Saturday, May 28, 2011

Corncrakes and mosscheepers

I am just re-reading a schooldays' favourite, Prester John, set in South Africa in the late nineteenth century. The hero, a young Scot called David Crawfurd, has been sent there to work. At one point in the narrative, a valley reminds him of home:
"It was like a water-meadow at home, such a place as I had often in boyhood searched for mosscheepers' and corncrakes' eggs."
What's a mosscheeper? And when did you last have corncrakes' eggs for breakfast?
PS If you enjoy reading books that are gloriously politically incorrect, I reckon John Buchan's Prester John is outrageous enough to cause a bishop to kick a hole in a stained-glass window.


Mike and Ann said...

Just checked Camber's Dictionary. mosscheeper- the titlark. Titlark - the meadow pipit.
Regards, Mike.

Old Scrote said...

Thanks, Mike. Meadow Pipit it is, then.

Anonymous said...

Not a lot of breakfast in a titlark egg, is there? Though the name must be good for a neologial?, and perhaps sexist, collective noun - or three.

Old Scrote said...

"A ....... of titlarks." Hm, I see what you mean.
A "frolic of titlarks" perhaps? Anyone else got a suggestion?

Old Scrote said...

OK, "a fondle of titlarks". Further than that, I am not prepared to go.

Anonymous said...

In the interests of political completeness, and as it was I who proposed three CNs and you who supplied two, I'll be the one to go further. - sticking with your choice of initial letter 'f' for the CN, at that.

A "frottage of titlarks" was really what you were aiming for when you stopped neologising - admit it.