Thursday, 21 May 2015

Contractions 2

Contractions 2 - Part 1 of 9 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Continuing our journey through the contractions, I hope you have all the appropriate* objects in front of you - a good quality pad with margin, and a pencil or pen. The objective is to read and write the matter repeatedly until you know them all and can recall them instantly. Knowing there is a contraction but not remembering it in time is a most objectionable experience, and I think there will be no objection to my suggestion that you continue to practise them. If you view it objectively, it will get you to your goal, and that is the object of the whole exercise. Objectivity is what is needed, and the prospect of* increasing your speed should make it easy to do. Like a person prospecting for gold, you will be searching every area for shorthand opportunities. A prospective employer will want to know whether you can keep up the writing at length without any gaps or errors. A prospectus is a booklet issued by a college giving information on all of its courses. Prospective students will of course be reading it eagerly.

* "appropriate" Insert the diphone, to differentiate from "proper", see para 9

* You could use the F Hook for "of" but it would then look like "prospective"

Contractions 2 - Part 2 of 9 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

In retrospect the students wished they had taken an additional subject, but realised that retrospection was not going to be of great help. The employees received retrospective rewards for their good performance last year. The fact that* the wages were paid retrospectively was noted in the report. I suspect that this job will be changing next month*. The report was just as I had suspected, too long and full of irrelevant facts. They are always suspecting the people who come into the building. He had many unsuspected business talents with which to surprise his colleagues. The family took great pleasure in giving the gifts to the unsuspecting children.

* Omission phrases "fac(t) that"   ne(k)s(t mon)th

Contractions 2 - Part 3 of 9 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

We have started a new project in our class. We always like it when new projects come along. We have projected the figures into the next two years. The projected forecast for sales made for exciting reading. We realised that projecting the sales figures ahead did carry some risks. We should not neglect to consider* other factors as well. Neglecting to include an amount against possible future costs would be very risky. The person who wrote the project report neglected to include the new sales figures. The management were not neglectful in their obligations to the staff. Some other companies had neglectfully gone ahead with untested and unrealistic ideas.

* Omission phrase "to (con)sider"

Contractions 2 - Part 4 of 9 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

It is the job of the judge to avoid prejudice when considering the cases. The man was prejudiced against any new employee who came to the office. His views were very far from unprejudiced. We believe our car insurance* is far too high. We shall be looking for another insurance company with lower fees. We believe the insurance company has undertaken reinsurance with another larger company in order to minimise their risks. We wish* to make an investment in order to* safeguard our savings. Investments must be very carefully considered*. The government has undertaken disinvestment in the area, by withdrawing support and funding for some of the schemes. We believe that reinvestment should be considered immediately to avoid problems with unemployment. It is most irresponsible to withdraw support at this stage. The worker was highly irresponsible in not informing us of the accident* immediately. Their irresponsibility has caused* delays to our delivery schedule. A responsible person does the right thing, but an irresponsible person does not care about the results of their actions.

* It would be quicker to use the intersection Ns for insurance, but full outline used here in order to learn it.

* we shall vs we wish - lower the Way stroke a little, so that the Ish goes through the line for "wish"

* Omission phrases "in ord(er to)"   very caref(ully con)sidered"

* Keep the K straight and outline high, so it does not look like "incident" which has a similar meaning

* "caused" special outline, to differentiate it from "cost"

Contractions 2 - Part 5 of 9 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

A substance that is magnetic exerts an attraction or pulling power on another object. Magnetic north is in a different position from true north on planet Earth. The sales in the clothes shop exerted a magnetic influence on the shoppers. The students studied magnetism in the physics class. Both of the objects had become magnetically charged through the presence of a third magnetic object. The manufacture of these goods has a long history in the area. We have manufactured these machines since the middle of last century. Are they able to manufacture the equipment for us? The area has a lot of manufacturing industry located in a small area. The manufacturer of these items has been trading here for the last ten years. Can you find a manufacturer who can build the workshop for us? The frame of the building was manufactured in our new factory nearby.

