There Are No Words To Describe It

When I claimed that there is no English language, John, our jovial trivial videographer asked, “How do they know English has no original words?”

I responded that, “I know, because I’ve historically researched it for years, especially when I was tracing my ‘Scottish’ roots.  The results of that search are at It’s In The Jeans, if you’re interested.

Let’s start 2000 years ago, when what would later become England, was sparsely settled, and the language was the various dialects of Celtic tribes, like the Iceni, whose Queen Boudicca (Boadicea) was so badly treated by the invading Romans.

The Romans added many words to the mix, including much Latin, but only the officers were “Romans.”  The spear-carriers and their polyglot languages came from all around the Mediterranean.  Traders from far and wide visited the shores also.  Christ’s uncle, Joseph 0f Arimathea, supposedly traded along the western coast, bringing Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.

Around 900 AD, the Germanic Jutes, Angles, and Saxons arrived, making themselves and their languages at home.  The Jutes somehow just disappeared, but the Angles and Saxons became “Anglo-Saxon.”   The ‘Angle land’ kingdoms became the ‘England’ of today.  Their language mixed with the Romano-Celtic, with additions from Scottish Picts, Scottish Gaelic, Irish Gaelic, and Welsh, becoming Old English, a term only applied today.

A hundred years later, William the Conqueror, invaded the island.  He was the king of the French province of Breton, bringing the term ‘Britain’ to the language.  Many new words and terms were added.  Although consumption was in French, production was still in ‘English.’  Veau, boeuf, porc, and poulet were eaten by French nobles as veal, beef, pork, and poultry, while peasants still raised ‘English’ calves, cows, pigs, and chickens.

Norse Vikings, whose language also carried much Germanic influence, began raiding, and settling, adding some of their words to the olio.  The rise of the British Empire brought back words from all over the globe, Asia (Hong Kong), and hundreds from India.

The Kings and Queens of Europe were all inter-related, bringing in words from Spain, France, Italy, Poland and Russia.  The British Royal Family were German Battenbergs until WW I forced them to become English Mountbattens.

As new words were added, old terms fell out of use.  Some old English words are still in dictionaries as archaic.  Shewed and shewn became showed and shown, and thee, thou, thy and thine became you, your and yours.

It’s like trying to nail fog to a tree. There never was (and still isn’t) a time when there was a true English language.  It all came from somewhere else.  It is the tongue of immigrants, traders and conquerors – and a most excellent tool for communication.

Word is, that there will be another, fascinating post here in two days.  I will use these immigrant words to describe how elated I am that you visit.  😀

Fighting For One-Liners

I just won my first cage fight….
….The parrot didn’t know what hit him.

I was reading this book today, The History of Glue….
….I couldn’t put it down.

I hired a handyman to do some odd jobs around the house….
….He did every other thing on the list.

I made strawberry jam today….
….It was a jarring experience.

Snaccident….
….Eating an entire bag of chips by mistake.

Women only have two problems….
….Nothing to wear, and no room for all their clothes.

Life is like a helicopter….
….I don’t know how to operate a helicopter.

It’s probably just my age….
…That tricks people into thinking I’m an adult.

The Devil whispered to me, “I’m coming for you.”….
….I said, “Bring pizza.”

If you’re lost in the woods, start talking about politics….
….Someone will show up to argue with you.

When a clock is hungry….
….It goes back four seconds.

I often break into song….
….Because I can’t find the key.

I just sold my homing pigeon on eBay….
….For the 22nd time.

I’m not lazy….
….I’m just in Energy-Saving Mode.

What do you call a person who studies soft drinks?….
….A Fizzicist.

If I eat 3 bags of chips, and drink 4 cans of soda, what do I have?….
….No self-control.

My wife said, “I’m going out for a couple of hours.  Do you want anything?”….
….I replied, No, that’s enough.”

I couldn’t sleep last night, so I started reading the dictionary….
….By 3:00 AM I was past caring.

To the two criminals who stole my calendar….
….I hope you both get six months.

Did you hear about the criminal who pick-pocketed a dwarf?….
….How could he stoop so low?

I’ve heard of a lot of dumb criminals….
….But bakery robbers take the cake.

I think I need professional help….
….A chef, a butler, and a maid should do it.

Did you know that 2 or 3 glasses of wine a day….
….Can reduce your chances of giving a shit.

Let’s talk again, after they find….
….A cure for your personality.

