During general conversation, in my house, I often find myself explaining a word or my use of an idiom. Keep your eyes peeled, caused much hilarity and trumped, racking my brains, which was generally considered the most ridiculous thing I had ever said, by my young children. Now I know I have the gift of the gab and I don’t want to beat about the bush, nor let the cat out of the bag, but I won ‘t lead you up the garden path either and I can assure you that I am not in cahoots with anyone …Ok ok I will stop, and wipe the slate clean, sorry.
I can understand why most of these old sayings need explaining, their roots are deeply planted in my English heritage, their origins no longer relevant and perhaps not commonly heard here. It is with motherly love then, that I have gently explained the meanings behind these and increased their vocabulary with care. However, I have been shocked lately, that my children simply do not know that these 10 things, among others, even existed.
- MERKIN. A merkin is a pubic wig. Merkins were originally worn by prostitutes after shaving their genitalia (to remove lice), and are now used as decorative items, or in films, by both men and women. The female version is usually made of fur, beaver pelts, linen or some soft version of cloth, while the male version is usually made of loops, chains, or metal, and is much more closely related to the codpiece. I was explaining that I once saw a drawer full of these in a costume shop. No not that kind, theatrical.
- MACRAME. Macramé or macrame is a form of textile-making using knotting rather than weaving or knitting. Its primary knots are the square knot and forms of “hitching”: full hitch and double half hitches. Seriously I made several hanging plant holders and was quite adept in the day.
- BLANCMANGE. Known as Cramma (which has another meaning for me, but I digress) in southern Italy where it is still very popular. The English version is more like a cold custard. The dessert we ate as kids was always bright pink. My children politely declined.
A PLOUGHMAN’S. Complete blanks when I asked if anyone would like a Ploughman’s. Found this online but apparently, I should have just said bread and cheese. I tried to explain, it is not just bread and cheese, but they walked away.5. BARBAPAPA. Come on, surely you have heard of him? Originally from France I think, Barbapapa is a big pink squishy cartoon character, that can change shape at will. I innocently said that I felt like Barbapapa after a rather large meal.6. 45’s. 45rpm record. Please tell me this needs no further explanation. I recently stuck old vinyl records on my wall and said I really need a couple of 45’s.7. BOOBTUBE. A fabulous piece of stretchy material made into a tube, to wear over your boobs. I said that looks like an old boobtube I used to have, whilst shopping recently. The clue was in the name.8. SNECKLIFTER. Snecklifter (n): “a person who pokes his [or her] head into a pub to see if there’s anyone who might stand him [or her] a drink.”
Example: Snecklifters never pay for their own whiskey – or offer to buy one for you.I had to look this one up, as I used the saying short arms, deep pockets, to describe this9. KAPOK. A silky floss like texture, used for stuffing stuff. It provides the same type of soft cushion that some synthetic fillings provide, but in an all natural and environmentally friendly manner. To be fair, the shop assistant at Spotlight did not know what I was saying and asked if I needed a translator.10. BOILIE. Your typical boilie bait is a solid ball made from a base of grains, milk or fish proteins and egg. They get their name because of the process used to make them. After a thick paste is made from the base ingredients, balls are formed and then boiled. From there, the bait is left to dry out or dehydrated. The boiling and drying process gives boilie baits their definitive texture and stability, differentiating them from other types of dough baits. If you are so excited you want to know more.As a keen fisherman, my brother knows all about them and by default so do I. I also know how they smell when being cooked and this was the context in which I used this word, thanks little brother.So there you go, one or two words you might not have known, better late than never, I just can’t help myself. Better sign off now as I have a fly in my eye which is better than a bun in the oven at my age.