More Cliches

WordPress stats tells me that it’s eleven days since my last confession… er… my last post.  Oh dear, oh dear.  Bad Blogger, me.  Two nights ago, I started writing a follow up to my post of 2 May, about cliches, but, being very tired, I rambled.

First, the additional character cliche:

Down to Earth Yorkshiremen yorkshire-rose-cropped

He calls a spade a spade, speaks as he finds and treats you as fam’le’.  He says things like happen and by gum and regards all bloody southerners as unfriendly.   The Brontes, living in Haworth most of their lives, never felt the need to mention this stereotype – funny, that.  Interestingly, WordPress’s spellcheck recognises Yorkshireman but not Yorkshirewoman.

Me, I was born level with the Wash, in Leicester, where we address each other as me duck and have our own special word – mardy – for sulky and uncooperative.  Children in my primary school were forever going mardy.  The people of the East Midlands, who have no delusions of grandeur yet still a strong sense of identity, tend to be devastatingly and unsentimentally realistic, imo.  Btw, the former Roman city of Ratae (how’s that for awarding reps?) has produced just a few writers:  C P Snow, Su Townsend, Joe Orton (playwrite, one of the ‘Angry Movement’) and – a treasure I have just come across in the last few days – Susannah Watts, an Anti-Slavery Poet of the early nineteenth century, who wrote The Slaves’ Address to British Ladies

Think, how naught but death can sever
Your lov’d children from your hold;
Still alive- but lost forever
Ours are parted, bought and sold!

(You see how I rambled?)

The other cliches (below) are standard word/phrase cliches:

Aircraft DoorsDoors to Manual

This is supposed to be a snobbish reference to Carole Middleton, mother of the Duchess of Cambridge (Kate), having once been an air stewardess.   Whoopety-doo-dah!  Is there anything wrong with being an air stewardess?  My sister-in-law has worked for Virgin Atlantic for twenty years and – do you know? – we still speak.


Whenever I hear this, I think of added salt and sugar.  It has a good flavour does very well.  Better still, try and describe the taste.  If you’re trying to include all senses in a piece of writing, flavoursome does not cut it.

Health Issues

If someone has health issues, he/she is not feeling very well.  Say so.   Essex students sum this up very well.  Tutor: “Where’s Dylan today?  He’s not in class.”  Other student’s answer:  “Nah.  He’s well ill.”

The Latest Thinking

Usually used at work.   It means This is what the bosses want us to think.  I’m going along with it, because I want to stay in this job/I really don’t care.   I haven’t thought it through, though.  A few months down the line, the organisation will be in chaos because whatever it is doesn’t work – but, never fear, the next latest thinking will come along soon.

Finally, a word about the word for…


Apparently, we mustn’t say toilet because upper class people say lavatory, as in a Conservative sitting on top of a volcano.   It’s a very long time since we bothered about what posh people said and did.   Don’t the lavatory-sayers sneer at ‘the toffs’?  Such people must be so insecure that they don’t like to admit that they urinate and defecate.  Real old money has no such problems.   Should they need to avail themselves of the conveniences, they will normally say so at several decibels.  “Frightfully sorry.  One just simply must have a crap.”

Reading this through, I wonder if I’m just being old fashioned.  I hope not.  Anyone else have any cliches they would like to share with us?

The week after next, we’re off to Yorkshire (if they’ll still let me in after this post) where we hope to visit the Bronte Museum at Haworth, via Leicester, where I hope to visit Abbey Park, setting for my short story Burnt Down, which appeared on Sudbury Newstalk.  I’m on the ACW More thanWriters blog on Saturday 13 August, btw, writing about modern slavery.


7 thoughts on “More Cliches

  1. Are you being old-fashioned? Nah, just a grumpy old bird!
    I’d only quibble with one thing, your Leicestershire appropriation of mardy, because growing up in Lancashire I was rebuked (very rarely of course!) with being ‘a mardy baby’. Once I reached Yorkshire friends had no problems telling me if I was being ‘maunjy’ (I have no idea how it is spelt).
    My father always made us say ‘lavatory’ but later in life grudgingnly accepted ‘loo’ which replaced the rather less socially acceptable ‘bog’ in my then-Yorkshire world!
    And finally for the grumps, how about ‘No worries’. Or ‘nice one for that’?
    As you probably guessed I can’t recommend the Haworth Parsonage highly enough BUT I do recommend since you’re going at the height of the season, if you can, get there the minute it opens (1o am I think). Try and get to the room upstairs with Charlotte’s personal effects while it is possible to spend time without the press of crowds marvelling at her tiny hands and feet. And do enjoy it! I went to another Bronte-related spot a week or two ago – Wykoller – will be posting on that soon as I’ve finished off Rio! Have fun.

    1. I always believed ‘mardy’ to be a Leicester word. My parents also thought so, because, as such, I was forbidden to use it. You don’t disagree with the meaning, though? Interested in ‘maunjy’ word. See if I hear it whilst on holiday!

      Am really looking forward to Haworth.

      Btw, I’m sorry I haven’t read your last post. It’s on the list of things to do.

  2. Yep – sulky and uncooperative is a great definition of mardy! Don’t apologise for not reading my blog posts, it’s a joy when people do but I know there’s so much to busy-ness in our lives. I am settling into the luxury and also slight melancholy of 3 weeks alone as the archaeologist has departed for Africa. So much to catch up on and so much I’ve promised myself to do. Have a really lovely time. Envious …

  3. It was a little more brutal in Manchester, when we were growing up, and you were labelled a ‘mard a**e’ if you cried after falling over and scraping your knee. Enjoy the trip to Haworth. Have been to the Brontë museum many times and always enjoy it. The Black Bull pub on the main street is where Patrick Bramwell Brontë (the brother) spent much of his time until TB took him to an early grave — you probably already know all of this — and the parish church is small, but beautiful, with its own connections to this incredible family.

    1. Yes. Mardeh was the most common Leicester pronunciation. And then you cried for your Mummeh.

  4. Funny, I just wrote this after writing a post on Californian slang. I like how Americans have solved the toilet/lavatory conundrum by calling it restroom. Much more elegant (for once). Love me ducks – might have to start using it.

  5. It’s ‘me duck’ actually (singular). In London (Lunn’en) they call you ‘ducks’ (comes out more like ‘dacks’).

    There is a vast range of accents and dialects in the British Isles, each very different, a big a contrast between them as with an American accent. Even though my parents NEVER allowed me to use the local dialect (‘talk Leicester’), I now find accents fascinating. However, whenever I see an American film, all British characters speak either in old fashioned cut-glass accents (which you hardly ever hear nowadays) or don’t have a noticeable British accent at all.

    I would be very interested to read your post on Californian accent – isn’t it called ‘dude’? To my ear, there’s not such a great contrast in North America, although that just may be because I’m not American. I’m very much aware of our Houston friends soft Texan drawl and that other friends from New York seem to swallow every syllable.

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