Tradition is….
….Peer pressure from the dead.

My New Year’s resolution is to procrastinate….
….I’ll start tomorrow.

TILWROT II

Take me out of the ball game.

In the early 1960’s, before I arrived in this burgh, interest in, and support for, Junior, City-League Baseball was waning.  One local team felt that they needed $10,000, a considerable sum, to pay for a year’s uniforms, equipment and transportation costs, and no sponsors were coming forward.

One 16-year-old, baseball-crazy boy had an idea.  He would sit on a 6’ X 6’ platform on top of a 50 foot flagpole in the ball park, until the amount was raised.  He lasted three days, until unexplained stomach pains caused the same fire crew and ladder truck that put him up, to lower him down again.  His almost-feat was recently recounted in the ‘Flash From The Past’ history column in a Saturday newspaper.  His name was Ken Fryfogel.

Things I Learned While Researching Other Things – Act 2 – Fryfogel

The name Fryfogel is very uncommon.  Ancestry.com only has 298 listed in North America.  The unnumbered few in Canada are all in Ontario, and I suspect, most right here in Southwestern Ontario.  I decided to research.

Fryfogel appears to be a Germanic name, like Vogel – which is a bird, or Logel – who was a cooper.  Surname-meaning websites just shrugged.  I tried a translation website, but got nothing.  I tried changing the spelling from ‘el’ to ‘le.’  I tried pulling it apart, into Fry, and fogel – nothing.  I tried entering ‘fogel’ into a dictionary site.  I got, No listing for ‘fogel.’  Did you mean fodgel?’

I don’t know.  Do I??!  I’ve never run into the word.  What does it mean?   Yorkshire/Scottish dialect – a short, fat person-by extension, a fat hen.  So, a Fryfogel is someone who cooks up a big fat chicken.  Twenty miles from here, at the intersection of a concession road and the highway, halfway to Justin Bieber’s ex-home, stands the historic, 200-year-old Fryfogel Inn.  😎  What better name for an innkeeper than one that says that he’ll serve you up some fried chicken along with your ale?

I’ll be serving up some more interesting drivel in a couple of days.  Hope to see you then.  😀

Flash Fiction #266

PHOTO PROMPT © Brenda Cox

THE WILD WEST

And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes today’s Tourist Tram Trip to the Potsdam Paintball Palace.  Please follow the umpire to your left.  He is not a forensic technician, investigating a murder.  Please turn in the protective eye wear that you were issued.  You may keep your paper safeguard suits.  Any bruises incurred, should fade in about a week.  Tomorrow, they will be colors that match your suits.

For those of you not already sufficiently spun, you may take a complementary ride on our Pinwheel Carousel.

(Crazy Americans!  We have restaurants, history and art museums.  They come here to shoot guns??!)  🙄

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Having A Panic Sale

IT WAS THE BEST OF TIMES
IT WAS THE WORST OF TIMES

As March blew in like a lion, it blew a bit of Christian desperation, depression, fear, and entitlement, into the daughter’s house.

In the days previous, both the wife and son had been phoned, to do a survey about how various political parties and levels of Government had – or had not – been handling COVID.  The daughter got a phone call, and an unctuous female voice asked her if she had some time to talk about COVID.

She assumed that this was just another polling company.  The first few questions seemed – normalHow was COVID affecting her?  Did she go out often?  Since she had been locked indoors for most of the winter, she had the time and inclination to converse with someone.

Suddenly, the question was, Do you believe that COVID, and all the other terrible things that are happening, are the beginning of the end?  The sign of the Apocalypse??  The coming of the Rapture??!  Ah, a frightened Christian Fundamentalist – She just said NO.

How can you not believe that it’s The End Of The World?  “Because it’s all natural progression.  We’ve seen it all, dozens, hundreds of times before; we’re seeing it again, and we will see it in the future.”

I’d just like to leave you with some words from the Good Book, to make you feel better.  The daughter told her that she wasn’t feeling bad, and she already had “a book.”  She just didn’t tell her that it was one from Dr. Seuss, for adults.  It as easily could have been the Wiccan Bible, or the Pagan Prayer-book.

Ms Bible-thumper persisted.  You should just read Psalms 29, v 16-17.  The daughter replied, “That would be pretty hard for me to do, since I don’t have a Bible in the house.”  She told me, she could almost hear the fit of apoplexy coming on.  You don’t have a Bible??!  “No!  But thanks for calling.  Bye.”

