, production of text in employment provides no opportunity for personalised or sloppy spelling or mistyping. When producing items for print, accuracy of the text is the highest priority, and you surely do not want to take the top copy off a pile of 10,000 print run and find an error with your name on it, or worse have it pointed out to you!

Misspellings 2 - Part 2 of 8 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

When I worked in an office, it was accepted that the person signing the letter or document, or signing off copy for print, had ultimate responsibility for its accuracy before sending it to the recipient or printer. I found that such staff were often only looking for obvious mistypes, and generally trusted the rest of it to be correct. The difference between your level of accuracy and that of others who are not so dedicated will be as impressive as having a high shorthand speed, and will be remembered in the future when projects come up that need to be done quickly and without the delays caused* by avoidable* errors. The following is the first half of my list, with the appropriate* words underlined.

* "caused" special outline, to differentiate from "cost"

* See "inevitable unavoidable" Distinguishing Outlines List 3

* "appropriate" insert diphone, to ensure it is not misread as "proper" which has a similar meaning

Misspellings 2 - Part 3 of 8 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Recently I took a week off from my work. My absence from the office would cause no difficulty, as the records are accessible by all the staff and they are well acquainted with procedures. I had made arrangements for them to complete the expenditure analysis papers and all the other ancillary*tasks, which would be needed in approximately two weeks*. I had already checked the text of the acknowledgement letters to ensure it was not ambiguous or full of vague generalisations and incorrect grammar, and instructed them to send it out.

* Omission phrase "two wee(k)s"

* "ancillary" L would normally go downwards after stroke N, but it is written upwards so that the Ray can join

Misspellings 2 - Part 4 of 8 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Monday morning came and I decided to fix the aerial which I had recently acquired. The work was aggravated by the changeable rainy weather, but it cleared up and the day soon became more agreeable. I began to ascend* the ladder* carefully* and I briefly wondered if this was an unsuitable job for an amateur like me. I looked online for an installer under the building category and made my choice. He consulted his calculator, offered a competitively priced quotation and made a commitment to come next Friday. The cable would have to come through the living room ceiling so I decided to move my collectibles to a safe place in case they were accidentally broken, and for some hours things were rather chaotic.

* "ascended" uses stroke N and halved D

* L is not doubled for -der when it is the only stroke in the outline

* "caref(ully)" Optional contraction

Misspellings 2 - Part 5 of 8 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

I had already committed to spend the Wednesday with my companion from college days when we helped each other with our dissertations. He is now working on a commission basis for a local company. We met at a nearby cafĂ© and I had to concede that his job was more interesting than mine which was mostly answering correspondence. His income was consistent and he said he always followed his conscience unlike some of his less conscientious colleagues. On the way home I called in at my local convenience store and bought some connoisseur wine with my courtesy voucher. The assistant was most courteous and I could find no criticism of the excellent service I received.

Misspellings 2 - Part 6 of 8 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

The following Monday I returned to the office and spent some timedeciphering the notes left on my desk, only one of which was crucially important. I might have been deceived into thinking that they could not do without me but that is definitely not the case. They all have descriptions* of their tasks so no-one can be deficient in their knowledge of what to do each day. It is a great deterrent against idleness and producing work with which I might be dissatisfied. I learned the necessity for an accurate task description* from my previous job where the boss was quite an eccentriccharacter, prone to drunkenness and an embarrassment to his staff who just wanted to get on with their jobs.

* "some time" = special use of halving "sumt ime"

* "description/s" The singular of this word uses a contraction, the plural has a full outline, see Distinguishing Outlines List2

* Doubling here produces a very convenient and quick outline, one would normally only use doubling for -ter, not -tr-

Misspellings 2 - Part 7 of 8 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

My staff emphasized how well everything went in my absence, especially when the Managing Director* called in on the Thursday to collect some essential papers. It is no exaggeration to say that*, without exception, they exceeded my expectations with their excellent work and the whole exercise resulted in a very productive work experience. I am contacting our accountant to ask if it is feasible for them to receive their pay rises immediately, without forfeiting any bonuses, as a reward for their extremely competent service, and I expect a reply from him by the fourth of next month.*