Contractions 2 - Part 6 of 9 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

She has always enjoyed mathematics* and is well on her way to becoming an excellent mathematician. He has done a lot of work on the mathematical equations for this project, although at first he thought it was mathematically impossible. Maximum means the greatest or highest amount, quantity or value that is possible. This is the maximum that we are willing to pay for these goods. We are certainly not going to go over the maximum budget. Your maximum shorthand speed is the highest that you can write at and still read back and if you can’t read it back, it doesn’t count! Your maximum speed will change according to the difficulty of the subject matter but constant practising will give it an upwards trend.

* The shorter words "maths" and "math" are written above the line and vocalised.

Contractions 2 - Part 7 of 9 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

There is a mechanical problem with this equipment. He enjoys building mechanical toys that perform various actions. He is very mechanically minded and can always sort out any mechanical problem. He has become the Chief Mechanical Engineer for the Metropolitan Railway. Metropolitan refers to the main city in an area, and comes from the Greek for mother and city. A metropolitan underground railway is often simply called the metro in some cities. We have been able to take out a mortgage with the bank to buy the new house. When a property is mortgaged, it becomes security against the repayment of a loan. We have mortgaged our house in order to secure another loan. Mortgaging the property will incur great risk to this business. Once a mortgage is partly paid off, some people remortgage in order to purchase something larger or more expensive.

Contractions 2 - Part 8 of 9 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

We ordered the goods last November but only received them in January and February. We think November will be our best month for sales of these items. We never go away in November as the weather is too cold. I never enjoy the cold and I never miss going out on a hot day. Nevermore means never again and is a slightly archaic or poetic version of this phrase. The history of the area has been lost, nevermore to be passed on to future generations. The sailors left the harbour, nevermore to return to their homeland. The longhand is written separately when the “more” belongs with the next word, resulting in a different meaning, and the shorthand should reflect this as well: I am never more contented than when I am doing shorthand.

Contractions 2 - Part 9 of 9 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

We are going to organise a trip to the coast. We organised one last year which was a great success. They are organising a large event at the conference centre. He always organises his notes before he starts to write the report. This organisation employs about twenty workers in the main office. It is an organisational nightmare to get everyone in the right place at the right time. We should consider bringing in a professional organiser who can do this job for us. I have reorganised the stationery store, which had become very disorganised. He is a very disorganised person who is always losing his paperwork. The definition of inorganisation is a lack of organisation. The inorganisation of this office astounds me and I insist that all the filing cabinets are properly* organised by a capable person. The pile of papers was unorganised but we will be able to sort it out within a few hours. Unorganised means that the items have never been sorted, and disorganised means that any former semblance of order has been removed, disrupted or destroyed. As a dedicated shorthand writer I am quite sure you have no idea whatever of ever being disorganised with your shorthand materials and notes. (1324 words)

* Insert the first vowel, to differentiate it from "appropriately" which has a similar meaning, see para 1

Friday, 15 May 2015

Contractions 1

Contractions 1 - Part 1 of 8 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

This article practises the contractions and they are presented in roughly the same order as the contractions page* on the main website.  The entire list will be covered over several blogs. The majority of contractions are formed by using the first two or three* consonants of the word, exactly as one might do in longhand when there is no time to write the full version. There are contractions for only certain versions of the root word and the normal outlines for related words are also listed on the contractions page.

* Omission phrase "two (or) three"

Contractions 1 - Part 2 of 8 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

We are going to advertise the job on our website. We have advertised it before but there were no replies. We may have to place an advertisementin the local paper for a capable person to do the job. They will need to send us a copy of their certificates and be of a hardworking and honest character. The characterisation and portrayal of this type of person was well written in the novel. The main characteristic required in this product is durability in order for it to be a commercial success. We are convinced that this is a commercially viable business. We believe we have successfully combined commercialism with integrity. He gave away a substantial amount of his possessions. This report is substantially different from the draft that we were sent last week. The new proposals are quite insubstantial and we will need to meet again to agree on improvements.

* "advert" is a normal outline, with a halved Vr stroke.

