Friday, 9 July 2010


Ortzikara is a Basque word meaning the time when a storm is brewing. Not only is it a useful term, but I feel that there is something ominous in the very sound.  It's the sort of word that a high priest intones over a human sacrifice. That may be only my gloomy imagination, or it may be because Basque words all sound a trifle odd; but ortzikara is certainly a more frightening word than nibble.

I remembered ortzikara today because I am staying fifty miles from a range of invisible mountains. Not that they are diaphanous, but that they are hidden in a summer haze except when a storm is coming. Then they appear, towering gloomily on the horizon, and distant thunders roll over the plain.

It is just beginning to rain.

I should mention that I found ortzikara on the erudite Omniglot blog, here.

The Inky Fool was just laying out his picnic


  1. The Antipodean, having just subscribed but whinging about it anyway,9 July 2010 at 12:13

    Oh, Dogberry, that's not fair: I don't have time for another blog!!

    I am only forgiving you because it's great, and so are the comments and commenters (nearly as good as yours) and I now have a word for that lovely murky light and slightly damp scent before a storm.

  2. You're right. It's a great word, full of meaning. I am saying it to my computer screen to try it out.