Beware - the end of the world is nigh. Lovely word, nigh. It's Old English, you know, and according to the Concise Oxford Dictionary simply means "near".
I only wish it was not always attached to the above warning.
Ever since I was a kid I have heard, been frightened by or simply scoffed at the declaration that the end of the world is nigh.
But this week I am prepared to accept a warning that a super-volcano is bubbling away north of New Zealand, which could signal impending doom.
My acceptance is based largely on the fact that the warning does not include the word nigh; in fact it includes a definitive statement as to timing ("It won't happen for at least 100 million years"). Whew!
Apparently two or more continent-sized piles of rock are colliding at the bottom of the Earth's mantle, 2869km beneath the Pacific Ocean. The time lapse gives much comfort to folk my age, and although I wish future generations well I am afraid by the time this mighty, Earth-destroying apocalypse occurs myself and grandchildren many, many times removed will be well and truly in the ether.
A more likely scenario is that mankind, per se, would long since have disappeared from the Earth, probably as a result of our own foolishness.
Never mind, getting back to that Old English word: I think the time is nigh for us to broaden the use of this old word rather than just attaching it to the end of the world, which was a favourite occupation of that looney old comic Spike Milligan.
How about "it's nigh time I had a pay increase" or "the time is nigh for Chris Kilford to shout a round at the Horse and Hound", or even "MP John Hayes is nigh to walking the streets of Masterton".
Come to think of it, none of those three examples is any more likely to happen than a massive earth-shattering explosion - at least not for the next 100 million years.