Christian callers to podcast shows like The Atheist Experience, and Talk Heathen, accuse them of ‘trying to take away their religion, and their faith in Christ.’  One host rebuts this by saying that they only accept calls.  They do not make outgoing calls.  They do not go door to door asking, “Have you stopped believing in Christ yet?”  Apparently some Christian Missionaries won’t return the favor.

We had the Spanish Flu a hundred years ago.  Millions died but the world didn’t end.  We had the Black Death – The Plague – 500 years ago.  A third of the population of Europe died, but the world did not end.

The fear-mongering prediction of The End Times is almost a Christian cottage-industry, sold to, and bought by, fear-stricken followers with great gullibility, panicked imaginations – and absolutely no memory, or understanding of History.

One of the earliest recorded predictions of the end of the world came from Simon bar Giora, a member of the Jewish Essenes sect, about 66/70 CE. These years were a period in which the Jews of Judea rose up against the Romans who were in control of the area. The prediction ran that this fight would be the actual end times battle that presaged the coming of the Messiah.

Some people claim that Nostradamus (1555) predicted the end of the world, but careful study of his entertaining poetry will reveal that he made no such declaration.   Jeff Nilsson wrote about the Mother Shipton predictions in 2011. A new collection of the 16th century oracle’s visions was published in 1873.  Despite the fact that the publisher later admitted that he made the whole thing up, people still bought into prediction that the world would end in 1881 as it said in the book. Contemporary evidence seems to indicate that it did not.

Between 1996 and 2011, Televangelist Harold Camping made not one, but four, successive Apocalypse predictions.  His Christian broadcaster was finally forced to quietly give him the boot, and wash their hands of him.

The religious side of the Y2K panic made even less of an impact than the electronic one – especially since fearful followers got the dates wrong.  More bad dates (Not on Tinder) let the 2012 Mayan Calendar disaster pass without occurring.

In the long history of doomsday predictions, the apocalypse has been cancelled repeatedly over the centuries. From comets to computers to calendars (mainly Mayan), a surplus of expected end times has been available to every culture. And yet, as far we can tell, we’re still here – no thanks to Christian doomsayers.

Things I Learned While Researching Other Things

I give all credit for the idea of this post to the late journalist Sydney J. Harris, who would occasionally include something he called “Things I Learned While Looking Up Other Things” in his syndicated column.

This is a post about words and phrases. These are my building blocks, so they’re something I’m always interested in.  You understand the sometimes frustrating task of trying to find the correct word or phrase.

Occasionally, I’ll read or type words that I may understand in the context in which I’m seeing or using them, but will suddenly realize that I’m not certain where the words or phrases originated.

In this amazing Computer Age, I can afford a few minutes of distraction to investigate them further.

Right off the bat — As expected, the phrase “right off the bat,” meaning “immediately; at once; without delay” is a sports metaphor that has been traced back to the late 1880s with that usage. I just made the assumption that the sport was baseball—and it probably is—but some suggest that it may have originated with cricket (as baseball did).

Nitpicker — The word nitpicker means someone who finds faults, however small or unimportant, everywhere they look. We all know someone like that. If we don’t, it’s probably us. The word itself is relatively new, from about 1950 or so. It comes from the idea of picking nits (or lice eggs) out of someone’s hair. A nitpicker is as meticulous about finding faults as a literal nitpicker should be at finding each louse egg. Yes, it’s kind of a disgusting word origin, which is why nitpicker has negative connotations.

Top-notch — We know that top-notch means “excellent” or “of the highest quality.” But, what are its origins? It seems that no one really knows. It first appeared suddenly in its current usage in the mid-19th century. It has been suggested that it originated from one of several tossing games imported from Scotland that required a player to throw a weighted object over a horizontal bar. The best score would be when the bar was in the “top notch,” naturally. This sounds reasonable, but it’s really just a guess. Other guesses have it relating to logging, with the best lumberjacks able to cut from the highest notches, or some such thing. Another had something to do with candles and courting, but that’s been mostly debunked. Bottom line: we don’t know.

Since Hector was a pup* — Meaning “for a long time.” I can’t say this is exactly a regional colloquialism, although I heard it the first (and only) time from some guy in South Carolina. He said that it was something his dad always said, and, in the context it was used, the meaning was obvious.  Best guess, according to Internet sources, is that it is referring to the Trojan War hero Hector, since the phrase originated during a time when people were more well-versed in the classics. And that was, indeed, a long time ago.

