I’ve been thinking about the specific words that families use that are their own frame of reference. These are those words that have their own meaning within the family and are often quite exclusive. They arise from incidents, from fun moments, or are just passed down from generation to generation.
(Picture from http://www.wamister.ch/ferien/bodensee/ )
For instance, my wife and I have an expression…” a Meersburger”. A “Meersburger” to us is a fast walk, almost at panic pace, but not quite running. We were camping by the Bodensee in Germany some years ago and had gone for a walk to Meersburg when as the afternoon wore on we realised that we had walked further than planned. We were about 4 miles from the campsite and the light was failing fast. We realised that if we didn’t get back soon we would be walking/getting lost in darkness, we wouldn’t find our tent, be able to cook our meal, etc. So, spurred on by a measure of panic and helpless laughter we speed walked back from Meersburg to the campsite just in time before nightfall. Walking instead of running because the road was still full of tourists who were clearly better organised. It must have looked to everyone around us that we had had a blazing row as we walk-chased each other along the road and through packed streets. Hence, a Meersburger. This has since developed into “half-Meersburger” – fast but not panic, “quarter Meersburger” – pick it up a bit.
We also have an expression – “Painting a trellis” – used when you start to do something and clearly there is not enough time to finish it. This arose when my wife decided to “just paint this trellis, it won’t take long” at dusk. Two hours later……………………
Another….”Just like going to Liskeard.”…..a journey thought to be about 15 minutes which turns into several hours. Again, arises from incorrectly reading a map in France.
Such expressions are our own in-jokes. They bring a smile to our faces if no-one elses but they are not meant to keep people out. We might not be contributing to the English language in the manner of Shakespeare or Dickens but they are as specific as you can get in Single Malt Monkey land…..and I’m sure you have your own.