Tag Archive | Mill Hill

The Word ‘Dotard’ — Origins & Synonyms.

by Anura Guruge

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Dotard origins by Anura Guruge in NHlifefree.com

Dotard origins by Anura Guruge in NHlifefree.com

It, i.e., ‘dotard’, was a word I was familiar with (given my very British heritage) — though, of course, living in the U.S. I had not heard it in a long time. I am sure I first encountered it at the Public (i.e., private) School I attended, in North London, “Mill Hill School” — the read birthplace of the ‘Oxford English Dictionary‘ and the alma mater of Denis Thatcher (Margaret’s husband). It was a school rich in vocabulary and idioms, my two favorites, that I still treasure and use being: “Play the White Man” (i.e., do the right thing) and “Munda Logic” (African/black logic). Both are very profound and have many applications.


  • An old person in their dotage.

    That is where the word comes from ‘dote’ + ‘-ard‘.
    -ard‘ denotes someone with a specific condition — as in drunkard.
    Dote‘ refers to an imbecile!

  • An old person with impaired intellect.


Old English.

1st known usage was by the inimitable Geoffrey Chaucer in his beyond ionic ‘The Canterbury Tales‘ — in “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue“. It went: “Til they be wedded; olde dotard shrewe!”

Then it was Edmund Spenser (above) in 1590 & then Shakespeare (above) ~1598.


  • old man, elder, senior citizen, old codger, geezer, old duffer, pantaloon, graybeard.
  • senile, fogy, fuddy-duddy

So what do YOU think? You think ‘they’ got it right?

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by Anura Guruge

A ‘Mill Hill’ Cricket XI From 1970.

by Anura Guruge

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I think it is 1970 (my first season there) though there is a 25% chance that it is 1971. 

Definitely the 2nd XI — if not 3rd, but I am leaning towards the former as I look at some of these reprobates.

Actually there were some very fine cricketers in this team, the shady looking wog in shades notwithstanding. The middle three in the front row, befitting that status, was good. The little Indian guy, at the left, was a very fine spinner. I would not be surprised if he went onto play at some v. high levels. Three others in the back-row, the one sandwiched between the two wogs and two others next to the shady wog in the middle were impressive cricketers. That is why I think that this was the Second XI. I never made the 1st so it is easy to rule out that. It might have been the 3rds, that I occasionally was dropped to, but some of the others were regular 2nds. The ‘bigger’, taller, strapping guys were decent ‘fast’ bowlers.

I think the ONLY picture I have of Mill Hill.

Very sad BUT I do not remember the names of any of my teammates. Sorry. I would LOVE to get in touch with all of them. On the whole a good bunch.

This picture was taken in front of ‘School House’. 

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by Anura Guruge

I Bought A Painting At ‘Laconia Multicultural Day’ + My Favorite Booth In 2013.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

Anura Guruge

Related posts:
>> 2013 Multicultural Day: Impressions — Aug. 4, 2013.
>> Shame on Belknap Mill … — Aug. 3, 2013.
>> Laconia Multicultural Day, 2013 … — July 12, 2013.
>> Laconia Multicultural Day, 2013: Program — July 30, 2013.
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Saad & Hassan Hindal

Art from Memory

Iraqi Artists now living in Concord, NH.

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Father and son, Saad and Al (17) at their tent. The painting on the easel, with the school bus, painted by Al. I like that one TOO.

Father and son, Saad and Al (17) at their tent. The painting on the easel, with the school bus, painted by Hassan. I like that one TOO.

The painting I bought, or at least got. Haven't paid for it yet, though it now hangs right by our front door.

The painting I bought, or at least got. Haven’t paid for it yet, though it now hangs right by our front door.



THE picture, to the left, as it was hanging in the booth.

They were there last year too. I had seen their paintings and had liked them.

I, of course, stopped again this year, as soon as we got to the Mill. I spoke to the son, Hassan, and told him how much I liked the paintings.

Later on in the day, around noon, I went back to take a picture of the father and son. That was the picture at the top. The father was seated.

I told Hassan to tell his father how much I liked all the paintings, but the nude in particular and how I would buy it if I had the money.

Hassan translated. The dad told him something back, and both their faces lit up in smiles.

He tells me that his Dad has said: ‘Take it. Pay when you have the money‘!

I was shocked. They didn’t know me from Adam. That was an amazing gesture. There was no time period mentioned. Just unconditional goodwill.

With close to 38 years of marriage experience under my belt, I am savvy enough to know that you don’t buy a painting, especially a nude, without at least mentioning it to the wife. So, I explained that and we left. Devanee was with me and she was amazed.

When we told Deanna, we discovered that she too had seen the pictures and had liked that nude. Bingo. She too was amazed at this amazingly generous and brave gesture. She wanted me to get it.