* Write the intersection in the order the words are spoken

* Omission phrases "ne(k)s(tmon)th"  "to s(ay) that"

Misspellings 2 - Part 8 of 8 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

The response soon came and fortunately it fulfilled the hopes of all the staff. I had successfully gauged their enthusiasm on this occasion* and helped them achieve the fulfilment of their wishes. I am very grateful for their co-operation, I have no grievance with their service and I feel sure* that I can guarantee superior output from my staff in the future. If they continue to be the guardians of their own success, they will become indispensable, reach the heights of excellence, dispel ignorance and eventually attain the highest level of hierarchy in this company. (883 words)

* "occasion" moves its shun hook to the other side in this phrase, to balance the circle S

* Omission phrase "I fee(l) sure"

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Tower Beach

Tower Beach - Part 1 of 5 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Tower Beach and Tower BridgeToday might have been spent poring* over a list of awkward outlines to produce another practice list for you and rearranging and looking up outlines. But no, something more interesting came up that just could not wait. I found out that today the Thames had a very low tide and that Tower Bridge beach in Central London would be specially open* for visitors to go down and look around. This only happens twice a year. We arrived at 12.30 and saw people queuing, receiving their leaflet (with instructions for health and safety, and expected* behaviour), and being “processed” for this short foray down to the beach. We read the instructions and were each given a pair of blue plastic gloves so that we could pick up objects safely. We had to sign a form stating we had read and been warned of the risks, and then we made our way down the granite steps.

* "pore" means study intently, "pour" means tip out a liquid

* Ensure clearly full length, as "opened" could also make sense

* Short dash through the last stroke of a contraction to signify past tense

Tower Beach - Part 2 of 5 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Noticeboard showing beach in use in 1952Tower Beach was created by order of King George V in 1934 for the families and children of London’s East End, most of whom could not afford to go to the seaside. Thousands of tons of sand were brought in by barge and deposited on Tower Foreshore*. In the next five years over half a million people enjoyed the new beach, lounging on deckchairs, having picnics, making sandcastles and taking a dip in the Thames. There were entertainments, boat rides, and food and sweets sellers. It closed in 1971 over concerns about the health risk of the river water. The Thames has been greatly improved since the nineteen sixties and although there are fish in it now, it is most uninviting and dirty looking, being a yellowish brown muddy colour, where you can see the silt* swirling around at the slightest disturbance beneath the surface. Only a narrow strip of sand remains underneath the wall.

* "shore" on its own has full strokes

* In other contexts, it might be helpful to insert the vowel, to ensure it is not read as "salt"

Tower Beach - Part 3 of 5 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Piece of glazed potteryWe visited it for the purpose* of getting some good photographs from an unusual angle, and record the beach and river in close up. Although we were not litter-picking or archaeology hunting like some of the others, it is just about impossible not to scan the ground in front of you for interesting debris. Amongst all the stones and pieces of masonry scattered over the gravelly* sand, there is lots of broken bright red brick and I did find a piece with a hole, so I think that might have been a roof tile. I saw one or two* pieces of broken crockery, and one interesting tiny piece of patterned pottery with a brown and blue glaze, which we left perched on a brick in the hope that the next person coming along would want to add it to their other finds in their plastic margarine tub.

* Omission phrase "for (the) pu(r)pose"  "one (or) two"

* "gravelly" Insert last dot, as "gravel" could also make sense

Tower Beach - Part 4 of 5 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Pigeons on beach
Another gold Roman coin,
wasting my time here, Pidgie
We did see one piece that will be of interest to posterity, a broken budget mobile phone with a rusted and mud-washed circuit board, and we decided that future searchers ought to have the chance of finding that! To tell the truth, we really did not want to poke about in the pebbles and pick up anything after all the warnings about the health risks of the water and mud. We could wash our hands but we would not be able to do that with the cameras and risk transferring anything later on to our sandwiches. We finally agreed that we had pictures of everything possible and returned back up the steps. Sanitising hand wash gel, big buckets of water and paper towels were provided for us to clean our hands.

