Garner's "The Owl Service"

Ian W. Riddell iwriddell at
Tue Oct 29 00:34:55 EST 2002

On Monday, October 28, 2002, at 09:36  PM, Jon Noble wrote:

> --- "Ian W. Riddell" <iwriddell at> wrote:
>> 1. What does it mean to say that someone is
>> "sken-eyed"?
> Sken is a dialect word related to "askance" the
> meaning could be "squint" or "to give a side look" or
> "glance" (source Shorter OED)

That makes sense, and sort of what I figured. I just wanted to make 
sure I wasn't missing any nuance

>> 2. What does someone mean when they say they've got
>> the "ab-dabs"?
> I've not heard this one.

Sally suggested "heebie-jeebies" and I notice that the word starts with 
"ab". I wonder if there's any connection to the abdomen?

> On "The owl service" I remember reading an account by
> Garner of the filming of this. It seemed to be quite
> spooky with some of the aspects of the story also
> manifesting itself amoung the actors involved. To look
> at AG's influence also look at some of his other books
> "Wierdstone of Brisingamen" "Moon of Gomrath" and
> "Elidor" are more conventional fantasies, while "Red
> shift" which was later is a more challenging work. All
> are recomended.
> Jon Noble

Thanks for those suggestions. On the strength of "The Owl Service" I've 
decided to read more Garner. I'll take what our library has first (the 
three more conventional ones you suggest) and then hunt down others on 
Amazon or in used book stores. I'll be sure to look when I'm up in 
Canada in the spring as they're more likely to have more British stuff 
than they do down here.



The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable 
uncertainty; not knowing what comes next.
Ursula K. Le Guin
Ian W. Riddell
iwriddell at
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