A blog should offer some sort of commentary. But these two pieces from the 17 October Financial Times speak for themselves, and have left me rather, er, speechless (possibly a first, and certainly a relief to those who know me).

There’s this page 4 headline: ‘Bonus hopes lift top properties‘ followed by this lead ‘City bankers confident of bumper bonuses this year have descended on London estate agents hoping to snap up multimillion pound homes with Goldman Sachs employees among those leading the charge.’

(Ok, I can’t resist a comment: did the FT’s editors intend to evoke a Biblical plague of locusts? Or is it just me – an atheist, for goodness sake – who inferred it? While I was busy inferring that the bonuses in question were mostly being funded by bailouts from the taxpayers who now can’t get loans from the bankers’ banks, that is.)

Approximately 15cm below it, you’ll find this: ‘Families set for low-key Christmas‘, which begins ‘More than 40 percent of consumers plan to spend less on Christmas presents this year than they did in 2008 as families, chastened by more than a year of straitened finances, plan a low-key festive season.’

Here’s how reference.com defines chasten (from the Latin for castigate which of course means ‘to punish severely’):

1. to inflict suffering upon for purposes of moral improvement; chastise.

2. to restrain, subdue

Now it’s up to you, dear reader, to mix’n’match: apply one of the above definitions of ‘chasten’ to each of the two FT stories and you win a mansion in Belgravia and a Maybach with driver, which you can collect as soon as you prove your own rectitude and pass through the proverbial pearly gates. Good luck!

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