Today people found my blog by Googling:

“Wittgenstein laughing”


“present perfect engineering grammar”


“Durham cathedral interior”

i have taught grammar to German engineers for just over a year. Yesterday i had 90 minutes with the head of PR of an energy company. His wife studied Law at Durham and he knows it well, with pleasure. Talking of such cities, i said their charm is to do with beauty that no longer serves any accepted function. One could make more money by tearing down Durham Cathedral and replacing it with a block of executive flats for ambitious corporate types, movers & shakers in the university administration, for example. And yet, it stands, a feat of ancient engineering.

One could perhaps contrast the Past Simple with the Present Perfect by saying Uruk existed for several millenia, and is now just an archaeological dig, but Durham Cathedral has stood facing the Castle for several centuries – and still stands – and as with laughter and games, there is no defensible reason for this – it is, in a sense, ludic, for the hell of it, as with all things.