Friday, 30 January 2009

Translating the translation page

Evenin' all,

I've been asked to explain a few things to people who aren't English (we forgive most of you) - specifically the following:

1) A Septic = An American

Derived from the cockney rhyming slang 'Septic Tank', meaning 'Yank'.

2) Bubble & Squeak

Bubble & Squeak is (as far as I'm concerned) a Boxing Day meal. It's simply all the leftover cooked vegetables from Christmas Day finely chopped, mixed together and then fried in butter until browned on both sides. It's yum.

According to
this it can be had after any roast, but I've only had it on Boxing Day with cold turkey and HP Sauce. I made it for Mrs Red Squirrel when she was over - to my own recipe as I try to avoid eating anything green (so therefore Roast Potatoes, Roast Parsnips, Carrots and Cauliflower). It was well received.

3) HP Sauce

You can stick your 'A1 Steak Sauce' up your arse, because there's a new sauce Daddy in town:


I think that covers everything :)

I'll leave you with the advert/placard for yesterday's edition of the Bristol Evening Post. I don't know about you, but it made me want to find out what the hell it meant too!

Thursday, 29 January 2009

How to speak Bristolian

As most of you will be aware, I live in the lovely provincial city of Bristol. It's far enough away from London that most of the unpleasant idiots there don't come and visit for a day, and just close enough to Wales that the unpleasant London idiots don't resettle here when they discover that their shoe-box apartment in Bermondsey would buy an entire house outside of the capital.

It's a win-win situation.

(The irony here of course being that I'm not from Bristol itself, I just settled here after studying at the University. But I'm not from London, so that's considered acceptable.)

The biggest downside to living here as a non-native is the local accent. When fate was handing out cute, sexy accents it chose to give the world the scotch burr, the gentle irish lilt, the french purr - it most certainly didn't include the Bristolian/West Country accent.

For it has one flaw - you can't help sounding a bit thick.

If Einstein had been from Brizzle (as the locals pronounce it. Seriously) his theory of relativity would have been explained something along the lines of:

"Soooes, like, yer on a train, roight - like to Swindon or somat - wiv yer can ov zider course like an' the fahster the train goes roight, yer get 'eavier and 'eavier. An' the closer yer get to, like, the speed of loight, roight, the more infinoite yer maahs will be. Meanin' that yer'd be going really fahst an' av a ton ov zider t'drink, which would be gert lush innit me babber......."

Or something.

(If you're never heard a Bristolian accent then Sam the hobbit in Lord of the Rings is doing a passable imitation. Just to give you some idea.)

Anyway, within Bristol there are many dialects. I only know a bit about one - which is what this post was supposed to be about before I starting rambling. When I started my first job here I became good friends with one of my colleagues who was a proper local, and through him I joined his circle of friends. They'd all gone to school together and often spoke what seemed to a different language. It took me a while to work it out, but here is a guide to speaking the Montpelier dialect of Bristolian.

The part of Bristol known as Montpelier shares many things in common with the city on the French Mediterranean coast. The sun, sand, beautiful women, flash cars, pristine beaches, jobs, fantastic restaurants, men roaming the streets with clubs with nails in them, casual street violence, bikini-clad hotties, money, derelict buildings, spelling - all are things that the two do not have in common.

In fact, let's ignore the proper Montpellier for now. Though it says a lot about the local area and inhabitants that it's named after it, but they just spelt it wrong.

The Montpelier dialect centres around three central themes - money, women and football. I shall ignore football from this post (first time ever) mainly because I insisted they spoke English to me whenever we talked about it.

So, here we go:

1) The most important qualifier in the Montpelier dialect (or MD as we shall now refer to it as) is 'busters'. It can be added to almost any word or sentence, thusly;

Person A: "I'm skint*"
Person B: "You're skint? I'm skint busters."

'Busters' is a magnifier, but exclusively a negative one. So something that is good, if 'busters' is appended, becomes very bad. In this case the original word is commonly omitted, e.g.;

Person A: "I'm hungry, Maccy Dees?"
Person B: "Busters."

2) A similar term to 'busters' is 'laysions'. It's derived from 'laysions and abrasions', or the less-common 'lesions and abresions'. Both have been shortened over time to 'laysions' or 'abresions' though 'laysions' is more widely used.

If one is making a point then 'laysions and abrasions' can be used as a whole phrase, though this is no longer considered fashionable.

On related phrases, a messy night is normally 'incidents and accidents' and someone who has a problem is regarded as having 'more issues than Mogadishu.'

3) The term for an attractive specimen of the female species is 'skins'. For example;

Person A: "Skins?"
Person B: "Yeah, she's skins alright."

This is a perfect example of where 'busters' can be used as a negative magnifier;

Person A: "Skins?"
Person B: "Skins busters more like."

4) The only term worse (in terms of attractiveness) than 'skins busters' is the frankly magnificent 'tugboat'.

So, pulling those all together, a normal conversation in a pub would be:

Person A: "Skins?"
Person B: "Busters!"
Person C: "Yeah, totally laysions mate."
Person A: "She's not *that* bad"
Person D: "Bad? She's a tugboat."
Person C: "Tugboat busters"
*everyone laughs*
Person A: "From behind she's skins."
Person B: "Well, she's got nice hair."
Person C: "Your round, tugboat lover."

It's a laugh a minute around here.....

*Broke, for those septics out there.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

*cough* *cough* *cough*

I've been laid low for the last week by some horrible flu-type virus that's sweeping around these here parts.

