Happy Birthday to Michael!
In this blogposting…

*Local Words
*And Finally…
Get to it…

The AGM took place, as planned, at Oliver’s Cafe on Wednesday 23 February. The company assembled in good order and feasted on meringues, tea-cakes and coffee. It was all very sedate.

Proceedings were enlivened by the presence right next to us of three owls (barn owl, little eagle owl and Asian spotted owl, to be precise) and a kestrel, courtesy of the Ridgeway Wildlife Centre. It was half-term and they were there to raise awareness and funds, as well as to amuse the throngs of kids who gathered round.

It was lovely to see the kids’ faces as the birds swooped across and landed on the special gloves provided for the purpose. I suppose, like the rest of us, they’re townie kids who don’t really get many chances to be up close and personal with eagle owls and kestrels.

A very, very big thankyou to the four truckshunters who went to the trouble of turning up; Hildie, Nev, Linda - and Vivienne, the birthday girl herself.

Hildie suggested that we each bring with us a favourite local dialect word to contribute to Newcastle Library’s list. This was the only item on our AGM agenda and - what with meringues and Asian spotted owls and such - we completely forgot about it. Which is the way of things at AGMs.

So, in the spirit of continuity and good sense…

...here is the shortlist of my favourite local words.
There is some disagreement about the precise meaning of fettle. A dialect dictionary I’ve seen says it means ‘good condition’ but, in my opinion (which has no authority at all), it means simply ‘condition’, good or bad.
I’m not sure how common this is now, but my Nana and Mam used it all the time. It means ‘insipid, bland, ineffectual’. It rhymes with harsh, by the way.
I really love this word. It means ‘screen’ or ‘baffle’ (as in ‘baffle board’, not ‘puzzle’). If anyone can help with its derivation, I’d be very grateful to hear from you.
Again, one of my Nana’s words. It means ‘empty’. Miners (like my Granda) were paid fortnightly; the Friday without pay was ‘baff Friday’.
A pigeon. Not only does it sound so idiomatic - its derivation puzzles me, too.
‘Bothered, irritated, angry’. This is one of my all-time favourites. Last week, my brother discovered its derivation; it is descended from Old French, although I can't imagine how it was imported into the dialect of north-east England. As I’ve found out, the selfsame word is still used in ‘street French’ - facher, ‘to be angry, fed up or irritated’.
'Weak, fragile'.

I'm not sure how many of our traditional local dialect words are falling by the wayside, or how quickly. It's true that Gregg's still bake and sell stotties, but are there any bakers offering fadges?

And, of the words in my list, I've only heard fettle, warsh and femmer used recently.

I’d be seriously interested in your suggestions for words we can add to the list. Get them to me in the any of the usual ways.

Upcoming AGM venues include Birkheads Nursery, the Lit and Phil and the Bowes and Tanfield Railways.

If there are any other venues you’d like us to scandalise, drop me a line.

The mention of meringues earlier has reminded me of a joke we heard from a listener…

A Geordie is attending a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.
The Queen approaches with a plate of goodies and says ‘Would you like a piece of cake or a meringue?’
Geordie replies ‘No, Your Majesty, you’re quite right - I’d love a piece of cake’.

Post comments on this blog or email me: truckshunters@googlemail.com


Ryan in Hampshire said...

I love regional accents, we're so lucky to have so many in such a small island hanging of the edge of Europe. Being a Cockney born Scouser living in Hampshire, I'm exposed to lots of regional variations.... what is curious is that in England, country accents sound very similar to each other. The local Hampshire accent would be at home in Bristol or Norfolk... I wonder why??

Glad you had a good time at the AGM. I will try to co-ordinate a visit to Newcastle with one of your AGM's, I'll buy the cakes!!

Michael said...

Are those my birthday cakes or a meringue?!? Ha ha!

Cheers Ian!

Sid said...

Thought I should let you all know that Hildie is having problems with her Laptop due to a virus that evaded her security. I'm sure she'll be back online soon......as long as I can persuade her not to take an axe to it.

Hildie said...

Evening all, back again, after my battle with adversity!
Michael, that joke's getting better
or a meringue?!!
Hello to Ryan, it's great to hear from you ... you keep promising, don't you?! It'd really be good to see you!
And, a big hello to Martin Hatter,
Robert Forsythe and Nick Ross who have recently joined our ranks. Are you not tempted to have a scribble here on the blog?

Travelling home , on the bus, after last week's AGM I was in absolute awe. I wish Ian had been there, too, because he could have written, about what I saw, in terms much more elequent than I am able to. There was a young boy on the bus with , I presume, his parents. The boy was maybe around 11 or 12 years of age and profoundly deaf. He was speaking , in sign language, to his parents and they were signing back to him. It was a very animated and intense conversation. I obviously have no idea what they were talking about. I was, half of the time, thinking things like "He can't hear the noise this bus engine is making, he can't hear this baby behind us crying, he can't hear the bell when it dings, and everything in his world is silent."
He was , nevertheless, having a brilliant time .... he was smiling , grinning, getting more and more animated in his conversation with his parents who were sitting opposite to him on the bus. He was laughing and joking with them and they , too, were signing excitedly back to him. I do not know if all three were deaf or not, but the young boy definitely was. It was extremely humbling .... I admired them greatly ..... oh, it looked such hard work, it must be exhausting to have to comunicate in this way, all day, every waking moment of your life. You have to be eye-to-eye with the people you are speaking to so that they can watch intently and sign back to you. I'll not forget the boy, I was in wonder at him and at all who have to live their lives this way.
What stays with me is that I don't think Ive ever seen anyone look as happy as that young man. I wish him happiness always.

Hildie said...

Ummm, local words ....
Ian, I'd honestly only heard of two of the words you listed - fettle and femmer. these were everyday words when I was a kid in Dipton --- bairn, bonny, canny, hinny, claggy, cracket, dunsh, kidda, sackless, bleeze, bleezer & spelk.

Remember when they used to put up the bleezer, to bleeze the fire, and then they put newspaper around the bleezer
.... and it always but always caught fire, and flames licked the mantlepiece as a matter of course
..... no wonder I was of a nervous disposition as a child!

Sid said...

And the toast always tasted better after it had fallen off the fork and was rescued from the fire, after the ash was blown from the bread....

Sid said...

Mind spreading the Echo margarine was still a challenge, even if the toast was still smouldering....

Ian Robinson said...

Thanks for your local words Hildie; I speciallyu like 'sackless'! Is it still used?...And the story of the deaf lad on the bus was lovely - and beautifully told. A friend of mine learned sign language just for the sake of it - because it's so graphic and elegant. What a skill to have!