Mulling

Sometimes when a particularly marvellous, or wondrous, or just plain out of the ordinary thing happens, a bit of mulling has to take place before you can process it enough to write about it.

The particular thing I’m talking about happened last week when i went away with three writing friends for a five day ‘retreat’ to write, think, talk, ponder, imagine and create… I’m not quite ready to write about it yet although nothing dramatic happened except i got over my writer’s bump and am within a gnat’s whisker of finishing the first draft of my next novel.

So I’m mulling… and I’m now wondering too, wondering where the word mull comes from – maybe it means warming, as in mulling wine or cider, maybe it means musing or wondering, maybe – but I don’t think it does – maybe it comes from the Mull of Kintyre?

I consulted my favourite on-line site for odd words:

https://www.etymonline.com/word/mull

In actual fact I wasn’t far off in my idea of three different things. Mull meaning to ponder seems to have arrived in this sense in the nineteenth century, deriving possibly from a word meaning to grind. This in turn might have come from old French, Now the French word for grind is moudre, the French word mouler means to mould something… I’m just guessing here!

Mulled wine is one of those things no-one quite knows where it came from, possibly something Dutch or Flemish which was a sweet, spiced wine. A Scottish mull is the anglicised name of a geographical feature – a promontory or headland, which crops up in place names such as

  • The Mull of Kintyre
  • The Mull of Galloway
  • The Mull of Oa
  • The Mull of Cara,
  • The Mull of Logan,
  • Mull Head

and incorporated in place names too, those of Gaelic origin.

Back to mulling…

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