WOW #68

I once knew a man named Isbister.
Thank you for your concern and condolences.

He pronounced it izz-biss-tur.  His first name was Murray – a good Scottish name.  It’s where the word ‘Mondegreen’ comes from.

They’ve killed the Earl o’ Murray,
And laid ‘im on the green.

His last name might have been Czechoslovakian for all I knew.  There was a Scottish housewife in town, with a brogue as thick as a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal, married to a Polack named Mackowski.

I recently heard spoken references to another Isbister, this one clearly a Scottish citizen, referred to by another Scot.  This time, the pronunciation was eyes-biss-tur.  The family name is locational, coming from a village named Isbister.

The speaker also referred to another village named Fladdabister.  The Scots do have a way with language and pronunciation.  I kid (Sure I do) that the Irish are hard drinkers.  With names like that, maybe my lot were giving them lessons.  I mean, Scotch whiskey didn’t just happen.

Two towns with the word

BISTER

in their names – what could it mean??

Bister is a pigment obtained by burning (waste) wool.  It is/was used in paint and ink.  Apparently the simultaneous oxidation of lanolin and keratin, produced a deep, permanent black, similar to India ink.  It is no surprise that it is linked to the sheep/wool industry.  Other than growing oats, raising James Bond, and stealing magic rocks back from the British Parliament, there’s not much else to do in Scotland.

Scotland the Brae!  It’s a great place to be from.  Now, don’t get your kilts in a knot.  😉

WOW #49

Dandle

I’ve got another old-fashion-y word, as this week’s Word Of the Week. It’s

DANDLE

verb (used with object), dan·dled, dan·dling.

to move (a baby, child, etc.) lightly up and down, as on one’s knee or in one’s arms.

to pet; pamper.

Isn’t that a lovely old word, as warm and nutritious as Scottish oatmeal; as enfolding and supportive as a flannelette blanket? It’s not officially extinct, but it went on the endangered species list in the 60s or 70s.

Nobody dandles babies anymore! There’s no time! Instead, fit, young, Spanx-clad, Bluetooth-sprouting mothers race past, with bewildered, wind-burned children in $4000 Kevlar and Carbon-Fiber walkers, on their way to enrol the kid in pre-pre-pre-kindergarten, or snaffle the last spot in some preppy Day-Care.

I believe that I may have found a preventive for, at least some of, the multiple-killing gun violence. Perhaps if Mom (Or grandma – she remembers how) dandled her child more, he would be more likely to grow up to return love for love, instead of being estranged from society.

Please note that the word is dandle, not diddle. 😯 The Catholic Church seems to finally be getting the word, and that pedophile, Epstein has taken himself out of the game.

Stop back in a couple of days for some more comedy, and the beginning of my (hopefully) final dash for the 200th Flash Fiction milestone.

Auto Prompt – Knowledge Challenge – Combermere

It all started so innocently, as most of them usually do, though this one was unusual, because it involved my often less-than-innocent Scottish ancestors.

Scottish Flag

I needed a four-letter crossword solution for ‘sea’, starting with M. Five minutes later, working sideways, I had ‘mere’? 😕 Quick Archon, to the dictionary. I soon found that the Scots, through a mouthful of oatmeal porridge, had turned the French word ‘mer’ into ‘mere.’

Through my Scottish heritage, I knew that there was a small Southern-Ontario town named Combermere, and one back in the UK. The word ‘comber’ has two pronunciations. There is the usual English Coe-mrr, which is a person or device which combs. Also, a large, long wave, which can strip (comb) things off a beach as it crashes ashore, is a comber. Then there is the Scottish Comm-Brrr, which is used for personal and place names. I once heard two women refer to a man, whose name of Comber they’d read but not heard, as Coe-mrr. As a Scot, I knew better. What did those old kilt-wearers mean when they put those two words together?

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I quickly learned that the mere was no vast sea. It was merely a wee mountain lake – a tarn. The ground around it was too rocky for agriculture, so sheep were raised. However pronounced, the word comber had the same meaning. Once the sheep were sheared, and before the wool was spun to thread and woven into bright Tartans, it was combed (carded), whether by hand, like the hand-carders above, from my Gadgets post, or with a hand-cranked, mechanical device.

The shearing of hundreds of sheep produces a lot of fleece. While the men were busy tending to the now-nude creatures, the women combed, and combed, and combed. Combermere became the name for a pastoral little village which grew up at the lower edge of a Scottish lake, renowned for its yarn and woven cloth.

Don’t look for it there now. Time, and society, and politics changed over the centuries. All that’s left is the Combermere Abbey, in England, near the northern border of Wales. It was named for an Earl of Combermere, which title was given to an Englishman, after James VI of Scotland became James I of England.

If you’re interested in some hand-carded fleece, or hand-spun yarn, or hand-knitted or crocheted apparel, join the daughter, Ladyryl, at her blog, or at http://www.facebook.com/frogpondcollective. She’ll show you how it was done in the Goode Olde Dayes.