Sunday, 26 October 2014

Gey swappy

This blogpost so very nearly turned into the third instalment of 'The Perils of Listening in English'.

Yesterday, a lady turned up at work, looking for a second-hand racing bike. Fortunately, this week, the Yard had a couple of them 'in stock', and my cycling customer opted for the rustier of the two, as she intended to break it down for spares.

Bearing in mind the time of year and the likelihood of inclement weather, I asked the lady if she cycled much during the Winter, to which she replied that she did. This was the reason for the purchase of the racing bike, as it would provide the rider with the opportunity to huddle down over the handlebars and reduce wind resistance.

"But it can still be gey swappy," she added as she swung the bike onto a carrying frame at the rear of her car.

Several of my brain cells triggered a system-wide warning that this wasn't the time to open my stupid gob and make a guess at what that meant. Instead, I rewound the conversation in my head, played it through again and politely asked the lady to repeat what she'd just said.

As I later found out, 'swap' has five different meanings in Orcadian dialect*, but in this case it referred to a gust of wind. So, I would conclude that 'gey swappy' is 'very gusty'. Yep, I imagine that cycling in Orkney through the Winter months (actually, any time, really) is prone to this effect.

Incidentally, 'gey' meaning 'very' does indeed derive from gay. It is used in much the same way that it is in English, in phrases such as 'the experience was pretty bad'.

This morning, following a leisurely start to the day courtesy of the clock change from BST to GMT, Our Lass cajoled me into going for a walk, despite the overcast conditions, blustery winds and the omnipresent threat of rain. OK, yeah, I'm just a wuss, but as we parked the car nearby to the Covenanters' Memorial in Deerness, Our Lass's phone beeped to inform her of an incoming text. The message was from one of the most outdoorsy folk we know, who was happily sharing the news that she was cosily tucked up indoors, with a wood-burning stove and her hi-fi giving it max therms and volume respectively. My response was not repeatable.

Still, we had an entertaining three mile amble, out through farmland, across a moor and back along a cliff top. We saw our first Barnacle Geese of the Autumn, a big flock of Golden Plover and Turnstone, a female Sparrowhawk and the occasional Rock Pipit. We returned to the car, rewardingly tired and rather windswept.

Aye, hid wis gey swappy, beuy.

* As defined by Gregor Lamb's 'The Orkney Wordbook'.


Ruth Walker said...

Hahaha, why are we outside?! :P

To be fair, for some folk you two are the most outdoorsy people they know!


Imperfect and Tense said...

LOL!That may be so, but I had me fleecy trousers on!

Martin said...

....and probably need a second larger pair to go over the top if the temperature was a problem in (only) October. Alternatively a pair of wind and waterproof troosers might make a better second layer.
(The Peak District was nippy this weekend with the wind and I was glad of layers and gloves too).

Imperfect and Tense said...

Aye, the wind/waterproof trousers are on standby as an extra layer. Air temperature is not really a problem here, Winters are comparatively mild, but an additional layer can be necessary to combat wind chill.

Sian said...

Crash....there goes another illusion shattering! As Ruth said - you and the missus are two of the most outdoorsy folk I know...well apart from my neighbours who appear to walk their poor dug (dog) in gale force winds and lashing rain.....

Imperfect and Tense said...

Sian, this from the lady who gave me a lecture about sunshine and vitamin D? :o)

Rest assured that I've just returned from a walk around the kirk loop, below home.

The tide was in, loads of seaweed thrown up onto the verge and a breeze whipping up all the flies into a blizzard. The starlings and pipits were having a great time. Me, less so!