Sunday, June 04, 2006

East Anglian Liffery G-I

So many lovely words would be wasted if it were not for Liff.

gateley, adj
Descriptive of people who enjoy going through gates. “He has his gately Spring, when fancy clear Takes in all beauty with an easy span” (Shelley) emphasises the importance of moving smartly through a gate and also making sure first that it’s wide enough for your backside.

gayton thorpe
In the good old days, Sir Reginald Gayton Thorpe was the byword for le vice anglais in his part of Norfolk. The epitaph on his gravestone records his dying wish to be buried face down under the honest Norfolk sod.

gedney dyke (male jargon)
An aphetic form of the question frequently asked by one male of another: “Did you get any?” together with the improbable explanation of why he didn’t.

Every man has a drawer or a box or a large tin stuffed with "girton". Even modern males who vowed never to be like their fathers usually end up with a girton. Like the coton (qv), a girton is full of very usable bits and pieces, which you only need the day after you throw them away.

New Zealand slang for “Not sure.”

Reputed to be the despairing cry of a Cambridgeshire sales rep on arriving in the northwest. Now refers to anyone who forgets to carry a raincoat in August.

graveley, adj
Descriptive of the mood of a slimmer who feels obliged to order"a dray whate wane", but hates it.

great raveley
A wonderful party which you wouldn't have missed for the world, if only you had been invited.

great snoring
The noises people make when trying to endear themselves to polar bears in a zoo.

grunty fen
One burp too many after a serious vindaloo.

Gordon Brown’s attempt at a smile. Scary.

An ambiguous postman, the kind who leers while making you sign for junk mail.

An involuntary tightening of the sphincter when forced to be polite to one's social inferiors.

Medieval manors had a mound of earth on which virgins had the right to "haver", ie think about it before saying yes. Such mounds were often places for target practice or for getting a good view of what was about.

hemingford grey
Popularised by Rossano Brazzi, this refers to the touching-in of the temples of an otherwise black barnet. In Italian, cappelli brizzolati . The Grecians also had a word for it.

hickling broad (WWII US servicemen’s slang)
The hickling broad was an infamous East Anglian fille de joie who used to enjoy sneaking up on GIs and sinking her teeth into their necks. The tracks of the Sherman tank were reputed to be based on a cast of her dentures.

A sudden quickening of pace, a curious hopping gait, accompanied by a bright grin, adopted by people who arrive late to take their seat at a function in the belief that it makes them both lovable and invisible. Hitler performed a hilgay at Compiegne, but for different reasons.

hitchin (obs)
A device made from beech brashings and used to relieve itching between the shoulderblades. "Wieldin' the ‘itchin’" for this purpose was indistinguishable from self-flagellation, and nearly as much fun.

Wondering whether to give it one more try at the disco, or just go home for a barclays and a mug of horlicks..

The lost art of darning socks.

humby, adj
Descriptive of socks that are on the cusp.

ingoldisthorpe (pron nuguluduzuthup)
A name of Viking origin which makes you glad you are not Norwegian.

isleham (pron 'eye-zlum)
An unscrupulous birder’s gambit, you “play an isleham” by saying that, for instance, the warbler that just flitted through the scrub, and which ONLY YOU SAW, had a yellow supercilium, a crown stripe and a double white wingbar. You then wait for someone else to call “Pallas’s!” and shrug modestly. It never fails, but thereafter leave as soon as it is decent to do so.

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