Hemming and hawing — The phrase means to hesitate to give a definite answer. It dates back to the 1400s and is echoic in nature. A more modern interpretation would be “um-ing and er-ing” probably, with “um” and “er” being common filler sounds in hesitant speech. I always assumed it had something to do with either sewing or sailing. I was mistaken.

Gamut — I used the word “gamut,” knowing that its definition meant the complete range or scope of something. My actual sentence began “our entertainment choices run the gamut from …” But, where did the word “gamut” come from? It turns out that gamut originally meant “lowest note in the medieval musical scale” and it was a contraction of Medieval Latin gamma ut, from gamma, the Greek letter indicating a note below A, plus ut (later called do (as in “do re mi”), the low note on the six-note musical scale. So the word gamut was originally all about music, but later morphed into meaning “the whole musical scale,” or, figuratively, “the entire range or scale” of anything. Its first usage in this manner can be traced to the 1620s.

Honeymoon — The word and concept of the honeymoon owes more than a little to alcohol (as do some weddings: but, I digress—). The medieval tradition of drinking honeyed wine for a full moon cycle after a wedding was supposed to ensure a fruitful union between the new bride and groom. I guess Champagne is a modern-day analogue to honey wine.

Throwback — It means a person or thing that is similar to something of an earlier type or time. It was already in use with more or less the current definition in the mid-19th century. It is a combination of the verb “throw” and the adverb “back.” I can’t find a more pithy origin story for the word, even apocryphal stories that have been debunked. I was sure it would have its origin in the sport of fishing.

Venting your spleen — This particular idiom means “to express your anger.” From medieval times until the 19th century, the spleen—an organ in the body near the stomach—was thought to be the source of the “humors” that caused the emotion of anger. This is a colorful and archaic phrase. I contracted hepatitis as a 12-year-old.  (My mother called it jaundice, because I turned a lovely yellow/orange color from all the excess bile in my system.  I couldn’t keep food or drink down for two weeks, and lost 20 pounds – not a good thing on a skinny, stick-thin kid.)  But, I digress— anyway, my spleen was swollen while I had jaundice. I don’t recall being angry, but I did throw up a lot.

One to grow on — I thought an origin for this idiom would be easy to find, but it remains mostly a mystery.  When you had a birthday, it was a tradition to receive your birthday spanking by your friends or family, with the flat of the hand or with a paddle or belt. One person on-line said the birthday person would be “lightly paddled.” They didn’t live anywhere near me. Anyway, you’d get one swat for each year of your age, and then one extra swat, called the “one to grow on.” It’s like the baker’s dozen of birthday-themed beatings. I still don’t know the origins. Here’s one guess: you say something “grows on” you to mean that you become accustomed to it. Is the birthday punishment tradition meant for you to get used to pain because that’s all adulthood has to offer you in the future? That’s a little bleak, but it will serve as a placeholder until someone can offer me a better explanation.

* * * * *

Things I Learned While Researching Other Things = TILWROT
Remember that!  
As a lover of words, I know I’ll keep collecting these. Plus, I’ll keep posting them, I’m sure.

*Actually…. My Mother used to say, “Since ‘Towser’ was a pup.”  Now I’m off to research ‘Towser.’  Lord knows what I’ll find.

 

A Love Of Reading

Even for a grumpy, retired old dude like me, with nothing much to do, COVID-infested infected 2020 provided me with a little extra time to read ‘em and reap.  I thought that I was doing well, but….  The son swore off TV some years ago, and spends all his spare time reading – something.  He still reads the occasional dead-tree book, but gets most of his from Kindle Unlimited.  Kindle keeps track of how many books he has read – and reread.  In 2019, he went through 152.  During Apocalypse 2020, his list numbered 213.  I recently went to bed.  By the time I arose, eight hours later, he’d (re)read 3 books.
I only got these 37.

Hawking dumbed down ‘A Brief History of Time’ enough that I understood a lot of it. Mlodinow further simplified the concepts, in this version.

Book number 6 of The Expanse series. I am currently watching my way through series number five, on Amazon Prime

Interstellar Sci-Fi, with magic. Thanx to the son for introducing me to this series.

A time-filling men’s adventure book

A little bit of spaceships and ray-guns Sci-Fi

Alternate-Earth, with magic. Second book, Red Magic will be in this year’s list.

