Wednesday, 30 August 2017


I think it is* time for a change from the usual sets of short letters that I have been doing, which are intended to give short practice paragraphs with easy matter, that you can rehearse* intensively and so bring up your speed without the stress of a long passage. In other words*, if you fall behind, each passage soon comes to an end, giving you an opportunity to catch up. This time we have some postcards*, which suits the holiday season of August, although obviously no-one is going to need a shorthand writer* to help them produce such missives. You could* however write one in shorthand if you have a friend who can read it, and thus reinstate that perennial frustration for the postal* worker, namely the postcard that looks interesting but is not possible to read, unless they are nearing retirement and started working life in an office when shorthand was still common. The other point is that you can get so much more information on a postcard in shorthand, but you will need a sharp pencil to write the tiny outlines, and avoid ink, as it may be delivered in the rain. I find that biros can do thicks and thins, if you are not* having to go very fast and can be careful* with the tip control and pressure.

* "I think it is" Halving to represent "it"

* "rehearse" A long ascending outline, needs to be written shallowly, similarly "rehearsal" which is even longer

* "in other wo(rd)s" An alternative way to write "words" when it joins better in a phrase

* "postcards" "postal" Omit the lightly sounded T

* Omission phrase "short(hand) writer"

* "you could" Written separately, so it does not look like "you can"

* "you are not" This is always written with full strokes, in order to make a clear contrast with "you will not" which uses halving and N hook for the "not"

* "careful" Optional contraction

Dear Pam and family, We arrived safely Saturday night. It is just wonderful here, our hotel is simply fabulous and the view is out of this world, what with sunsets over the bay and the mountains. Tomorrow we are taking a boat trip and going to the sea life centre. The kids went wild with excitement when they saw some dolphins in the bay. Jack has found a great golf course, so the girls and I can go shopping one or two* days. I wish you could* see the malls here, they are amazing*. See you in two weeks*, we have some great photos and vids to show you. Maggie

* Omission phrases "one (or) two"  "two wee(k)s"

* "you could" Written separately, so it does not look like "you can"

* "amazing" "amusing" Always insert the second vowel

Hi Tom, Just a line to let you know we are doing well here in the north. We are having a family break from work over August. We got a great deal on the hotel package, so there is money left in the pot for excursions etc. The food is very good and they have a wide range. You know how Johnnie loves his restaurant meals from time to time*. We are just sitting on the terrace with our wine and relaxing after seeing the sights in town. Hope all goes well with you next week*. Best regards, Jackie

* Omission phrase "from time (to) time" with halving used for both T's

* Omission phrase "ne(k)s(t w)eek"

Dear Mum, flight was good, and hotel is great. So glad we booked this one, the facilities are brilliant. We spent the whole of yesterday in the swimming pool and today we went up the hills to a vineyard*. Bought some local wine for you, you will love it, very sweet and fruity. The food is interesting and, yes, we are eating the healthy options, after having lost all that weight to get into our swimwear! Lots of love and see you next Friday. Betty and Co

* "vineya(r)d" An alternative to the short form for "yard" where it joins better

Dear Janet and John, Here we are in sunny Sandy Bay again. We love coming back here, it is so peaceful and quiet, especially where we are staying* a little way out of town away from the amusement parks. Our holiday house is very comfortable and has a lovely garden to sit in. The weather has been glorious, but we had rain for the whole of Monday, so we went into town and saw the museums. Hope all goes well with your meeting next week* and we can chat about it all very soon. Will phone you to get a date. Love from Mary and family

* "staying" No diphone, as the I sound is included in the Dot Ing

* Omission phrase "ne(k)s(t w)eek"

Dear Auntie Flo, I thought you would like to see this view of the city of Bath, as you have spent so much time here yourself when you were living in that old house. I am so glad I took your advice to come here for a holiday and I am having a wonderful time seeing all the places you mentioned. Do you think you will ever visit here again? It is just as you described, but the transport is much better nowadays. You would feel right at home. Give my regards to Uncle Henry. Love from Edward*

* "Edward" Using the suffix -wa(r)d, similarly "backward, forward, onward"

Hi James, How is it all going at the office? Yes, I am thinking of you all while I am lying here on a hot beach with my pineapple fruit cocktail, listening to the waves and seagulls. Never mind, you will be off on your cruise before long and I shall be thinking of you again but this time from my office desk. Going water-skiing tomorrow, then paragliding, then hot air ballooning, such a lot of hard work for me to do over the next week, but I am sure I will manage! I will post some photos* and videos* online for you quite soon, if I get the time with all these important things I have to do. Regards, Charlie

* "photos, videos" These are similar, so insert the diphone in "videos"

Dear Mother, I missed my train so when I did arrive here they took ages to open and let me in. I am in a rather small guest house room, reasonable and clean but would be better if they smartened it up. The food is OK but I prefer my usual home cooking. The view is OK I suppose, but it is lost in mist and rain at the moment*. It is too cold to go to the beach, too windy to go up the cliff walk and too boring to sit indoors doing nothing until the weather clears. I am going to go into town and get a shorthand pad and pencil so I can practise from the news on the radio. My exam is the week after next so I think it will be a doddle if the weather stays like this all week. At least* I don’t have to answer any phone calls or emails* from customers for seven* whole days. See you soon, love from your bedraggled son, William (1016 words)

* Omission phrase "at (the) moment"

* "at least" "at last" Always insert the second vowel

* "emails" Always insert the first vowel, as "email" and "mail" are similar

* "seven" Keep the N hook clear, as it is similar to the short form "several"