Saturday 15 March 2014

I'm after Connie

Pig Ark complete and in its final position
St Patrick's Weekend and a chance for even we Brits to be as Irish as possible. This gives me a chance to post on a subject which has been building up, much to my amusement, and that is the 'divided by a common language' thing. In theory, both the Brits and the Irish speak 'English' but you do not have to be around Irish people for long to realise that you can go well astray if you just plough on in normal chat and conversation, using your colloquial English.

The hive now painted white and
sitting on its new stand.
I, for one, am constantly delighted by the colourful turns of phrase used by the locals here and, if I can remember them I sometimes make a note of them, determined to use them in a post like this one.

John Deere Bob, for example after a dry dusty job; "Wait while I fetch a glass of water, I'm as dry as a fish!"

Bob again on me teasing him about using two tea bags in the mug, which he always does when making us 'tay'; "Ah, you need it a bit strong, water is no good for you!"

An expression to describe well-muscled women who might be able to lob a few hay bales around; "Beef to the heels, like a Mullingar heifer!"

Banana cake, from a recipe via Mazy
One of our bee keeping lecturers on being asked if an anti-varroa-mite product was toxic "Sure, there's a fearful bang off it!"

Bobby again in a conversation about bee keeping; "Ah now, I wouldn't want any of that. I'd be worried they'd be at me at night, like some manner of faeries trying to get me"

and then when frightened by a child-like crying while tending sheep, "The power was lay-ving me legs till I got back inside the house".

Spices bound for home made mango chutney.
We love all these and there have been a million more which I have not had a chance to write down. These are all harmless and enjoyable, but in some turns of phrase, to use the English version can get you into all kinds of confusion and trouble. One such is 'savage', the latest buzz word for 'brilliant, really good, 'cool', used by both adults and the youth. We were at young Henry's Birthday Party chatting to a farmer and the subject of our having geese came up. Farmer James was impressed and asked "Are they savage?". I was concerned to reassure him that, no, they are quite tame. I went waffling on about the gander, George, being especially so, having been hand reared by Charlotte. I spotted the confusion furrowing his brow but just took it to be a problem with my accent. It was only on the way home that Liz explained about the local use of 'savage'. James must have thought I was a right dope!

Crocus now fully out in the sunshine.
Another one which I am struggling to get used to is the use of the word 'after'. The Irish use it in an almost chronological sense, so when they say "I'm after buying a new car" they mean "I have very recently bought,,,". JD Bob uses it to decline our offers of tea by saying "Ah, I won't, I'm just after tea". Down in the south east of England, I have been regularly using it to mean 'looking for' or 'hunting', so I'd happily go into a shop and say "what I'm after, is the latest edition of Practical Pigs magazine" or "I was in the pet shop, I was after tinned dog food"

Pulmonaria flowering in our 'woods'.
You may be ahead of me here, but I think you can see how this would lead you into trouble. If it is objects or shopping you are 'after' you might get a confused look. 'I'm after dog-food' to a shopkeeper would get you a confused look and the poor guy hunting for a suitable reply to someone who has just walked in and appears to be saying he has just had (eaten) some Pedigree Chum. But yesterday I needed to go into the bank and seek out a specific member of staff. As you (may) do, I parked the car and walked across the car-park mentally rehearsing how you'd put this. "Excuse me, but I have been asked to come in to the bank and ask for Connie".

Mango chutney
Luckily it occurred to me that I could get into all kinds of trouble if I breezed in and opened with "Hi, I'm after Connie!" They would all be falling off their chairs and thinking of suitable rejoinders covering the possibility that I might be proudly announcing that I had just been up to no good with one of their esteemed members of staff.

But enough of this. Our lovely spring sunshine and rain-less-ness continues and today, for the first time since December, I was able to get right in to the muck heap with a tractor load of bullock-muck from Bob's. I've been dropping it on the hard standing and barrowing it round for fear that the tractor would sink without trace into the grass. We have all the crocus now fully out in the sunshine and even some Pulmonaria (lung-wort) breaking bud in our woods. We are hoping for good weather again tomorrow so that we can get some seed potatoes and onion sets in. And to cap it all on a lovely St Patrick's weekend we think Ireland are just 'after' beating France in a bit of a tight one and thereby winning the 6 Nations Rugby. Our contribution was to NOT watch or listen lest we jinx the 'Boys in Green'. We only dared look when we knew it was well over.

Happy St Patrick's Day (Beannachtaí, na Féile Pádraig oraibh)


anne wilson said...

The pig ark looks good.

Matt Care said...

Thank you for that. We are quite pleased with it.