Here we go ’round the mulberry bush

I admit it: I’m an old fuddy-duddy. 

I admit it: I’m an old fuddy-duddy.  [Half of this post seems to have ended up in the English notes below, beginning with fuddy-duddy.] Case in point: I fought like hell the introduction of wikis into the daily working life of our lab.  Eventually, I folded, and it did not go without notice: one day in a lab meeting I mentioned my delight at having edited something on Wikipedia, and one of our graduate students was delighted to point out the unavoidable contrast with my oft-stated position on such things: Ha, Kevin’s using a wiki!  

Today I am delighted once again: I just edited my first French-language Wikipedia entry!  Here’s the before-and-after.  Can you see the word whose spelling I edited–twice?  (You’ll find it in the French notes below.) Of course, being excited about having spotted a French-language spelling error means that before noon I’ll have said something stupid enough to make the entire lab bust out laughing, mais c’est normal, ça, it happens every day anyway…


Screen Shot 2017-11-24 at 07.06.19


Screen Shot 2017-11-24 at 07.08.10

English notes

old fuddy-duddy: “one that is old-fashioned, unimaginative, or conservative” (Merriam-Webster)


like hell: an intensifying adverb.  It means something like very hard .

How I used it in the post: I fought like hell the introduction of wikis into the daily working life of our lab.  Eventually, I folded, and it did not go without notice.

There’s another use, meaning “very much,” often appearing with the verb to hurt:


…and there’s another use, explained by Merriam-Webster like this:

— used to say in an angry and forceful way that one will not do something, does not agree, etc. “It’s your fault!” “Like hell it is!”


to fold: to give in, to give up, to surrender.

How I used it in the post: I fought like hell the introduction of wikis into the daily working life of our lab.  Eventually, I folded, and it did not go without notice.

to bust out: to suddenly begin doing something–intensely, I think.  You might bust out laughing, for examply–suddenly you start laughing, hard.  This feels pretty informal, limite slang, because of the word bust, which is a low-register word (versus the word to break, which would be a more appropriate choice at work, in a classroom, etc.).

How I used it in the post: Before noon I’ll have said something stupid enough to make the entire lab bust out laughing.

French notes

le mûrier : blackberry bush; mulberry tree

Picture source: Par LPLT — Travail personnel, CC BY-SA 3.0,

6 thoughts on “Here we go ’round the mulberry bush”

  1. Mistakes are good.
    They correct any lurking tendency toward complacency and puncture our pretensions that we might be “getting there”.

    I am now the street project. My grammar and pronunciation is sternly but humorously corrected every time I talk to my neighbours.
    Talk about immersion!!! No English speakers here.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I bought mûrier in the market in Spring not knowing what I had bought. I asked him what they were and he said ‘mûriers’ but it was only when I got them home that I realized i had stumbled upon Mulberries. Which I last ate when my Granny was still living in her own home which would be about 50 years ago. I found them to be absolutely brilliant once I had worked out the preparation and cooking of them. A delectable delight as must be picking up an error and being able to correct it on a French website.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love buying stuff without realizing what it is. Last really good episode I can think of: a bag full of octopus tentacles in some kind of really greasy…substance. I love octopus, and that was not an issue–but, choking down that greasy stuff was quite a chore, and I couldn’t finish the bag.

      What I realized only years later was that they were meant to go in something called oden, a Japanese winter dish of soup with various and sundry forms of fish paste floating around in it. It is an amazing “comfort food” (I wonder how you say that in French; I wonder if the term exists in British English), and had that greasy stuff been in a bowl of oden broth, it would have been greasy no more, but a delicious bit of octopus-stuffed yumminess.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dommage! I have had Oden and you are right – it is delicious. Mystery shopping is great fun though and mostly I like the results. In British English we certainly use the expression ‘comfort food’ …. it applies to pretty much everything we eat between September and May and sometimes all summer long because the weather just isn’t playing that year. Excellent examples would be bangers and mash with onion gravy, steak and kidney puddin’ (note omission of the ‘g’), cottage pie (or shepherds if it’s being made with lamb), fish pie, any sort of pie, in fact; hot puddings like jam roly poly, treacle tart and the fantastic array of steamed suet or sponge puddings, Yorkshire pudding – pretty much all puddings, in fact …. You get the picture – potatoes, puddings and pies …. comfort food the British way. I hope one of your readers will enlighten as to whether French DOES have a similar expression because if it does, I want to use it 😊

        Liked by 1 person

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