So I went back and told them that I would come back at 4 pm, when the activities concluded. I wanted them to have it on display as long as they could. I think they were kind of surprised.

Just after 4 we all went to pick it up. Saad, in conjunction with Hassan, explained to us what the symbols meant. Some of them, like the cats and the 2nd from top symbol on the thigh denote good luck. Her lips are sealed about her prior life — but she is not a ‘virgin’. She is dreaming of another man. The fish skeleton and the whole fish indicate before-and-after.

It is vividly bright, very evocative, strangely compelling picture. We all love it.

I plan to pay for it at the end of this month. To be fair, it is not much — and many would find it amusing that I actually don’t even have that much in liquid cash. It is the first ‘original’ I have bought in decades!

We are truly honored that Saad trusted us and of course, we will not let him down.

Moreover, he now has a AVID supporter for life. Of course I am going to promote their work.

Not only do we like their art, we think they are remarkable people.

They have been living in Concord for 3 years. Hassan goes to highschool there. Saad has three other children, another son and two daughters.

We plan to visit their inhome gallery and do a longer interview. Also take some more pictures.

So stay tuned.

IF you are interested in their work, in particular their paintings, contact me (see sidebar) and I will put you in touch with them.


Their trust and generosity reminded me of an incident from 44 years ago, i.e., 1969, which also involved a person from the Middle East. I had just started at ‘Mill Hill’, the private school in London I was consigned to when I turned 16. There was a fair number of foreigners at ‘Mill Hill’. Most of us, who were new at the school and were foreigners had a fairly torrid time from the locals. But we weathered it. We were allowed to walk down to Mill Hill village three or four times a week. I was at the village and was buying an ice cream when I saw one of the other foreigners. He was older than me and bigger. He didn’t speak very good English at the time and I knew that he wasn’t too happy. On a whim I asked him if he would like an ice cream. He, of course, wanted one. So I got him one and handed it to him. It was just a cone. When he took it from me, I could see tears in his eyes. I asked him what was bothering him. He replies: ‘I have been in this country four months now, and this is the first thing somebody bought for me‘.  Wow. I really didn’t know how to react. But, I can still remember that incident. Well yesterday, the shoe was on the other foot. I felt like the young man receiving the ice cream.

A Fond Farewell & Big ‘THANK YOU’ To My 2nd Favorite Female Prime Minister, Mrs. Thatcher. A Great Lady. An Inspiration To All.

Anura Guruge

I meant to write about this a few months ago after I had watched it. The movie ‘The Iron Lady‘ is unmitigated tripe and an abysmal, pathetic representation of an indomitable soul and her exemplary husband, Denis.

Yes, given her age I kind of had in the back of my mind that this day would come. I am sorry to see her go. She chiseled and shaped my character.

Let me start with some bullet points about me and Margaret.

>> c. 1973, when I was a student at Swansea, I, accidentally as it happened, led a protest march of about 350 students, through the town center, me personally escorted by an Inspector of Police, with me wearing a Air Force surplus, WW II, double breasted gray coat — with a poster hanging from the top two buttons that showed a picture of Mrs. Thatcher with three (rather cute) exposed mammary glands and the slogan: ‘Thatcher Makes Another BOOB‘. She was the Secretary of Education and was trying to stop Student Unions contributing money to other unions, especially the Miners, to support their strike activity. She, to be fair, had a valid point. In those days about 99% of all University students in the UK got some kind of ‘grant’ from the Government to pay for their education. So her argument was that students were using Government money to fund strikes aimed at hurting the Government. I, even then, could see that. But, here was the problem. I did NOT get a grant, because I did not have enough residency (as yet) in the U.K. So the dues that I paid to the Student Union (and I was a HUGE supporter of the Union since I was a habitual attendee of all their concerts and dances) were mine — and I was not going to have Mrs. Thatcher telling me how my money could be spent. Looking back I sometimes shudder. I was also lucky that I did not end up in jail. Pictures of me leading the march appeared in papers. The funniest thing, I really had nothing to do with the march! As with so many things in my life, I was at the right place and the wrong time. Yes, they were having a rally around 3pm on a Saturday. The timing was crucial. If it had been held any earlier I would not have made it. When I was a student I never used to get out of bed much before noon — 7 days a week. I didn’t go to any morning classes — class attendance, at least in those days, not a requirement to get a degree. You just had to pass the yearly exams in the Summer. But, I would try to attend any and all student sit-ins, rallys, protests  or gathering  provided them were held at a civilised time. So, I am there in the crowd just as a participant. The Student Union officials and organizers are up on the steps of the Swansea Town Hall trying to address the crowds before the march. The President of the Union was an Indian guy. He was at the mike talking but the sound system was not working. So a cry goes out, can somebody fix the sound system. In those days I dabbled with amplifiers, speakers, mikes and sound systems all the time. So, I climbed the steps and fiddled around and got the sound up. I was still up on the steps when they started the march. Yes, I was already wearing my ‘3 boobs’ poster. The crowd waited for the people on the steps to lead the march. I was on the steps and I went along. The next thing I know, I am in the front row, I am in the middle, I am wearing a poster and there is no sign of the Indian guy. I guess the police were told that the march would be led by an Indian. So this Inspector of Police, wearing a cap with a checkered, black-and-white band, walks up to me and puts his hand on my shoulder. I genuinely thought he was a traffic warden since I had no prior dealings with Inspectors of Police. So I addressed him as ‘traffic warden’. He must have had a sense of humor. He never corrected me or told me off. Was quite polite, but to the point. He stops me and with that the march and says to me quite clearly: ‘There are about 3oo people behind you. Maybe more. If we get trouble from any of them I am holding you responsible‘. He really must have thought I was the Union President. I was probably 19 or 20. I was a dyed in the wool, non-inhaling hippie. I hadn’t had my hair cut in 3 years. I had been expelled from 2 schools. I was going to be a game warden in Africa. So what do I care. I tell him: ‘That is fine‘. There was no trouble NOT that I could have done anything. It was a blast. We all ended up at the Union bar and partied (and remember that the drinking age in the U.K. was somewhere around 14 or maybe 16, though I didn’t start imbibing till I was 20). So that was my 1st encounter with Margaret.

