Social skirmishes

● So, I returned to work on Monday, fresh-faced (pink-faced might be more apt) from my two weeks with the kids in Greece. I consider the break a success: we were not among the thousands of holidaymakers affected by the fires in the Halkidiki peninsula we did not return to find our Oxfordshire home flooded and I only put on five pounds.

As is always the way, I have come back to several hundred e-mails. Among the meeting requests and overdue statistical return reminders, there were several messages from readers responding to my article on malapropisms by staff and clients.

Paul Zygmunt Szymczyk, from the “Cambridge North City Disintegrated Team”, recounted the tale of his Polish parents inviting their priest friend to England so he could improve his English. His parents’ neighbours were particularly friendly towards the priest so, just before returning to Poland, he popped next door to thank them for their “hostility”.

Meanwhile, a mental health social worker from Bedfordshire tells me that, during a case conference, relatives of a parent told him that a psychiatrist had informed them their mother had “dimension”.

Not sure whether they beat my all-time favourite (ex-US vice-president Dan Quayle’s “Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child”), but it made ploughing through my e-mails more entertaining.

➔ E-mail your anecdotes and observations to

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