Friday, 8 October 2010

Little blokes won

Before we met, my friend Dave said he imagined me as a 6' Highlander. He is too polite to have expressed relief, delight, disappointment, consternation etc. when we actually met. If, rubbing his eyes in disbelief, he had insisted on measuring my height before kindly inviting me into his house, he would have found I measured a respectable 5' 5½". Not the tallest man he'd ever met, by any means, but probably not the titchiest either.

As for the Highlander bit, I couldn't do much about that. Although I worked for 27 years in the north of Scotland, no drop of tartan blood courses through my veins. No trace of Scots accent spices my speech. Occasionally I betray a quarter of a century in Scotland by using 'shall' where other English might use 'will', by saying 'garridge' instead of 'gararge', ' and 'Aberdeen-shyer' instead of 'Aberdeen-sher'. Sometimes 'ettle' comes out instead of fidget, be impatient to do something, 'jalouse' for suspect or infer, and 'stushie' for row or uproar.

But never have I been known to say 'wee mannie' instead of little bloke. (Well, I did once: at the Aviemore or Coylumbridge ice-rinks the kids used to enjoy taking a dozen running-start steps on ice skates, then crouching down on their haunches and seeing if they could slide to the other end of the rink without stopping. This was called 'doing wee mannies'.)

Actually when I started writing this my theme was going to be lack of height as a psychological drive to exercise of power, as evidenced by wee mannies little blokes as different as that well-known East Anglian Horatio Nelson and President Sarkozy. But that's enough for today: my back's playing up sitting too long at the computer. You've got the general idea. I'll develop it more next time. To be continued...

Addendum: Nothing to do with the above, but in regard to the post below, Round The Block, some have asked for photos. To supply this need was with us the work of a moment: here are firstly Wobbly, the dog up the lane (with his friend, don't know its name) who barks at passers-by, and secondly Lady (pron. 'laddy') the donkey with her two friends (don't know their names either). Photo 2, with two artistic repoussoir trees, by J.


Charlene said...

I grew up in southern Indiana US. At 18 I moved 39 miles south to Louisville. Immediately people would say upon my speakin, "you're not from around here."

Accents are so regional.

Hope your back gets better. It's so annoying to want to do something your body objects to.

Vicus Scurra said...

You don't have a Scots accent when you write, either.

Dave said...

Napoleon was quite short, I believe.

Everey general and bishop I have met (and I've met a few over the years) has been in excess of 6' in height.

I put that down to:

a. Being noticed.
b. An air of authority arising from looking down on people.
c. The upper classes having better diets.

Dave. 5'8". Working-class ancestors.

Rog said...

I think I got into trouble for playing WITH the wee manny when I was little.

Wobbly looks a bit scary...I hope those gates are securely fastened.

Z said...

My friend Bette, from telephone conversations before we met, said she thought I'd be tall and blonde. Although if my hair grew long enough it would be blonde, you're several inches taller than I am. I like to think of us as compact and not a waste of space.

mig said...

Doing wee mannies sounds a bit like a euphemism to me. Blame my recent change in status for the infantile reference.
Wobbly looks quite stable really, even standing up to his full height.

Christopher said...

Charlene: Hi. Have you now absorbed the Kentucky speech? I hope your nearest and dearest don't mimic your native Indiana accent, or, if they dare to do so, they get justifiably swatted about their persons with a rolled-up newspaper.

Vicus: Aye, it's guid o' ye tae say so, ken.

Dave: Yes, exactly. You've taken the very words out of my next post.

Rog: I'm sorry. I didn't know you were blind.

Z: Definitely not a waste of space. A quality fit, if you ask me.

Mig: I can't say I've ever seen 'Wobbly' written down, just heard 'Weu-blee! shouted from an upstairs window of the house behind when he threatened to do himself and the gate an injury with excessive barking. Actually - and perhaps someone would be kind enough to read this to Rog - if the gate is ever open, Wobbly doesn't come rushing out, he just stands in silence looking puzzled and nonplussed.

Wee mannies, indeed.

Spadoman said...

Vertically challenged or not, you're "Okay" in my book. I'm 17 hands and slightly beneath 16.5 stone.
I found a calculator to help me with the hands and stones, as those words for my purposes are as foreign to me as yours are. As we say here in Merica, "It's all Greek to me". I guess that's true for most folks because no one I know speaks Greek! (You probably do)
Anyway, I enjoyed the walk around the block too.
You must have noticed you made mention on my blog, complete with highlighted and referenced name recognition. Tbere is nothing small about that now, is there?

Peace my friend.

Christopher said...

Spadoman: Thanks for your kind remarks. Quite undeserved. No, I don't speak Greek. I did a little Classical Greek at school, but that's a long time ago now. As for your vital statistics, I understand 16 stone 5 pounds (I register 10.2 on our bathroom scales) but 17 hands? This must be a relic from your days of horsing around?

Yes, I noticed my name in lights on the Round Circle. I could always comment under the pseudonym 'Christophera', I suppose.