I was walking past a fish and chip shop, and the conversation went like this:
‘That place’s supposed to be good, shall we try it?’
‘You want fish tonight?’
‘No, I’m not after it tonight. I just meant for again.’
‘What? I have no idea what you just said.’
It took me a moment to realise that he simply didn’t understand “after [something]”, or “for again”, terms which are as familiar to me as “getting up” or “making do”.
When I speak there are times when I hear my mother’s voice, or my grandmother’s. Don’t throw it away, it’ll do for again. What are you after? These were staples of our language, along with, “mithering” (fussing), “pathering” (lightly padding about), “dithering” (hesitating indecisively), “get away?” (really?), “get cracking” (hurry up), “having me on” (teasing me / telling me tall tales), “tall tales” (unlikely stories), “telling tales” (grassing on someone), “telling stories” (lying), “storytelling” (telling stories)… and, and, and… can I remember them all? Do I still use them? If not, where did they go?
I’m now trying to capture these snippets of my childhood — colloquialism, idiom, dialect and accent — for my fiction, to offer near-forgotten times and places to the reader (and to keep them for myself).
Any road. (Anyway.)
As we used to say.