Hands up if you remember the exact moment you learnt a new word as a wee kid…
Most new words seem to just get absorbed unceromoniously, but there’s one word I vividly remember hearing for the first time, and subsequently practising at every opportunity…
I was probably somewhere around the age of five… or six… or seven… I dunno! Anyway, each summer we’d go and stay at our grandparents’ caravan in Anderby Creek, a tiny seaside hamlet in Lincolnshire.
One day we were walking from the caravan site to the beach, along the narrow pavement – the sort of pavement that’s crumbling away on the inside, so you had to watch where you were walking in case you slipped down a crumbly bit. There was a family walking in front of us, and a wee lad (older than I was) put a foot wrong and it slipped off the pavement into the crumbly depths of a nettle-filled hole. He rapidly retreived his foot, and hopped after his family yelling “Ahyuh!”
I’d never heard that particular turn of phrase before, and was mightily impressed.
For the rest of that holiday I tried to use it as much as possible, by pretending to stub my be-flip-flopped toes (“Ahyuh!”), falling over gently on soft sand (“Ahyuh!”), or getting a minor poke or slap from my sister (“AHYUUUUUH!”).
Of course, in later life the word morphed into that popular phrase “Ahyuh b***ard!”…
So there you go, a wee rambling memory for you. I must mention this ramble was prompted by seeing a tweet from illustrator and author James Davies – ta for the memory-jog James!