Contractions 1 - Part 3 of 8 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

The attorney will cross-examine the witness but I doubt that the cross-examination will bring any results. The man may just give a description of what happened.  His descriptions* of the event were different from what we saw ourselves. I have subscribed to the monthly newsletters from the sports website. When subscribing you have to give some of your details, but cancelling your subscription is easy to do if you change your mind later. We did not find any difficulty in unsubscribingfrom receiving emails* and promotions. The soldier received his discharge from the armed* services. The man discharged his duties cheerfully. The pipe was continually discharging contaminated water into the river. At last we have bought a simple electric food mixer from the electrical department. The device is electrically charged and must not be touched.  The electricity supply to the shop was cut off this morning. They had no electricity for their machines and no electrical power to operate the office equipment.

* The plural "descriptions" does not use the contraction, possibly to avoid similarity with "discourse". A suggestion would be to use the contraction for the plural but then ensure to always insert the vowel in the second stroke of "discourse".

* "unsubscribe" not in dictionary

* Always insert the vowel in "email" to stop it being misread as "mail"

* Ensure the Md is clear, as "army" would also make sense

Contractions 1 - Part 4 of 8 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

The staff were not enthusiastic about being given extra work to do. The news was not enthusiastically received. He worked enthusiastically all day, especially when he had met his target by midday. His enthusiasm spread to the other workers when they found out how much bonus he received. We must beespecially careful* not to forget to take all the papers to the meeting. It was an especial honour to meet the chairman. He should be addressed as John Smith Esquire. He helped to establish this company many years ago. He established our sister company overseas as well. He said it had been hard work establishing the new association. The establishment of the new sales department is now completed. To disestablish means to withdraw status or recognition from an organisation. We have managed to re-establish the wildlife in the national park to its previous level. They have re-established their reputation as providers of a very high quality service. The re-establishment of the former conditions may take some time.

* Omission phrase "mus(t) be"

* "careful" Optional contraction

Contractions 1 - Part 5 of 8 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

I would like to exchange these shoes for a different size. You will have no difficulty in exchanging your purchase for another item.  When we met we exchanged phone numbers in order to be able to contact each other in the future. It is a matter of expediency that the accounts office has been moved to another building. The inexpediency of changing the working hours has become clear over the past week. My expenditure on clothes over the past month has increased enormously. Many of the items are expensive, because I believe the inexpensive items will not last very long. This makes the so-called* inexpensive purchases more expensive in the long term. I am familiar with this type of work and I understand that familiarity with the accounting system will be gained during training. I am somewhat unfamiliar with your accounting procedures at present. I shall familiarise myself with everything when I arrive in January. By February I will have finished my familiarisation with the system. We have received thefinancial accounts for last January and February. The financial future of the business is very promising. This commercial undertaking is financially insecure and needs to improve its methods.

* Using full outline for "called" instead of short form, in order to join

* Omission phrase "we have (re)ceived the"

Contractions 1 - Part 6 of 8 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

It is the job of the elected government to run the country for the benefit of all. They have the power to govern every aspect of the affairs of the nation. These officials have been governing the area for a long time. Some felt that governmental interference was not helping them in their commercial businesses. It was a wild ungovernable country. It had been misgoverned by those only interested in their own gain. We will be taking immediate action to put this right. We will be holding a meeting immediately in order to discuss the situation. I am sure the chairman will be quite imperturbable when he faces all the difficult questions*. We have incorporated their views into the report. The report has been written by an independent body of advisers.  He bought the house in order to become independent. They will be attending the Independence Day celebrations. The two parts of the machine work independently. A knowledge of mechanics is indispensable for this job. If a worker is indispensable, he is likely to receive high wages. The individual portions were quite small.  We will deal with each query individually, until they are all resolved. They wrapped all the cakes individually as they were quite soft and sticky.

* "questions" Optional contraction

Contractions 1 - Part 7 of 8 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

I would like to inform you of a problem on your website. You were informed about it a month ago. We think that informing the manager of the situation would be the best course of action. An informer told us about what was going on at the newspaper office. He believed their intention was to misinform the general public about the matter. The authorities will now inspect the premises. I have inspected the goods and they are all in good condition. The manager will be inspecting the rooms once the equipment has been installed. We have to respect his wishes in this matter. The officer respected the request from the employees regarding the situation. The children were given their respective rewards. John and Jane are ten and eight years old respectively. They are a respectable quiet family and they live in a respectable neighbourhood. The visitor was very respectful when he was invited into the man’s house. He did not want to show any disrespect to those who lived in the area.