I say a week - but I had a day off ill, then struggled through the funeral on Friday, then spent two and a half days immobile apart from bouts of coughing, then spent two days at work when really I should've stayed at home and now today I'm 'working from home' with the sort of cough that can be heard halfway down the street.

*cough* *cough*

That's the downside to me not drinking and trying to be healthy - I suddenly start getting ill.

*cough* *cough*

Anyway, this made me laugh:

It's just coming to the end of playtime at a nursery school and the teacher is finishing cleaning the classroom as the first of her charges comes into the room.

"Hi Jenny!," says the teacher, "and what have you been up to at playtime?"

"I was playing in the sandbox with Mike," replies Jenny.

"That's lovely! Tell you what, if you can spell 'sand' for me you can help your self to a sweetie from my desk."

Jenny dutifully spells sand and then gets herself a sweet. The next child entering the room is Mike.

"Hello Mike," says the teacher, "did you do anything fun at playtime?"

"I was playing in the sandbox with Jenny," says Mike.

"Sounds like you two had fun! Say, if you can spell 'box' for me you can help yourself to a sweetie from my desk."

Mike easily spells box and while the teacher isn't looking takes two sweets from the jar. The third child in after playtime is a sad looking Ahmed.

"Hi Ahmed, what did you do at playtime?" asks the teacher.

"I wanted to play in the sandbox, but Jenny and Mike wouldn't let me," replies Ahmed.

"They wouldn't let you! Why, that's racially biased discrimination!" exclaims the teacher, glaring at Jenny and Mike.

She leans in closer to Ahmed and says, "Tell you what, if you can spell 'racially biased discrimination' you can help yourself to a sweetie from my desk."

Thursday, 22 January 2009


Which is more scary:

a) that my girlfriend was pistol-whipped in a robbery at her workplace by three guys who thought a bakery had a safe (and therefore escaped with less than $20 for ooooooh ten minutes before the cops at the precinct half a block away arrested them) - and has seven stitches in a head wound to show for it.


b) that this is considered so common in New York that the incident wasn't even considered worthy of reporting as local news in her borough?

Wednesday, 14 January 2009


Here's my translation guide to letting Americans know what people are saying when English is spoken in their presence (courtesy of two weeks with Mrs. Red Squirrel).

What is said:
"We need to stop at the petrol station."

What is meant:
"We need to stop for gas, and no you can't smoke on the forecourt without being told off."

What is said:

What is meant:


What is said:
"Ha ha, how many biscuits did you just inhale?"

What is heard:

"You're fat."

What is said:
"So this bridge was designed by the great Isambard Kingdom Brunel who was one of the greatest engineers whom ever lived. In fact he also built the SS Great Western - one of a series of the biggest ships ever made at the time."

What is understood:

"Blah blah blah blah blah biscuits blah blah blah blah."

What is said:
"So this is the oldest pub in Bristol - as you can see it's existed since about the time your continent was discovered."

What is meant:
"No offence like, but your country is the Haley Joel Osment of the world.*"

What is said:
"It's freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezing."

What is meant:

"We like to moan about the weather here, it gives some meaning to our otherwise empty lives."

What is said:
"Do you want HP sauce with your bubble & squeak?"

What is meant:

"Unbeknownest to you, our relationship is on the line if you say no.**"

What is said:
"No really, it's not embarrassing to take a photo of you on the zebra crossing in Abbey Road while you hold up traffic and wave at the camera."

What is meant:
"At some unspecified point in the future, I shall be cashing this chip in."

*Spectacular success at a young age but really the rest of the world is sitting back and waiting for the hooker-fuelled coke overdose in your teens....
**She said yes, then ate all of mine.

Monday, 12 January 2009


Seriously like, could you all stop blogging for a week so I can catch up? Every day you're posting almost as many as I can read!

Seems like everyone had a nice Christmas - I'm just about to start the New Year's posts. There'd better be some good stories :-P

I'm struggling to catch up because blog sites are verboten at work. Well, not exactly forbidden but opening one prompts you that 'The site you are trying to open violates company web policy. Are you sure you wish to continue? Yes/No'*

So I'm stuck with catching up at nights and they're busy. Busy, busy, busy.

But as a special treat for my dear internet friends (and my girlfriend who's abandoned blogging just when I wanted to read her thoughts on where I live and her experiences over here *shakes fist* ) here's a frankly excellent picture I took on my phone when we visited Stonehenge at sunset.

* aka 'The Lemming Question'

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Good lord..

(Although not in a religious sense - one is a firmly committed agnostic atheist)'ve all been a busy bunch these last few weeks. 85 posts to catch up on (my blog readership is somewhat limited due to time so I only subscribe to a 'lucky' few)!

Maybe tomorrow :)

Hope you all had a good time for xmas and New Year! I look forward to reading and commenting on your stories in about two weeks probably. Personally, I (we) had a great time.

I say 'great time'. Watching my last grandparent thrash, moan and plead her way through the last three days of her life in a care home wasn't exactly pleasant, but on a positive note at least Mrs. Red Squirrel got to meet all the family. Swings and roundabouts and all that....

Suffice to say my flat is feeling rather empty today and I have to go back to work tomorrow :(

I did however complete my entire year of sobriety and then promptly experienced my first hangover on the 3rd (in my defence that was after hearing that my gran had finally died). I've settled down since then though and even sat and watched my team in a Cup semi-final last night without once even considering opening the beers in the flat. Scary stuff.

Proper post soon. I've just got so much reading to catch up on.... ;-P