Last Sunday, 14th December, came and went without my realising that it marked the fifth birthday of the Hooting Yard website. Belatedly crack open those bottles of aerated lettucewater! (There was, of course, an earlier Hooting Yard site on the interweb, but it was static, in that it contained various stories and pictures and was very, very rarely updated.) We have come a long way, readers, you and I, and I thank you for your support. Here, for the hell of it, is the very first item posted. The Search Engine Lure referred to is buried somewhere in the Archive.
Vigilant readers of the Hooting Yard Search Engine Lure will note within it the splendid word “bewolfenbuttlement”. Like “solipsism”, this is a coinage by Horace Walpole, but sadly one which never caught on. When the future George III was a teenager, his grandfather tried to marry him off to a European princess, much to the dismay of George’s mother. The name of the princess was Sophia Caroline Maria, daughter of the Duchess of Brunswick-WolfenbÃ¼ttel. Under his mother’s influence, George became fretful and aghast at the proposal, and – as Walpole wrote – he “declares violently against being bewolfenbuttled”. To resurrect the word successfully, perhaps it is necessary to widen it from the sense of being forced into an arranged marriage to being forced into anything one doesn’t want to do. Start using it today!