Contractions 1 - Part 8 of 8 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

He decided to go ahead irrespective of the difficulties that seemed to be everywhere. He expected to overcome everything. He was always expecting a good outcome. His friends were worried they might find out that something unexpected had happened to him. We admired the modern architecture but noticed many imperfections in the surface of the paths. These imperfections were very noticeable. We think that the architect’s instructions had been imperfectly carried out*. The buildings are architecturally important and must be* preserved despite their imperfections. The society no doubt has plans to preserve the town’s architectural heritage for future generations to enjoy. (1249 words)

* i.e. "carri-dout"

* Omission phrase "mus(t) be"

Thursday, 7 May 2015

General Election

General Election - Part 1 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

I have just returned from casting my vote in the British General Election.  In a General Election every seat in the House of Commons is contested. A month before election day, Parliament is dissolved, so that officially there are no ministers, only candidates. Each candidate must be nominated by 10 voters living in the constituency, who will be listed on the nomination papers. In the months before the election, we will have been watching a variety of Party Election Broadcasts on the television, giving reasons why people should vote for them, and the numbers of these are strictly controlled according to each party’s electoral strength and number of candidates. Leaflets and posters will have been distributed by the various parties to every household, so that voters have full information on the candidates, with contact details if they wish to inquire further. Some people will be using tactical voting in order to avoid a disliked outcome, rather than voting for the person who they want to be in government. Everyone involved hopes that the turnout will be good and that all those entitled to vote do so, in order to accurately reflect the wishes of the electorate.

General Election - Part 2 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

My name is on the electoral register or electoral roll, and so I am entitled to use my vote to elect both the Member of Parliament for my area and also, in the by-elections, choose who I wish to be my local councillors. My polling station is a nearby school, but almost any building can be used for this purpose, as long as it is accessible by all the voters in the area. I really enjoyed voting day when I was at school, as it meant a day off! I gave the polling clerk my name and address, and he handed me my ballot paper listing all the candidates in my constituency who are standing for election. I went into the private booth and marked my chosen candidate with a pencilled cross next to the name. I then folded the ballot paper and put it into the ballot box, which is a secure locked metal box with a slit in the top.

General Election - Part 3 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

The whole process is controlled by the presiding officer of each polling station. Those who cannot attend to vote in person can either apply for a postal vote, or nominate a proxy to vote on their behalf and both of these are called an absentee ballot which have to be applied for some weeks in advance of the election. Sometimes there are people outside the polling station taking an exit poll, asking people who they voted for. The polling stations close at 10 pm and then the counting of the votes commences. If the results are very close, candidates can ask for a recount and the returning officer, who controls the voting process in the area, will make a decision on whether or not the ballot papers will be recounted.

General Election - Part 4 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Tomorrow morning I will awake to find out whether my chosen person has become my Member of Parliament, and which political party has gained the majority of the seats. The safe seats, where the outcome is fairly predictable, are not as interesting as the marginal constituencies, where the gap in votes between the leading parties is very small. A landslide is when one party wins by a large margin. A majority government is one that has over half of the seats in the Commons and the opposite situation is called a minority* government. Of the non-governing parties, the one with the most seats is called the Opposition. If no party has an overall majority, it is called a hung Parliament. Such an outcome can result in coalition agreements between parties, who agree to cooperate on certain issues.

* The modern pronunciation is this diphthong, although the dictionary gives third place dot.

General Election - Part 5 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

The British system is called “first past the post” (a term borrowed from horse racing) which means that the candidate who gains the most votes wins the seat. In the run-up to the election, candidates and their supporters will have been travelling around the country canvassing and raising their own profile in order to gain additional support from the voters. The party manifesto is a public declaration of the party’s policies and promises to the voters on future actions. The Prime Minister will appoint various senior ministers into a group called the Cabinet. Later on the Chancellor of the Exchequer* will announce his budget, which is the government’s tax and spending plans. Eventually the Queen will deliver the Queen’s Speech which sets out the new government’s legislative programme for the coming session of Parliament, and this is written by the government, not the Queen herself.

