Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

When times were just a wee bit harder

Vocabulary, domestic methodology and items employed by my mother between 1939 and 1950. Not necessarily unique to West Riding of Yorkshire

All being well West Riding version of deo volente
Bodice White flannelette waistcoat worn over vest and under shirt by children with weak chests
Boggle (n.) Solid excretion from nostril
Bread dipped in egg French toast; main constituent dried egg powder.
Broddling Excursions, using rotating finger, typ. into ear or nostril
Browned on Euphemism for burnt
Cabbage water Served in a cup with Oxo cube; stratagem to force nutrition into cabbage-hating youth
Cake Two discs of potato holding very thin layer of fish, deep-fried. From fish and chip shop.
Canadian supper cake Wartime recipe where liquid paraffin replaced lard/butter, etc.
Candles Liquid excretion from nostril
Chavvelled Ragged, worn
Conk Core (of apple)
Crack beetles on mi belly Over-eaten
Cut, The Canal, specif. the Leeds-to-Liverpool
Diddle Stand on one leg then the other because of bladder pressure
Drawing Dangerous way of encouraging coal fire to “take”. Sheet of newspaper held over fire-place to encourage rush of incoming air under grate; newspaper almost always ignites
Firelighter Sheet of newspaper rolled into long tube and folded into interlocking triangular pattern to “start” fire. Far harder than it looks
Fix-fax Skeins of white tegument (cartilege?) in cheap cuts of meat
Ganzy Jersey; pullover (corr. of Guernsey)
Gill Half a pint (typ. beer, milk); elsewhere in UK one-third of a pint
Gollocky Left-handed
Hogging cap Flat cap with body stitched to “neb”
Kaylegged Tired
La-di-dah Middle-class, upper-class, from "down south"
Lost its nature Useless (typ. elastic)
Muckments General rubbish
Nattercan One who importunes irritatingly
Narrow-gutted Mean-spirited, ungenerous,
Nip-curn Mean (lit. nip-currant, ie, someone who nips currants in half to make them go further in a teacake)
On the prod Restless; household pet’s way of asking for food
Ovoids Egg-shaped lumps of compressed coal-dust; used during coal shortages
Panel patients Pre-NHS, presumably poverty-stricken, patients treated virtually free (ie, 2s 6d or half-a-crown a go) by family doctor
Progging Gathering wood for bonfire
Proper going-on Reorganised and supposedly improved way of tackling life.
Reckon Judge to be, eg, I reckon nowt to that
Ruttling Vibration of saliva in back of throat during sleep; often a prelude to snoring
Scraps (Bits?) Small particles of deep-fried batter scattered (free) on portion of fish and chips
Scruffs Young people, of terrifying reputation, from nearby slum
Seg Small three-point nail for protecting shoe heels
Septic Seemingly outdated phenomenon; in the immediate post-war years (possibly due to malnutrition) minor cuts and abrasions often became infected and were said to “have gone septic”
Spitting Ejection of flaming fragments from fire-place; the result of rain getting into stored coal.
Thoil Bring oneself to do something, eg, I can’t thoil to pay that much
Trolley Abbr. trolley-bus
Window-bottom Window ledge

PS (latest from my brother) Mither Dither with a different initial letter.
(Latest from me) Doiting Losing one's wits

16 comments:

marja-leena said...

Had a few hearty laughs over some of these, mostly unfamiliar like the Canadian supper cake (seriously?). Did you just remember all these or have you been doing some research, BB?

herhimnbryn said...

Alan Bennett eat your heart out!

I still roll and fold newspaper firelighters like that.

Relucent Reader said...

Fascinating words, BB, thank you for posting.
I hear 'reckon' every once in a while here in the south; it is more common in the western part of the state.

Rouchswalwe said...

♪Hoch sollst Du leben,
hoch sollst Du leben,
dreimal hoch! ♪
Du lebest hoch,
Du lebest hoch,
Du lebest hoch!

I raised ein Helles Alt in your honour, dear BB! Many happy returns!

The Crow said...

Is it your birthday? Then, Happy birthday, dear friend; happy birthday, indeed!

:)

Barrett Bonden said...