More Action/Adventure

A Sci-Fi book about time travel. One of several read last year.

A stand-alone book from these author’s ‘Magic” series, explaining some plot focus changes, and allowing for the beginning of a new series.

A murder mystery from fellow blogger K J Ivany. A post about this book will soon follow.

The culmination of the ‘Magic’ series. Swords, vampires, shapeshifter were-animals, and various monsters. It’s been fun.

Book #2, mate to last year’s ‘Saints.’

Book number five of The Expanse Series – the one I’m currently streaming. Thanx BrainRants – great reading, and watching.

Bourne Identity type of men’s action/adventure

Another in The Innkeeper, ‘Sweep’ series. This husband/wife writing team are almost as prolific as Isaac Asimov, with four series and several singletons.

More mindless men’s adventure. I am highly qualified.

Another Jack Reacher book. Another in the series has just been released for this year’s reading. As Clive Cussler passed his series on to his son, so has Lee Child passed his on to his son.

Tom Clancy’s heirs just passed the writing of the Jack Ryan series on to a committee of commercial writers.

Same series – different author

An invading alien machine makes the gods of Greece, Egypt and Rome real for those trapped inside a reality bubble.

If one was fun – and more importantly – sold, let’s trap another group with the Norse gods.

One of several ‘Classic’ Sci-Fi books that I reread. A book review will soon follow.

I realized that I had not read this book in the 1960s, so I bought it from Kindle for $1.99.

For the same two bucks, Star Rangers (above), came attached to this book, which I had read in the mid-’60s, titled ‘The Last Planet.’ As a matched pair, this second novel now makes more sense.

Eight millennia-old immortals among us, and how they have dealt with change. Another upcoming book review will tell you how.

Historical/urban fiction to pass the time

More Sci-Fi rereading. I originally read this, titled as ‘The Junkyard Planet.’ How to pull a failed world up by its financial bootstraps.

More interesting men’s action/adventure to pass the time. The first of another series which I believe I have to thank River Girl for introducing me to. The rest will help keep me busy in 2021.

Another reread from the ’60s. Urban fiction which barely qualifies as Sci-Fi because a man finds a way to get rich through industrial espionage, by inventing a device which allows him to move about, unseen and unstopped, while time stands still for everyone else.

More historical/urban fiction. They contain a pleasant amount of fascinating trivia.

Not much blood and guts, but lots of brains and gunplay. Solid story arc and character development.

Were the ten plagues of Egypt actually real?? Is the entire biome of the Earth a semi-sentient, interlocked, Gaia-type entity? Dunno! But it makes good reading.

Another ghost-writer, for Clive Cussler, presents a period-piece action/adventure whose hero is an early 20th century detective, reminiscent of the real Alan Pinkerton.

Time travel without leaving home. Bits and pieces of geography and time periods are inexplicably swirled together. Can our hero figure out how to put it all back where/when it belongs?

Centuries of life through organ transplants for planetary monarchs, but not for the their subjects. A topic brought up in this ’60s novel. The author also wrote the 1776/1976 American Bicentennial Saga series. If I read this book soon after its release, I don’t remember it. It was a pleasant discovery in a storage box.

At least one book to reinforce my lack of belief in the supernatural/religion. A disappointing little 156-page novelette with several passages repeated in different chapters.  Trying to justify his position through  philosophy and logic – and failing miserably.  As dry and tasteless as Muffets.

COVID19 should have given most of you some extra time this past year to read.  Aside from my magnificent prose, did you encounter anything morally or intellectually uplifting?

30 Day Challenge – Twofer

9: Your Last Kiss
11: Your current relationship, if single, discuss how single life is

I put these two together, because I’m not really going to write about either, yet they kinda go together.

The wife and I are now closing in on 53 years of marriage, but I’m sure that there are readers who would be surprised to find that there is not an abundance of “Love.”  For much of history, and much of the world, marriage was a socio-commercial undertaking.  Even today, ‘arranged marriages’ are common, and their divorce rates are lower than the ‘marriage for love’ ones.  They are based on mutual respect and adaptation.

I’m assuming that the author meant a passionate, ‘love-induced’ kiss, not the How Are You peck on the cheek from a sister-in-law.  At the three-quarters of a century mark, there’s not a lot of passion left.  The son says that he gets strange looks from co-workers when he tells them that we are each just hanging on until the other dies – dark humor, that boy.

