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
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:
Doors 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.
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.