M-L: No I'm not joking about Canadian supper cake; it was truly horrible (and I was then an omnivore). Also when left to stand the liquid paraffin began to leach out on to the plate. It's quite clear that Canada bears some collective guilt about this ghastly comestible; when I tried to Google it moments ago I was asked "Did I mean Canadian Super Cake?", an obvious attempt to re-write the country's shocking culinary history. No research; I remembered them all and my brother has thrown in two or three more.

HHB: My life and AB's have run on parallel courses (he's Leeds, I'm Bradford); it's just that he had a little bit more literary success. Folding firelighters: the proof is in the pudding. Too slackly rolled and they burn too quickly; too tightly rolled and they don't burn.

RR: There's a subtle difference between the West Riding "reckon" and that of the southern states. In the former it's the product of a judgement, in the latter it's a synonym for "I think" (used casually) or, more colloquially, "I guess". Interesting how much of the language mentioned was the result of our shrunken way of life in those days.

RW (whom I call Zu Schwer because her true blogonym is too hard to pronounce): Exchanges with you are a celebration of my too-long suppressed enthusiasm for Germany and the German language. I'm guessing here the word hoch (ie, high) means "long", as in "Long may you live". For those unfamiliar with Helles Alt I can say with some certainty that this is a matured light beer. Zu Schwer is observing my 74th birthday with some style. I appreciate her willingness to delve into German with me but I may not be doing her any favours. Her English is full of vigour, idiosyncrasy and invention and English monoglots should not be denied its shining example.

Rouchswalwe said...

BB! How many slices of sweet birthday Kuchen have you had today? Your kind words leave me flabbergasted with happiness that you are enjoying our exchanges as much as I am.
Only double Gills of ale for you!
Hoch is a wonderful word that in this birthday cheer means mainly that you should live long (as you surmised) and that you should live well, i.e., by enjoying good food and drink in the style of the nobility (Hochadel). Then there is the nifty nuance of the word as it is found in the saying, ein Hoch dem Gastgeber, meaning "three cheers for the host." And of course there is the ultimate "happy time" ~ die Hochzeit.
Which all brings us back to the question of abbreviations in spoken German. Could it be that the words are not actually as long as they appear to be. I mean, wouldn't the gluing together of a number of short words make abbreviating impractical for the most part?

marja-leena said...

Oh, belated happy birthday, BB! I'm enjoying these exchanges you are having with RW, though my German is very minimal. BB, did you know Fred is German? You two could have practised it over lunch!

Barrett Bonden said...

M-L: As Lucy said: "Are you tracking?" I fear you have been horribly misled. I speak virtually no German as RW(Zu Schwer) would confirm if she weren't so terribly polite. However, I have a ragbag collection of German bits and pieces and I am able to scatter these around in order to provide a very superficial impression of fluency. A discussion in German with Fred at the Blogger's Retreat would have ended before your jug of water was delivered. Luckily I am able to delude some English-speakers into believing I am a Anglophonic. Thanks for your good wishes.

Rouchswalwe said...

Qualität vor Quantität!

Hattie said...

HAPPY 74th!
"I reckon" is thought of as either hillbilly speech or cowboy speech in the U.S.A. Spitting is often involved. The only other term I recognized is lah-dee-dah, which my mother used to use.

Avus said...

Ah - 74th is it BB? Best Wishes - you are ahead of me by 3 years.
As to those wonderful words, they brought a lot back to me since my paternal grandfather came for what he called "God's own county" and I could hear him mouthing some of them.
Our language is the poorer for contemporary "common speech" and I suppose we must blame modern media for that.

herhimnbryn said...

Belated birthday greetings Mr Bonden Sir.

Barrett Bonden said...

RW (Zu Schwer): Eine echte Sinngedicht! Kurz, plötzlich und kräftig.

Hattie: Only another 26 years to go and the Queen will send me a telegram (ie, a cable). Or she would if telegrams still existed.

Avus: If he came from God's own county, might I conclude he turned his back on God and, thereby, embraced the Devil?

HHB: Thanks. But I worry about the "sir". How strangely menacing those feet on the right look.

Lucy said...

Oh, a late happy birthday!

I loved these; I think cracking beetles on me belly might be my favourite. Drawing the fire was a laugh wasn't it? None of your nannying in those days, my brother and I were doing it left on our own in the telly room when we were just nippers... Best of all when a flaming sheet of newspaper made its way up a sooty chimney!

Avus said...

He and you both, BB