Hoggimus-Higgimus
Man is polygamous
Higgimus-Hoggimus
Woman’s monogamous
It is said that a man will trade love for sex, and a woman will trade sex for love.  The wife and I have learned to respect each other, and there certainly has been a great deal of adaptation over the years.  There was a certain degree of love to get the marriage started, but…. 

A man chases a woman – until she catches him.  I came home one day from work, to find that the coffee klatch at my house had not disbanded.  I heard the wife telling the neighborhood women that she picked me, because she felt that I was very intelligent, and she thought that smart men made more money.  Oh, you sexy minx!  You had me at ‘Credit Check.’  I am the victim of an arranged marriage.  It was just my wife who arranged it.

I am not displeased or disappointed with my married life.  Only occasionally do I wonder how things would have gone in other circumstances.  One of my online friends has been divorced and living alone for 30 years.  I don’t have the self-sufficiency to live alone.  I need a zoo-keeper to care for and feed me.  As a mild sociopath, I could probably handle the isolation, but I still value the social and intellectual stimulation from my children, and now grandson and granddaughter-in-law.

There have been few periods in our marriage that could be described as brilliant fireworks.  That’s probably a good thing.  Slow and steady wins the race.  I have seen those whose lives, including their marriage, have been roller-coaster ups and downs.  Eventually the downs seem to be such a contrast, that they decide to give up and change them.  Divorce is survivable.  Suicide is not.

Our marriage has not been boring.  We have been able to travel a bit, and see and experience some interesting places and things.  Now that we are (much) older, and the bodies and the bank account are weak and creaky, we are learning to use our electronics for entertainment and social connections – like this.

Thanx for stopping by to read this unexciting description of Same Old – Same Older.  I’ll haul out more interesting info for next time.  Wanna hear about the neighbor who’s a drug dealer?

***

I’m still (reluctantly) getting used to this damned Block Editor. I’ve figured out most of it but, can someone tell me where to find the control for color of text??

Flash Fiction #233

ted-s

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

LESS IS MORE

In some ways, under-population is the bane of the developed world.  When I was a child, I thought that inheriting this house would be marvelous.  Now that it’s happened, I own a white elephant.

When it was built, 150 years ago, the normal 8-10-12 children were needed to maintain it.  Older sons mended the shingles. Middle teens cut the grass and pruned the trees.  Daughters tended flowers and vegetables.  Young Tom Sawyer-types whitewashed the fence.

Medicine improved, and families shrunk.  Now, I don’t have the time, energy or income to keep it presentable.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

friday-fictioneers-badge-web

Why I Am An Old Codger

Cadge

WHY I AM AN OLD CODGER

By Emeritus Archon

Mrs. Upshall, and my fellow Grade Four classmates

What is a codger?  I bet you thought that I knew everything about English language words.  I know I did!

The same extinct British TV show which brought us the word manky, as well as the more recent phrase, ‘Stone the Crows,’ also recently taught me why I am an old codger.  I have accepted (bitched about it – but accepted) that I am old, since I turned 60 – but, codger?

In ancient times – and not-so-ancient times – birds of prey were important to royalty and nobility as a symbol of swift, destructive power.  Eagles, hawks and falcons were common on heraldry and coats of arms.  The bigger the dick lord, the more birds he might own.  A king could have 15 or 20.

Each and every one of them must be exercised every day, by the bird trainer.  They must be taken away from the castle where they roost, to an open patch of ground, so that they can be flown, one at a time, trained to attack prey, and brought back to the trainer, using a bait, swung around and tossed into the air at the end of a stout cord.

That’s the trainer’s job, but whose job was it to get all these birds to and from the castle – and how?  A device called a cadge was invented (See above photo).  It’s like a small end table with no top, and upholstered rails for birds to cling to.  It has shoulder straps to support the weight when a person stands inside it.  10 to 20 birds, at three or four pounds each, can be quite a load.

Strong young men were better employed for other uses.  It was usual for older men to tote this thing around.  Dictionaries are not sure where the name cadge came from.  Some feel that it originally might have been ‘cage.’  Others, (which I agree with) feel that it’s a development of ‘carriage.’  The poor lout who got burdened with it became known as a cadger.  Pronunciation drift eventually changed that to codger.

So, that’s the story of how I came to be what I am – a flighty old man, forced to help support and train a bunch of bird-brains.  I come by my title of Grumpy Old Dude, honestly.  😉