Tower Beach - Part 5 of 5 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Granite steps up from beach
Although I will enjoy all the photographs, I can’t* help thinking that those looking for artefacts were having a much better time, with the excitement of finding tiny fragments from the past. Their eyes know what to look for and I am sure they see items instantly which we would never even have noticed amongst all the rubble and pebbles. Once correctly identified, the pieces will tell a story about the past in this part of London. I am sure they will begin wondering who owned it, what their life was like, how they lost it and how it eventually ended up in the river. I enjoy seeing and learning about archaeology but if it is not a Roman coin or Viking brooch washed up at my feet, I am really not that much into being a mudlark on the Thames foreshore. (730 words)

* Apostrophied contractions must always have the vowel written in, especially "can't" as without the vowel sign it would say "cannot"

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Highgate Wood

Highgate Wood - Part 1 of 4 - Long Live Pitmans Shorthand! Blogspot

Highgate Wood treesEarlier in the year we visited Highgate Wood in North London for the first time*. It was April, the trees were still bare and we realised that another visit in summer would be necessary to see this ancient woodland at its best. We returned last week*, during a period of hot sunny* weather, which meant, of course, lots of photos of sunlight streaming through the green canopy. Highgate Hill is one of the highest points in London at 136 metres above sea level and the woodland is situated on the north side of Highgate Village. It was part of the original Forest of Middlesex and in the 16th century was known as “Brewer’s Fell.” In 1863 it was named Gravelpit Wood and when the City of London Corporation acquired it in 1886 it was given its present name.

* Omission phrases "for (the) first time"  "las(t w)eek"

* "sun/sunny" and "snow/snowy" should always be vocalised, but here it is obvious which it is

Highgate Wood - Part 2 of 4 - Long Live Pitmans Shorthand! Blogspot

Prehistoric finds
Archaelogical finds - flints,
amber and sharks' teeth
Much as I enjoy discovering the history of the city and its suburbs, I like the idea of walking through an ancient woodland that has never been built on. I imagine the prehistoric and Iron Age Britons living in the clearings and using all its resources for building material, firewood and food. There are 70 species of bird, seven of bat, 338 of moth, 353 of fungi, 12 of butterfly and 80 of spider, as well as the usual foxes and grey squirrels. Despite this the wood was remarkably quiet and we mainly saw crows striding about on the paths or the white flash of magpies, who always prefer to keep their distance when people walk past. The area covers 70 acres (28 hectares) and although it is surrounded on all sides by busy roads, once into the forest all is quiet and peaceful.

Highgate Wood - Part 3 of 4 - Long Live Pitmans Shorthand! Blogspot

Wildlife information centreIn the middle is a large clear area of grass used for sports, with the Pavilion Cafe in one corner and seats under the trees for families to have their picnics and snacks. There is also a very informative wildlife information centre in a long wooden cabin. It is filled with photos and identification* charts of the animal and plant life, and posters showing the prehistory and geology of the area, as well as many children’s drawings and paintings.

Circular tree seat

After perusing all this, it was time for our sandwiches and we settled on a circular tree seat nearby. Here we had a close encounter with our least favourite item of wildlife, two wasps who became interested in our food. They had obviously read the information in the cabin and assumed that we humans* wanted to feed, preserve and admire them at close quarters. We knew that waving our hands about would only inflame them into more aggressive behaviour, so we had to just stroll away, finishing the last bites on the move.