>> I voted, with pride, for her as Prime Minister (or at least to have her party elected which would make her PM)  in 1979 — her 1st run as PM.

>> I voted for her without fail in every election thereafter till 1985 when I left the U.K.

>> She is the ONLY prime minister, or for that matter, ANY national leader that I have voted for (as yet).

>> She, single handedly made me into the rabid ultra-right, conservative I was, c. 1976 – 2003, until ‘The Shrub‘ forced me to think otherwise. I was so right-wing that people, especially those that worked for me, would say (usually when they were suitably inebriated): ‘Anu, come the revolution they are going to line you up to the RIGHT of Thatcher before they shoot the whole bunch of you damn conservatives‘. I would take it as a great compliment to be thought of as being to the RIGHT of Margaret. [Yes, even in the early 1980s there were folks in the U.K. that believed that there would be a social revolution!]

>> It was Mrs. Thatcher that got me into stocks. Thank YOU, Margaret. It was the famous ‘British Telecom’ (BT) privatization. I like so many in the UK caught the bug. I, within the limits of what was permitted, made multiple applications for the lottery. Yes, I got some — but maybe 1/5th of what I had asked. Suffice to say BT stocks were a huge success. I was bitten. I bought into every other privatization after that — the BEST one, again, accidentally. This was before the ‘Web’. You actually had to call a broker to buy and sell stock. My broker was my London Barclays Bank. I used to take the Manager and Assistant Manager to lunch at least every 3 months, and as such they were quite nice to me. I happened to work next door to the bank. I had bought and owned, BA — British Airways. On a dip I wanted to buy some more. So, I call up the Asst. Manager and tell him to buy me some more ‘BA’ — because I was always on the road driving around the UK in those days. It is my accent. He thought I had said ‘BAA‘ – British Airport Authority, the agency that ran the British airports. I hadn’t wanted BAA. It was considered a risky investment at the time. So a few days later when I get my statement in the mail I discover that I now own BAA, rather than more BA. I decide to hold onto BAA. A couple of years later BAA outperformed all the other ‘B’ stock: BT, BP, BA etc.

>> Denis Thatcher went to the same school as I did, Mill Hill in London.

>> I was so behind Mrs. Thatcher when it came to ‘The Falklands War’ — and the day we won, I was at one of my regular restaurant/bar haunts in North London and I bought 400 UK Sterling Pounds worth of drinks (probably about $1,200 by today’s money) and PAID for them with my personal credit card, though as Customer Support Manager for ITT (Data Systems) at the time, I had a ‘no questions’ asked, ‘no limit’ company AmEx card for entertaining ‘clients’ and per ITT lore, every person in the UK was a potential customer and it was my duty to cultivate them.

I will miss Mrs. Thatcher. Yes, another female Prime Minister, the world’s first, came before her into my life. She was ‘Aunty’. I never met Mrs. Thatcher, and in case you are wondering, she (quite deservedly) became a Baroness when I was living in NH. So I never got around to thinking of her as such. She deserved to be Baroness and Denis a Baronet — in his own right. He was a great man. His portrayal in that stupid movie was so inane. For a start, I don’t think Denis ever had an ounce of fat on his lean, wiry body. The guy that played his part was just plain fat.

Goodbye Mrs. Thatcher. Thanks for all you did for me.


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