Miles Kington: Why no one writes poems about spiders, and other mysteries

8 July 2005

Related Topics

Today, another helping of Albanian proverbs. If you haven't met them before, Albanian proverbs are very different from ours. Ours are dry and common-sense. Look before you leap. Don't count your eggs. But Albanian proverbs are both allusive and elusive. They sound impressive at first, but when you think about them, they fall flat and play possum. Still, better a dead proverb than no proverb at all. Which, as it happens, is an old Albanian proverb...

The tragedy of travelling first class is that however comfortable you are, and however many free drinks you get, you still arrive at your destination at the same time as the second-class passengers.

The worst thing that can happen to a trapeze artist: breaking your leg in the safety net.

Better the grass snake you know than the hedgehog you don't.

No one ever started building a cathedral from the top down.

Three days to avoid: someone else's National Holiday, staff training day at a service area, and Speech Day at the Deaf and Dumb College.

Bananas are the only fruit you can pretend to shoot people with. So it must be just a matter of time before they are banned in the war against terrorism.

It is better to be licked by a cow than never to be licked at all.

Happy is the man who wins nothing at the bottle stall, for he shall not get back the truly dreadful bottle of Romanian rosé he donated yesterday.

The only thing you can do after finishing a crossword puzzle is start another one, and who wants to do that?

Nobody was ever asked if they wanted to be a saint.

Does a curtain shut out the darkness, or does it keep in the light?

Do you want to be famous? Have a disease named after you.

Milk would make the best invisible ink, if you could read by smelling.

You can put L plates on a car, but you can teach it nothing.

One nation's famous victory is another's source of rancour. Celebrate Trafalgar at your peril.

We hurry back back to our seats for the second half of the play, glad to enter this haven of peace and quiet after the drama and turmoil of trying to get served at the bar in the interval.

If nobody writes poems about spiders, it is because there is no rhyme for "web".

"Thesaurus" is the Greek word for "treasure", but what is the Greek word for "thesaurus"?

Next time you think how dull it is to watch an orchestra at work, think what it is like for the musicians to have to look at you.

Millions of people have visited Longleat, but not one has ever wondered what a "leat" was, and how long they generally are.

The trombone must be the only musical instrument invented by a marine engineer.

Oranges are not the only fruit, but then, did anyone ever say they were?

Two nations which have never fought each other can never be real friends.

No man is an island. And if what they say about global warming is true, it's just as well.

Listen! What is that soft sound in the suburbs? It is the discreet noise of middle-class housewives getting the place tidy before their cleaning ladies arrive.

Three people to avoid: a man who has recently lost his luggage at an airport, a woman who has recently joined a reading group and a child who has recently been given a how-to-be-a-magician kit.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Mosul falls: Talk of Iraq retaking the town, held by IS since June, is unconvincing  

Isis on the run? The US portrayal is very far from the truth

Patrick Cockburn
John Rentoul met Ed Miliband aged 23, remarking he was “bright, and put up a good fight for the utilities tax, but I was unconvinced.”  

General Election 2015: Win or lose, Ed Miliband is not ready to govern

John Rentoul
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk