Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Red Kite, Swiss style

Talking of Red Kites, one evening I was watching one close to where we lived in Switzerland when an old boy on a bike came by and asked me what I was looking at. I said "Ein roter Milan", using the official High German (HG) name. He looked across and said, in the local Swiss German dialect (my transliteration is necessarily approximate): "Nei, das isch kei' roter Milan, das isch 'n Gobelimosveh!"
I didn't argue, and did my best to hide my bafflement.
"That is no roter Milan, it is a Gobelimosveh
Later, I deconstructed the word: Gobel was clearly HG Gabel, meaning a fork. Mos was HG Moos meaning a marsh, and the last part Veh turned out to be HG Weihe meaning a harrier. So: a harrier of the marshes with a forked tail. Not bad, eh?
And that is what I want on my next troll round the Fens: mega-views of a Gobelimosveh, dear Lord, if it's not too much trouble.

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