* A brief phrase for this can be found at:

General Election - Part 6 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

One last thing you might be interested to know about the current General Election in Britain is exactly how I voted. I think I can trust you with this highly personal and confidential information, which people generally keep to themselves to avoid embarrassment, argument or conflict. I did actually vote for Sir Isaac Pitman as my MP, which in my books means Master of Phonography. This hard-working, honest and tireless person is the one who laid the foundations for the employment of hundreds of thousands of office workers and reporters over the past almost two centuries. I believe his untiring efforts are still contributing to people’s working lives and each day shorthand writers around the world are grateful to him for his part in their career success. If you would permit me just a moment on my favourite soapbox, I would like to propose three cheers for Sir Isaac! (919 words)

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Marathon 2015

Marathon 2015 - Part 1 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

London Marathon 2015 start lineLast Sunday I watched the London Marathon all the way through, on the television screen and from the comfort of my armchair. I had intended to do some other things with the time, but somehow seeing it on the screen made me hesitate, then hover, and finally sit down and watch. I have no interest at all in sports, but this is one that I do enjoy seeing, probably because people are not really in competition with each other, and are mostly wanting to improve their own performance, or maybe just get to the finish line regardless of the hours taken. I know the elite runners are competing, but I do feel that* they are only using each other’s presence in the race to boost their own performance, and are not setting themselves against anyone else.

* Omission phrase "fee(l) that"

Marathon 2015 - Part 2 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Although I have seen it many times before, I am always amazed* at how many people have made the bold and courageous decision to apply for a place, been accepted, done as much training as they can, and have turned up on the day, ready and willing to put their absolute* best effort into running the 26.2 miles around London’s roads. This year over 38,000* runners took part, starting in a Royal Park and ending up at a Royal Residence and a large percentage were running to raise money for charities. Whilst watching the elite runners, I admire their skill and endurance, as they are obviously not getting out of breath in the first mile as we armchair viewers would be likely to do! They settle into a consistent regular pace and it is interesting how some of them* let another become the leader of the group and keep themselves behind for most of the route. The exciting part is when they start to break up in the last mile or so, and make their sprint towards the finish line, and that seems to be* where the competitive aspect becomes more apparent.

* "amaze/amuse" and derivatives - always insert the vowel

* "absolute" It is helpful to insert a vowel, compare "obsolete"

* Use stroke Ith for thousand only with normal numerals. If using the shorthand outline for a number, use the full stroke as well for thousand, hundred etc.

* Omission phrases "some (of) them"  "seems (to) be"

Marathon 2015 - Part 3 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

I really look forward each year to seeing the imaginative ideas and costumes that some of the runners deck themselves out with. My favourite this year was the tyrannosaurus dinosaur, especially as it had its own legs, attached to the heels of the runner, so that it appeared to be walking on its own. Another favourite was the lady dressed as a painting of the Mona Lisa, with a hole in the framed canvas for her own head to go through. I am sure that even now people are thinking up ingenious get-ups and working out how to make them, so that they can run without being overburdened by the extra weight or getting overheated.

Marathon 2015 - Part 4 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

London Marathon 2015 runnersI admire the marathon frame of mind*, pushing through and defeating any negative thoughts that try to hinder them, and the utter determination to finish, or at least go as far along the route as their leg muscles will take them. This is all about the “battlefield of the mind” where their original decision to persevere can be either swayed, toppled and defeated, or the challenge can cause it to be strengthened, toughened and reinforced. Being amongst so many other runners, as well as the cheering crowds, clearly provides the necessary encouragement, as strength or willpower threatens to fade, and even in the less popular* areas along the route, there are groups of bystanders clapping and cheering the runners. I always wonder how the very last few people cope, as they have 38,000 people ahead of them, and they must have to cheer themselves on much more than* those in the middle and front.

* Omission phrases "frame (of) mind"  "much mo(re tha)n"

* Keep the Ar curved, so it does not look like "populated" which would also make sense

Marathon 2015 - Part 5 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

I am writing this on the Monday after, and I really feel for all those participants waking up this morning with their limbs and feet letting them know that they have pushed it as far as possible*, something I only experience when I have overdone the gardening or furniture moving. I am sure they are relieved it is done and their goal is achieved, but also maybe sad that the exhilaration of the day has now begun to dissipate. Many will counter that by setting to work with a plan of action for further training in order to* improve performance for next year’s marathon.

* Omission phrases "as far as poss(ible)"  "in ord(er to)"

Marathon 2015 - Part 6 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

London Marathon 2015 winner
Following a marathon is a really good opportunity to see inspirational examples of how to push through and this can be applied to your shorthand writing* efforts, gritting your teeth under difficulties, and finally getting to the goal, and, after making some corrections, being ready to do it all again, with greater skill and better results*. During the race they were talking about “my PB” meaning Personal Best and of course, these are the first two shorthand strokes we all learned. I hope your PB is improving regularly and rapidly each time you take on your own speed and endurance challenge. (802 words)

* Omission phrases "short(hand) writing"   "better (re)sults"

Friday, 24 April 2015

Upminster Windmill

Upminster windmill and its field

Upminster Windmill - Part 1 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Various workings inside windmillAt the beginning of April I went to an open day at Upminster windmill in East London. It is one of the few surviving smock windmills, so named because its tapered shape resembles a white shepherd’s smock garment, wide and full at the base, and gathered in at the top. The mill was built in 1803 by John Noakes and was used for grinding flour* until 1910, and then it produced animal feed until 1934. The mill became derelict until about 1960 when it was repaired and then opened to the public in 1967, staffed by volunteers. We had visited in January and having walked around it several times to get good photos, we were left wondering what was inside, which had to wait until we returned home to look it up on their website. As might be expected, the name Upminster means church on the hill, just the right place for a windmill, and we certainly felt the chilly breezes on that January day.

* The outline for "flower" has a triphthong, as it is considered to be two syllables. It is a useful distinction to make for the shorthand writer, although not always discernible in ordinary speech.

Upminster Windmill - Part 2 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Steep ladderIt was much warmer and more pleasant on our recent visit. The weather was overcast but mild, and on arrival we saw cars pulling up onto the large grassy area at the front. Tours were being conducted in groups of about 8 people. The tour started outside with a description of the former cottages, bakery and steam mill, which are now just foundations and excavated areas. We then entered the mill and were taken straight to the top. We climbed several sets of steep narrow wooden steps, although ladders* would be a more accurate term. Our guide described the operation of all the items of equipment on each floor. Just seeing all the gear was interesting in itself, but it came alive with our guide’s knowledgeable* and comprehensive explanations of how everything worked. The view from a small open window at the top seemed much higher than the windmill had appeared from the ground and the chinks of light coming through odd places in the timber walls made it obvious that the mill interior must have been* a draughty place to work.

* L stroke is not doubled for "-der" unless it is part of a longer outline such as "stepladder".

* knowledgeable" is same outline as an unvocalised "enjoyable", this latter should have the diphthong written in, to distinguish.

* Omission phrase "must (have) been"

Upminster Windmill - Part 3 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Loose cog tooth lying on top
We made our way down to the floor below, gingerly* descending the steep ladder backwards. Once our group was down, the next one was allowed to enter the building and climb to the top, and in this way the groups were kept moving but also separate* from each other, ensuring a safe experience for all, necessitated by the tightness of the space on each level. As I listened to the descriptions* of the machinery, I was continually amazed* at how a single turning shaft could be made to do so many tasks, and include so many mechanisms for power control and adjustments. Obviously this has all been perfected over the centuries and what we were looking at was the result of all the accumulated inventions and improvements that men have created in that time, each one building on the expertise of the previous generation*. We saw the huge cogwheel* that transfers the power to the subsidiary wheels. Our guide took out one of the cogs and showed us that it had a very long root,  just like a tooth, held in place with a wooden pin, so that they could be replaced as necessary.

* "gingerly" An alternative outline that omits the N stroke

* Keep the T full length, as "separated" would also make sense here

* Always insert the vowel in amaze/amuse and derivatives

* "descriptions" The singular is a contraction (see para 2) but the plural is given in dictionaries as full outline. One possible explanation is to differentiate it from "discourse" which has a similar meaning.