* "identifi(ca)tion" Contraction omitting a syllable

* "human" above the line, to differentiate it from "humane"

Highgate Wood - Part 4 of 4 - Long Live Pitmans Shorthand! Blogspot

Fallen branches arranged around a tree
All the dead wood that accumulates on the ground is tidied up and placed in bundles around the woodland, where it is left to decay, in order to encourage the fungi and insects. Some of it is formed into wigwam shapes, ready to be explored by the children, and some is left in long strips piled up alongside the paths. One tree was encircled by a low wall of neatly arranged branches. In the past this might have been cleared away but in parks nowadays branches and felled logs are left on the ground, away from the paths. As we continued our circular route back towards the exit gate,  I thought how interesting it would all look after a snowfall, but I think that idea is one that will remain unexplored, and any forays into a winter landscape under the trees will be confined to my local areas of woodland. (604 words)

Friday, 21 August 2015

Docklands Museum

Docklands Museum - Part 1 of 10 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Docklands Light Railway near Canary WharfWhen I can get away from the computer and go wandering, I like to visit areas of interest in London*. In summer this is usually parks and green spaces, but I also like to discover local history. With this in mind, we took a trip out to see the Museum of London Docklands which is located on the Isle of Dogs on the north side of the River Thames, close to Canary Wharf. The last part of our journey was on the Docklands Light Railway which always feels as if we have managed to get inside a toy train, travelling on a raised track between the high rise buildings. They are able to go up and down slopes and turn tight corners and their suspension is basic, so the experience is much less smooth than a normal train ride. They are computer controlled and driverless, which means you can sit at the front or back and get an unobstructed “driver’s” view of the journey. Each train does have a Passenger Service Agent on board, who sometimes has to sit at the control panel, which always draws any children to move to the seats behind to watch proceedings and imagine themselves in control.

* Downward L so the hook can make a good join with the N stroke.

Docklands Museum - Part 2 of 10 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

View underneath the DLR stationWe alighted at West India Quay Station and made our way down the criss-crossing steps underneath the station. Looking back it no longer* seemed like a toy, but more like a science fiction film of the past, when they dreamed of vehicles travelling at high level through cities of gleaming buildings, with people in shiny grey futuristic* clothes walking about. This is all normal to us now, but the special clothing is now smart black or grey suits and crisp shirts, the uniform of the city boys and men. On the quayside we passed a long row of food tents, where the owners were preparing and cooking their fare for when the workers escape the offices for their dose of fresh air but always ready to respond to the bleep or buzz of their Iphones alerting them to the arrival of an urgent message that is more important than the next bite of sandwich.

* "longer" has downward L only in phrases where convenient, similarly "any longer" "in longer"

* "future" uses doubling

Docklands Museum - Part 3 of 10 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

St Peter's BargeAlthough it was a bright and warm sunny day, there were a lot more cool breezes blowing than we would have expected, obviously caused by the many tall buildings, as we had not noticed any wind before coming here, and indeed they vanished once we left the area at the end of the afternoon. At the far end of the quay a large boat was berthed, called St Peter’s Barge, London’s Floating Church. I felt St Peter would have heartily* approved and if he decided to visit, I am sure he would have brought his fishing gear with him, in order to* illustrate his sermon and talk about his previous experiences with both empty nets and, very soon afterwards, full breaking nets.

* Special outline, to distinguish it from "hardly" and "hardily"

* Omission phrase "in ord(er to)"

Docklands Museum - Part 4 of 10 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Painting of William Wilberforce
William Wilberforce
Outside the museum is a statue of Robert Milligan, the Deputy Chairman of the West India Dock Company who helped create this part of the Docklands area. Unfortunately this achievement is tainted by his ownership of hundreds of slaves on his family’s sugar plantation in Jamaica. Milligan died in 1809, two years after the success of the first parliamentary anti-slave trade legislation, chiefly brought about by the much better known William Wilberforce, after whom the lecture theatre on the top floor is named.

Docklands Museum - Part 5 of 10 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

The museum is housed in one of the old giant warehouses and is* spread over five floors, some of which are used for study rooms and classrooms for visiting school groups. It contains the Port and River collection of the main Museum of London which is located in central London. We started on the top floor where we followed the detailed history of the River Thames at this location, from its form in prehistory all the way through the different ages and settlements. We saw models of the type of houses, boats and river fronts that have come and gone throughout the centuries, including a large model of London Bridge and all the houses that were built on it in the middle ages. The exhibits concentrated on the trading activities of the settlement, town and later on city. There were Roman fish-hooks and pieces of pottery and other wares pulled from the mud of the Thames or found in riverside excavations.

