|Sunset over Strangford Lough, Islandhill, near Comber, Co. Down|
The clocks have changed and it's getting dark quite early these days – "There's a qu'er change in the evenin's." But strangely enough, despite all the dire predictions from the weathermen of prolonged sub-zero weather, we've actually been experiencing warmer temperatures than we had during our so-called, summer, earlier this year! We haven't really had a proper frost yet! It just goes to show ye what it shows ye – ye can never predict the weather in Ireland. It's always got a wee surprise in store for ye.
Mind you, mild as it's been, we've certainly been havin' more than our fair share of rain – 'Mingin' is a good Belfast description of it (that means it stinks). Or you could say, 'It's bin putrid!' 'It's bin comin' down in bucketfuls' – or, 'bucketin wi' rain.' Or, "It's teemin' down out there."
I was gettin' some work done to my car the other day and the radio in the garage was playing fairly quietly. I was only able to hear it because I was standin' right by the speaker. A good summary of the weather forecast for the next day would have been, "Well, it's not gonna rain the WHOLE day!"
My mother used to use a great expression for a downpour, she'd say, "By the lucks of it I'd say we'r' in for a right thunderplump!" Usually, when it rains here, it's not that heavy. We'll say, "There's a wee bit of a mizzle," or "Sure, it's only spittin' a wee bit." Or, "The weather's a bit saft, today."
We're used to rain, but the wind, now, can take us unawares. When it get's up a bit we might be heard to say, "There's a win' out there would clean corn!" That's ano'rr one my mother was fond of. Or maybe, "That win' wud cut clean through ye!" In Irish ye might say, "Tá mé fuar agus fliuch" – "I'm cold and wet."
A discussion about holidays might start, "Where yez away anywhere the year?" "Aye we were'n Spain for ten days, so we were." "Right. What sort of we'err did yes git, over there?" "Ach, it wuz dead onn, so it was. Right'n warm, like." As I've said before, we're not that well geared up for extremes of temperature. When it freezes, we're 'foundered', an' when it's unseasonably warm we're 'boiled', or 'melted'. An' the winter weather in this part a' the world is mostly just, "Desp'rate, altoge'rr!"
Some of the expressions that we would use without thinkin', here, would leave outsiders totally flummoxed. Listenin' to somebody tryin' to control a chid, or two, can be very entertainin'! "Ach, would yez catch yerselves on? Runnin' aroun' there like a hen on a hot griddle! Quit yer bullickin' about, or I'll give yez a clatter roun' the lugholes, so a' will. Yez are doin' my head in wi' yer actin the maggot, there." Or, if the child happens to be climbing too high, "Git down ah' that, afore ye fall 'n' kill yerself."
The word, 'look' usually gets pronounced as 'luck'. "Luck what yer doin', there!" Or, "Luck after yerself, now." Not to be confused with the word, 'lock', meaning 'a lot' – as in, "There were a lock a' boys hanging aroun' tonight, so there were." Or, "A lock a' people wouldn't even bo'rr wi' that." Or, "If ye'd a right lock a money, ye cud do a whole lock a' things."
When it comes to phrases to express someones cleverness, or the lack of it, we aren't short of a few. "Have a wee titter a' wit, there, now." Or, "He hasn't an ounce a sense, has he?" "There's more brains in my boot, now, so there is." "Some people havn't the sense they were born with." Or, "He's a few stories short of a bungalow."
Watching somebody make a hash of a job, we might comment, "Aye, if ye'd brains ye'd be dangerous!" Alternatively, ye might hear, "Yer man's no dozer, is he?" Or, "If he was any sharper he'd cut himself!" And, "Do ye think I came up the Lagan in a bubble?"
When asked if we are able to do something, we might reply, "Dead on. No problem!" Or, "Ach, no bo'rr." Or perhaps, "Aye, wee buns!" In other words it'll be 'dead aisy.' If somebody calls in unexpectedly for a brief visit, ye'll probably ask them, "Will ye take a wee cup a' tae?" To which they'll probably make some excuse. So ye'll say, "Sure, go on – A've the tae already wet." How can ye refuse, eh?