cloud-bolted --Britain is...

Emma Thompson made the comment below:

Is this the sense of 'bolted' as in "The door was bolted against intruders"? ** She's saying Britain is locked in behind clouds?

It's obscure how clouds would function as a 'bolt' in the definition below*.

Is there a link to 'cake-filled'? When it's cloudy and rainy people eat lots of cake? :)

Emma Thompson’s wrong about the EU and cake

She went on to describe Britain as ‘a tiny little cloud-bolted, rainy corner of sort-of Europe, a cake-filled misery-laden grey old island’.

*From W-R dictionary:
bolt, v.
  1. [Building] to fasten with or as if with a bolt[~ + object]He bolted the muffler back onto the car.

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  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    Locked under clouds is what I think she means - she is an actress and somewhat poetic here: the clouds are bolted to the island.

    I think there's a kind of poetic symmetry, but no semantic link. Britons eat cake even when it's sunny ;)


    Senior Member
    English English
    I have no idea what Thompson meant by bolted.
    There's no direct connexion between dreary weather and cake, that I know of. We just happen to like cake. I eat virtually nothing but cake.
    At the risk of sounding unkind, I've noticed before that Thompson has something of a fondness for frilly, twiddly claptrap language:)


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    The writer Lawrence Durrell, who spent his early years in India and never could bring himself to love England, referred to Britain as "Pudding Island" - stodgy, colourless, and boring, I suppose. Maybe Thompson was echoing that when she said "cake-filled".

    Disclaimer: I love puddings and Britain, both.
    That's the question, Paul. Why do you reject the second definition as applicable.?

    From Cambridge, online:

    bolt verb (MOVE QUICKLY)

    to move very fast, especially as a result of being frightened: Frightened by the car horn, the horse bolted.


    bolt verb (LOCK)
    [I or T] to lock a door or window by sliding a bolt across: Have you locked and bolted the door?

    PS. I agree there's nothing wrong with cake. :) I wonder if the reference follows Marie Antoinette? "Let them eat cake." Aristocrats eat cake while poor people lack bread?

    I imagined clouds bolting across the sky...I'm not in Europe and I cannot see how cakes can be bad.As a member of the Grumpy Old Men's Club (President - sdg) I see this as a bonus.


    English - England
    That's the question, Paul. Why do you reject the second definition as applicable.?
    I didn't reject it, I didn't think of it. When I started to read, it became clear that others had thought of "locked in by cloud", and that seems reasonable as an explanation, though not necessarily when used as "cloud-bolted" as we expect something a little more substantial from bolts.

    (I suspect it was a variant on landlocked that came to the author's mind)

    To bolt is an ergative verb whose subject, when intransitive, corresponds to its direct object when transitive.
    The clouds bolted across the sky
    The wind bolted the clouds across the sky.

    It is this confusion that gives rise to the strangeness of "cloud-bolted" as it is being used transitively "that which is bolted by clouds".


    English - England
    "The harbor was locked in by fog" --slight grating of metaphor? I've not heard that, but I'll take your word for it, but it does sound strange. "Lock" seems inapplicable as we see "a lock" - a small thing securing a greater entry - and none of that seems to fit.

    I would say "Vessels in the harbour were fog-bound" with the weaker sense of "confine or limit"
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