* "and is" not phrased here, because "and has" could also make sense in this sentence

Model of London Bridge
Model of London Bridge
Docklands Museum - Part 6 of 10 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Recreation of workshop roomMost interesting was the re-creation* of a length of London riverside alleyway. We turned a corner and entered a very gloomy and narrow rough path between brick buildings, with grimy black walls, little workshops lit by (electric) candle containing desk, accounts on a parchment and goose quill pen. One of them had a small window with a brightly lit scene of the sunny riverside and buildings outside, which looked quite lifelike if one could manage to forget it was a painted illusion. There were tiny grimy shops selling a variety of goods, and a public house with a soundtrack of the chatter and noise from the interior. The only thing missing was the smell which would have been dank, mouldy and cold, with other unappealing odours mixed in, garbage, fish and butchery remains, sewage and all the stinks of a multitude of small scale home industries discharging into the Thames. Thankfully it was not so lifelike after all!

* The non-hyphenated "recreation" meaning playing or amusement, has a short E sound, and so written on the line

Docklands Museum - Part 7 of 10 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

All the various equipment that the dockers, shipwrights and boatmen used was represented*, mostly iron and wood,  including trolleys, baskets, hoists, rope work and boathooks of every size and shape. Tea and coffee were major imports that contributed to the growth of Docklands, and the delicate ornate cups and teapots from the 18th century gave the impression that these were innocent and genteel enjoyments. However, these bitter drinks created a greater need for sugar, which led to the expansion* of the slave trade to provide workers on the sugar plantations. We saw the chains and shackles that were used on the slaves, as well as descriptions*, paintings and drawings of the miseries of their existence. This appalling* and shameful episode in British history brings to my mind the words of Abraham Lincoln in a speech in 1865, “Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.”

* Short dash through the last stroke of a contraction signifies past tense

* It is helpful to insert the vowel after the P, to prevent it being misread as "extension" as they have similar meanings

* The singular of this word uses a contraction, the plural has a full outline, see Distinguishing Outlines List2

* "appalling" Vowel is always necessary and also in "appealing" which would otherwise be identical

18th century teacups

Docklands Museum - Part 8 of 10 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Molten iron girderOn the next floor was the history of more recent times, showing Docklands throughout the twentieth century, the subsequent development of the area and its transport, and the difficulties encountered. We saw a piece of iron girder that had partly melted in a fire from a Blitz attack in 1940, with the bottom part intact and the top half a shapeless mass. The caption states “To give some idea of the intensity of the heat faced by the firemen, it is worth remembering that the melting point of iron is 2,777 degrees Fahrenheit.*” Even more interesting was the photo and story of a bomb attack and fire at a sugar warehouse, where the heat and the water from the firemen’s hose had turned the sugar into toffee, which the workers would come back to regularly and chip off pieces to take home to eat.

* This outline omits the H sound of "-heit". An alternative outline is to write the N and T as full strokes, and use Dot Hay next to the diphthong against the T

Docklands Museum - Part 9 of 10 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

West India Quay food stallsOnce back outside, we realised we had forgotten what a pleasant* sunny day it was, especially as museum exhibits are generally kept in low light. All the food tents and stalls were now thronging with people, consuming their well-earned midday meal after working hard at keeping the trade of the city going all morning from their computer screens. I am sure all the freshly prepared food was much more appealing than the bland offerings from the office snack vending machines and well worth the effort of descending from the heights of the towering offices, to sit on the quayside, surrounded by wicker tables, large parasols and planters full of box hedging, petunias and begonias.

* It is helpful to insert the vowel, to prevent misreading as "pleasing" which has a similar meaning

Docklands Museum - Part 10 of 10 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Boat hooks and fend offs
Boathooks and fend offs
The changing light from the sky, as the clouds came and went, was reflected in all the glass faces of the buildings and in the stretches of water, much more lively and agreeable than the cold concrete or marble squares which one so often finds in the city between the buildings. The prosperity, orderliness and quiet calm of the area was the opposite of the bustling scenes of the trading activities of the past that we had seen in the museum. (1377 words)