The aim of this blog is to serve as a meeting point to those who study or have studied English philology and, more broadly, to all those who love literature and language.

8 Nov 2009


After reading today's Quote of the Day (see below), I followed the recommended link and read about Kazuo Ishiguro having worked "as a as a grouse-beater for the Queen Mother at Balmoral before enrolling at the University of Kent". I had no idea about the meaning of that word and tried to look it up by googling the expression.

It has not been an easy task. I can find what a grouse and I understand the general meaning of beater but I have to rely on my "knowledge of the world" to imagine that a grouse-beater's job is to harass birds so someone hunts them easier when moving. Is it like that? Anyway, a curious job for a future writer and a curious employer for the activity.

" I couldn't speak Japanese very well, passport regulations were changing, I felt British, and my future was in Britain. And it would also make me eligible for literary awards. But I still think I'm regarded as one of their own in Japan."

Kazuo Ishiguro


  1. I suffered the same. As you wrote, it has not been an easy task to find out the meaning of "grouse-beater". As "grouse" could be also use for a sort of complain, initially I was tempted to follow that way; but in the end I agree with your assumption.


    "Beating is an essential part of any successful shoot. If you are unfamiliar with what beating actually is, basically a beater is a person who has the job of flushing birds such as pheasants or grouse from cover in the direction of the guns.

    Beaters work as part of a team normally led by the Gamekeeper or Underkeeper through woodland or other cover such as gamecrops to make sure that the birds fly in the desired direction. Their job is to investigate every bit of cover in the wood and flush the birds out using a stick."

    There's more description on the info section. It took a little more digging than I'm used to!