January Squares: Mixed Lights

Atmospheric lighting and a modern stained glass window
Liverpool pizzeria’s mood lighting

I’m sharing a few days’ January Squares, with twin themes: places where we can eat and/or drink; each picture to represent a word ending in light.

The first could be daylight or windowlight (apparently that’s a word). I was interested in the colours – how the light seems to leach them out from the modern stained glass and paint them on the sills and surfaces, and the way the barstools carry them through into the room. The hanging lights have coloured wires too or appear to have through a trick of the light.  

Blue and green multi lights in a tequila bar in Liverpool
Tequila bar, Liverpool

Around the corner (a few corners, but you get my drift) we’d discovered a bar bright with string-lights, glass bottles and glasses adding their refections into the mix. I don’t know whether I’ll have any credibility if I contend we were there for breakfast and had merely ordered full English with coffee?

Ceiling lights and heavy duty spotlights
Bowland Beer Hall’s lights (in Clitheroe)

We did have a drink in this Clitheroe bar. I’m claiming spotlights (good, heavy ones that would not be out of place on an old film set) for this. The lights in the roof ought to get a mention, but I’m clutching at straws, having ruled out skylights and strip lights. How about slat lights or, setting the challenge aside for a moment, pinstripe lights?

Green parrot and smoking guitar in a Key West bar
In-flight entertainment, parrot style

Several word choices could fit the parrot with smoking guitar we found painted on a door at The Green Parrot Dive Bar in Key West. Songflight, perhaps, as when a bird sings as it flies to attract a mate. I could well imagine this green parrot has seen so much nightlife that it courts its mate a little differently than your average parrot. But lest anyone judges that idea too much of a flight of fancy, I settled on in-flight entertainment.

Mississippi State Fair
Mississippi State Fair at twilight

For years, my sweetheart has wanted to take me to the State Fair: his version of songflight, perhaps, with not just sounds, but tastes and smells too. In 2019, I was over there at just the right time. I didn’t try the alligator-on-a-stick and scrunched up my nose at the idea of rattlesnake sausage (more sausage than snake, I’m advised). Even the corn alarmed me because after the cob was charred to softness and peeled it was completely dipped into a vat of melted butter and handed over, still dripping. It seemed like too much fat, but I was wrong. Sprinkled with parmesan-style cheese and hot spices, it was so delicious we went back the next night for more.

As twilight fell, bunting fluttered and the cable cars turned into silhouettes, things became more atmospheric and I could see why he wanted me to be there.

Fair with food stalls, bunting and cable cars
All the fun of the fair

I couldn’t resist ending with a landscape shot of the fair, especially since it seems to capture a classic flying saucer gliding in to land. Nobody who has experienced the State Fair would be all that surprised by one of those turning up.

Shared as part of January Squares.

Aside: I’ll bet I’m not the only one Becky’s challenge has prompted to wonder about language. Why are some forms of light written as two seperate words, others as one, while yet others are hyphenated? I can understand walllight might be a stretch, though WordPress’s spellcheck seems happy with its three consecutive Ls, but why would windowlight, moonlight, candlelight or torchlight be one word, but not ceiling light? Why do we write traffic-light (if we do)? Why is it unlight but half-light and full light? I suppose that’s part of what makes English so loveable – it goes its own sweet way, guided by the majority as time unravels, whether we like it or not.

28 Replies to “January Squares: Mixed Lights”

  1. I never thought of mixed lights, I went with streetlights early in the month despite the Christmas lights, traffic lights and shop lights.

    1. I tried a few titles but didn’t want to get bogged down by that so just meant these pictures are about lights and they’re a mixed bag. But like you, I’m finding that when I look at a picture I’ve picked out for the challenge there are often multiple sources of light.

    1. I’ve been reading Shakespeare quite a lot over the last year or so and watching how he used language is making me feel a bit less inclined to follow the rules. He’s a great example of how language seems more powerful the less we try to pin everything down.

  2. Pinstripelights! Of course! I enjoyed your epilogue about language and I agree that English is lovable in many way (how do I love thee?) except when it’s not. It definitely shines with these lights in your post. I admit to a small groan with “in-flight entertainment,” but I had a great time visiting all these lively images! Thank you!

  3. The challenge has got me thinking too – trying to stretch the imagination! Light fantastic in your blog today, most enjoyable and I love the parrot!

  4. Oh, the English language. So beautiful and flexible and at times, so maddening in its inconsistencies. Nothing maddening about your post, though. Instead, sheer delight, as you went from one subject to another. I was especially taken with the stained glass window. As for corn on the cob…it must be eaten with lots of butter. It’s a rule here. 😉

    1. It’s a pity that we live in an age where we’re expected to get it right. I can see it makes life easier in some ways but the old poets managed to get by just fine with a more fluid language. Rules like ‘corn needs lots of butter’ I can get used to. I seem to get less used to rules about where we should and shouldn’t put commas the more I write.

  5. Did you or others think of using the word delight? As for how noun-noun compounds get written in English, usually they start out as separate words. A combination that survives and is regularly used tends to coalesce into a single written word. As for hyphens, the trend in today’s English is to use fewer or even none. Many editors now go with a word like reexamine where I would still write re-examine, with the hyphen breaking up the two vowels so that a reader doesn’t get mis-cued (or miscued) into expecting that ree is a single syllable.

    1. I have seen a few delights from others. That’s an interesting explanation. I would probably put the hyphen in re-examine to avoid the ee effect, or might go with double-check. 🙂

      1. I seem to think that I discussed it with Becky at the start of the month because I went with First-light for my first January Squares post.

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