* "wheel" is written with two strokes here, in order to be able to join.

* "generation" optional contraction

Upminster Windmill - Part 4 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Millstone vat with grain hoppers
Grain chute and hoppers above the
vat containing the millstones
On the Stone Floor* are the millstones, each pair enclosed in an octagonal wooden box called a vat or tun, and the chutes that feedthe grain into the central hole called the eye. The bedstone remains stationary* and the top runner stone is the one that rotates. The millstones do not actually touch but are separated by a space the thickness of a piece of paper, and this space is finely adjustable by the tentering* gear. Incorrect operation, such as insufficient grain flowing through the stones, could result in the stones touching thus producing sparks, which our guide rather understatedly described as “not a good idea in a building like this!”

Perspex model showing millstone grinding patternA small transparent perspex model of the millstones, two circles showing the pattern of the grinding lines, illustrated how the rotation produces a scissoring effect that cuts the grain, as centrifugal force propels it towards the edges of the stones. Below is the Meal Floor containing devices for sifting the flour and removing bran, and bagging* up the various grades of products.

* "Stone Floor" Using initial capitals, to retain the sense of the floor name, rather than a "floor made of stone". These two versions would be pronounced with the emphasis on different syllables, and shorthand needs to reflect that.

* "feed" Vowel added, as "fed" would also make sense.

* "stationary" The Shun hook written on this side in order to join the R. "Station" on its own has the hook on the other side, as per normal rules, as a means of keeping the stroke straight.

* "tentering" This outline also reads "tendering". If necessary, you could abandon the dictionary outline and write T + N + Tr + Dot Ing, to ensure a more accurate reading of an unusual term.

* "bagging" Keep clearly thick, as "packing" has a similar meaning.

Upminster Windmill - Part 5 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Central shaft with cogwheelAll the while I was walking around, I tried to imagine what it would have been like when the mill was working. It would have been a health and safety officer’s nightmare, with giant pieces of unprotected spinning machinery* groaning and rumbling, and all the bins and hoppers rattling as the grain descended. The trap doors would be heard banging as the sacks of grain were hoisted up and the whole building would be vibrating and creaking. Flour dust would be everywhere, causing severe irritation to the lungs and often death from fibroid phthysis*, commonly called miller’s lung. The stone dressers also suffered this complaint from inhaling stone dust as they renewed the grinding surface pattern of the millstones. The miller would be shouting to his assistant, as no doubt normal speech would be inaudible above the din of the machinery.

* "mach(in)ery" Alternative faster outline that omits the N sound

* "phthysis" The PH is silent, so outline is similar to "thesis"

Upminster Windmill - Part 6 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Old flour packaging paper bags

One might imagine that flour production came to a halt when there was no wind, but with the increasing prosperity of his business, in 1812 Noakes added a steam mill to the rear which operated a further two sets of millstones. The foundations of this are undergoing excavation at present. Finally we reached the ground floor, with displays of archaeological finds, model windmills in a glass case, a larger working model of the windmill, an old millstone, photographs, newspaper cuttings, flour containers and packaging bags throughout the years, as well as the necessary souvenirs and information table. I am sure my Upminster windmill pen and pencil are identical to those sold in other historic buildings but they are a reminder of a very informative and interesting day out, to see a treasured remnant of our industrial heritage and the remarkable skills and inventiveness of the craftsmen of the past. (1006 words)

Souvenir Upminster windmill pencil
Now I can sail through my shorthand

CGI animations: Windmill workings and Steam mill workings Aerial view from drone,0.245166,67m/data=!3m1!1e3

Chute in floor under trapdoor
Every shorthand writer's nightmare - the big gap

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Omitted Sounds

Omitted Sounds - Part 1 of 5 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

These paragraphs practise outlines that omit a sound that is very lightly spoken and often not spoken at all in normal speech.  Although some books describe them as contracted outlines, they do not belong to the official list of contractions, and behave as normal outlines, written in position and able to be vocalised when necessary. Practice for the contraction list will follow in future articles.

