Jimper’s Jottings

                   GREETINGS FROM THE AREAS

“All right young un?” That greeting to you, no matter how old you are, must surely mean one is in Rye Harbour or meeting someone from the village. Long have the welcoming phrases been local to different areas. Anyone greeted by “Watchya,” was a common sound on Romney Marsh between neighbours and strangers alike.

“Way up boy,” rang out on the beach among the local fishermen. All were ways of meeting. “All right boyo?” was another .” All right mate?” and “Watch yer cock,” For some traders, who also had their peculiar sayings, often the same meaning was used in the trade wherever you went. The fisherman of Hastings had a language of their own while launching and recovering their boats up the beach. Anyone from outside would have been lost to understand what they meant, yet all those involved knew precisely. ‘Knocking up prey’ in the building trade means mixing cement and is understood all over the county in the trade. It was the way people greeted each other that was unique to the outside world.

Sadly today an awful lot of the greeting banter has died out after centuries of use. No longer can you trace the origin of the person you meet by the greeting given.

                           Another Christmas

Here we are again December nearly  and what a year it’s been. Dry, if Rye was a public house you would hear the inhabitants shouting ‘I could spit feathers.’

Frosty nights arrived on the 13th. like in the old days then the nights were cold till spring. The experts are forecasting a hard winter, but don’t be lead astray a couple of weeks of frost could turn to warmer weather till Feb. then what little snow there is has been making a habit to show itself, last year we had a cold snap around now t he n look at the winter that followed . What little rain we have had has been swallowed by t he dry ground, its rain we need.

Colin has bee n busy around town for the last month installing the lovely little trees on shops and houses, he will be pleased with the frosty weather as it should temper the dirty pigeons from nesting in all the nice convenient nest sites, I know of two such nests already and one year my brother and I found a nest containing chicks in the tree we were taking down from the George one year.

The cold snap should check the primroses that are already poking their heads well out of the ground along with the Daffs. Last year my mother in law picked a nice nosegay of primroses from the garden on Christmas day.

                             Forty Years Ago…..

This cold spell we are having is nothing to the weather we older folk remember, the kids of today moan how cold it is. Forty years ago it was cold when you woke up in the morning and had to scratch the frost from the inside of your bedroom window, ‘that was cold.’ The frost lay on the ground when you went to school and was still evident when the bell rang and you knew it was going to freeze again tonight. Those nights it was a real treat to accompany an old brick to bed, warmed in front of the open fire, then wrapped in an old piece of flannel, it at least took the chill of the sheets for a while, then when cold you could jettison it out the bottom on to the floor with a thump, that was cold.

With that thought provoking memory I wish all the readers a Happy Christmas and new year.


From “Rye’s Own “ December 2005

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