X is the only way one of Albie’s fellow soldiers can sign his name.
 I was surprised to discover how many young men only learned the three Rs when they joined the Army.
Here's an excerpt from my Novel Helter-Skelter:-
….it turned out he was upset because he’d been put on a charge for walking through a door marked “Authorised Personnel Only”.
“What did you do that for, you stupid Paddy git?” Thompson demanded.
O’Brien ran his huge navvy’s hand over his recently shorn scalp and muttered, “Can’t fecking read, can I?” He wasn’t the only recruit who’d missed out on the three Rs, but he was probably the only one to have private tuition from his entire hut to back up the army’s crash course…..

 X = a kiss, with which many a homesick soldier sealed his letters home SWALK. Strangely my Spanish friends tell me they don’t use an X – they simply write “besos” .

XYLOSE =  It is my usual bedtime wind-down to do a Cryptic Crossword – and this word cropped up so I thought I’d use it today. According to the clue in the  crossword it is SWEET AND SUGARY but the dictionary definition is much more complex:
XYLOSE is a white crystalline dextrorotatory sugar found in the form of xylan in wood and straw. It is extracted by hydrolysis with acids and used in dyeing, tanning, and in foods for diabetics. Formula: C5H10O5.
So now we all know.

A photo of Canada for no real reason other than I am missing my Canadian son. xxxx


  1. I've been learning so much this A to Z challenge. X is especially interesting to see what people find to write!

  2. X is a difficult letter to post about. Any idea where or how "X" came to denote a kiss? I saw this mentioned on another post today and it's bugging me now :)

  3. I love Canada too! I did get to visit Montreal when my son was there!

  4. I'm loving everyone's x posts so much. I recently discovered that one can still use an X to sign a check if, for instance, in the hospital and unable to sign the full name. That surprised me.

  5. Oooh, I do like a new word! x

  6. @ Botanist - perhaps it's because when you pucker up your mouth looks like an X ? Just a guess! In Spain it is also used to denote Wednesday - Miercoles - to distinguish it from Tuesday - Martes.

  7. Good X post!

  8. It's sad that someone needs to write X for their name.

    Love the colorful tree photo.


  9. Sad boys had to join the army to learn to read and write,but I'm watching a drama on tv called The Village set just befoire ww1 and the fathers doesn't want his son to go to school in case he gets ideas above his station,he wants him out working in the fields.

  10. I used to love doing cryptic crosswords then I stopped for a couple of months and now my brain won't work them out strange isn't it. I would have got that word!


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