Omitted Sounds - Part 2 of 5 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Omission of light P. We pumped up the tyres and jumped into the car. We had not* skimped with the supply of sandwiches. We plumped up the cushions in the back seat. The superior suspension damped the movement every time the car was bumped by a hump in the road. We dumped our coats in the car, tramped to the beach and encamped amongst the sand dunes. We clamped the parasols in position but unfortunately we were not exempt from the midges. There was a presumption that we would also visit the nearby town and so later on there was a resumption of our journey. We claimed exemption at the toll gate on the bridge and the man in the booth stamped our pass card. He appeared to be swamped with work undertaken in very cramped conditions. I think he might hold the job in contempt and be prompted to look for another, if he is tempted by a better position. We went into the shops on the assumption that we could make a redemption of our discount vouchers. We faced the temptation to buy some sweets and my friend was the main tempter.

* "we had not" can be phrased , using a N Hook and halving, plus Dot Hay, but as the dots are needed to distinguish it from "do not", writing separately is much quicker and clearer.

Omitted Sounds - Part 3 of 5 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Omission of light T. I have instructed the postal assistant not to be wasteful with the postage stampsand to substitute a lower value one for non-urgent items, before the mail is given to the postman. We are optimistic that the increase in postage will be postponed and that postal charges will mostly remain the same. I have asked him to add a postscript to this month’s* newsletter saying that we may have to substituteother colours of waistcoat and that this substitution will not affect any returns of the goods. Ask the builder to repair the faulty wastepipe and let us know when it has been substitutedwith a new plastic one. If I am not mistaken this particular employee has rarely made a mistake in his work. His referees gave good testimonials of his performance and his work is also a testimony to his optimistic and hardworking nature, always dealing honestly with customers, unlike the previous employee who was found to be acting dishonestly.

* Both T's are omitted in this phrase

* subs(t)itute/d

* Omission phrase "to this (mon)th's"  Stroke Ith is generally intersected for "month" but joined if more convenient, as in "next month, six months".

Omitted Sounds - Part 4 of 5 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

He regularly carries a shorthand textbook and practice material on some postcards and after he has completed his training at the main post office in a trustworthy manner, he is optimistic that there will be no postponement of attaining a better position. He is smart, tastefully dressed and manifestly enjoys his job but I think eventually he will become restless or even listless if he does not receive some well-earned  adjustments to his salary. He has in fact* been offered  a job at the Institute* of Engineering. Consequently we have now institutedan improved process for promoting from within as it is most importantthat we do not lose our best personnel to other companies and institutions*. Some of the students were boastful when they passed their exams and some were wistful when they did not. They wistfully said that the subject matter was beastly and they had been marked unjustly. Others were modestly surprised and were glad that they had persevered steadfastly. Although the food in the restaurant was tasteless, the view from the window was restful and had been vastly improved by the new planting. Note that the following use the T stroke. When she found out how costly this ghastly gift was, she went ghostly pale.

* Omission phrases "in (f)act"  "mos(t) important"

* ins(t)itute/d, ins(t)itution

Omitted Sounds - Part 5 of 5 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Omission of light K or G. My new assistant is very punctual and he knows how to punctuateletters correctly, using all the appropriatepunctuation marks. However he has no compunction about taking long lunch breaks and I have warned him about this in the strongestpossible terms. The longesttime he was absent is two hours. His handwriting is very distinct and I distinctly remember seeing his neatly written application form. He gained a distinction in his Arts Degree and is therefore quite good at reading indistinct handwriting and extinct and defunct forms of script. We are anxious to ensure he does not languish on low pay, with all the anguish that entails, and in order that he can continue to function properly*, we are going to sanction a pay rise. We were driving to the sanctuary when the car suffered a puncture at the crossroads junction and instinct told us to immediately park up in the nearby precinct. To put it quite succinctly, our car had become a non-functioning vehicle. (806 words)

* "punctuate" Note the use of two T strokes, and not halving, similarly effectuate, fluctuate.

* "strongest, longest" These are optional alternatives to the full outline using the G stroke. There is no reason not to use the shorter versions, as they do not clash with anything.

* appropriate(ly), proper(ly) These should always have the vowel, to ensure they are not misread for each other, as they have similar meanings.