Book of Gloria

I posted about this on Facebook earlier, but it’s so brilliant I have to say more here.

Earlier today on the intertubes I came across the Bible in Polari. Those who know Polari, or are old enough to remember Julian and Sandy from the radio show Round the Horne, will guess how much of a hoot it is. Here, for example, are the first five verses of Genesis …

1 In the beginning Gloria created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was nanti form, and void; and munge was upon the eke of the deep. And the Fairy of Gloria trolled upon the eke of the aquas.
3 And Gloria cackled, Let there be sparkle: and there was sparkle.
4 And Gloria vardad the sparkle, that it was bona: and Gloria medzered the sparkle from the munge.
5 And Gloria screeched the sparkle journo, and the munge she screeched nochy. And the bijou nochy and the morning were the first journo.

And here, the Immaculate Conception from Luke 1:26-35 …

26 And in the seyth month the fairy Gabriel was laued from Gloria unto a smoke of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27 To a nanti charver espoused to a homie whose name was Josephine, of the lattie of Davina; and the nanti charver‘s name was Mary.
28 And the fairy trolled in unto her, and cackled, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Duchess is with thee: fabed art thou among palones.
29 And when she vardad her, she was troubled at her cackling, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30 And the fairy cackled unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with Gloria.
31 And, varda, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and parker forth a homie chavvie, and shalt screech her name Josie.
32 She shall be dowry, and shall be screeched the homie chavvie of the Highest: and the Duchess Gloria shall parker unto her the throne of her Auntie Davina:
33 And she shall reign over the lattie of Jacob for ever; and of her kingdom there shall be no end.
34 Then cackled Mary unto the fairy, How shall this be, vardaing I know not a homie?
35 And the fairy answered and cackled unto her, The Fantabulosa Fairy shall troll upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that fabulosa fakement which shall be born of thee shall be screeched the homie chavvie of Gloria.

Brilliant isn’t it?!

Incidentally it’s worth downloading the PDF version, even though it is big, as it contains some wonderfully captioned “old style” images (“Gethsemane had always been a notorious cruising ground”) and a huge dictionary of Polari.

What I find interesting is how much Polari has passed into modern parlance (possibly as some was stolen from existing dialect like Cockney and entered the modern English from there). Just in writing this I’ve noticed acdc, troll, barney, butch, drag … the list goes on!

This is what I find so entrancing about language: not just the fun but the interplay between language, dialect, argot and idiolect. And I love it when something in one form is translated into another, but remains amusingly intelligible to speakers of the original – as here and as with the Pidgin of Papua New Guinea for Prince Charles: nambawan pikinini bilong Mises Kwin.

Just excellent!


Does anyone else have the occasional memory spring randomly into their mind about something heard or learnt in childhood but had long forgotten? Of course it usually happens when you’re in the shower or just dropping off to sleep, so you forget about it again even though you would like to investigate it.

Well that happened to me the other night, yes, as I was dropping off to sleep. Luckily I wasn’t so asleep I couldn’t scribble a reminder. (I always have a pad of Post-Its and a pencil by the bed.)

And what was this? Something I got from my mother as a child: dialect numbers and counting used by shepherds in various areas of the UK. I learnt one from my mother, but there are many and they’re all slightly different.

Imagine you’re counting sheep on a hillside. The one I learnt goes like this:

1    Yan
2    Tyan
3    Tethera
4    Methera
5    Pimp
6    Sethera
7    Lethera
8    Hovera
9    Dovera
10   Dick
11   Yan-a-dick
12   Tyan-a-dick
13   Tethera-dick
14   Methera-dick
15   Bumfit
16   Yan-a-bumfit
17   Tyan-a-bumfit
18   Tethera-bumfit
19   Methera-bumfit
20   Giggot

You can just see the old shepherd, who can just count to ten on his fingers, using this to count his flock.

I shouldn’t have been surprised to find that Wikipedia lists a couple of dozen such sheep counting schemes from around the UK. Apparently this one comes from Borrowdale. That would fit as my mother certainly spend time hostelling in the Lakes before the war.

At least it is logical — well as logical as the way the French count above sixty, where for instance 63 is soixante-treize, and 92 is quatre-vingt douze.

Isn’t it just brilliant?!

Pussy Porn

Winter is coming, the cats are getting keener to be in rather than out — not that this stops them going out for a little light mouse-foraging! All afternoon I’ve had two of our three cats with me in the study, very asleep and both determinedly trying to make it rain.

Wiz has found the warm spot in front of the airing cupboard …


Meanwhile Tilly has a little cave amongst the piles of stuff and toot …


Where number three is I have no idea, but doubtless in much the same state!

Weekly Photograph

Pussy porn again this week …

Meet the latest two additions to the household: The Tuxedo Twins.
Born: 6 April 2016
Arrived here: 3 June 2016
Mother was rescued, very pregnant, and cared for by our local animal rescue group, Guardian Angels Animal Support. These two were our choice from the five kittens. Needless to say our existing cat, Tilly, is not impressed. Well not yet anyway!

Tuxedo Twins (Primrose and Wizard) Enjoying a Lie-in and a Radiator
Tuxedo Twins (Primrose and Wizard) Enjoy a Lie-in and a Radiator
Greenford; June 2016

Wizard (Tuxedo Boy) Practices his Ninja Moves
Wizard (Tuxedo Boy) Practices his Ninja Moves
Greenford; June 2016

Primrose (Tuxedo Girl) Attacks the String
Primrose (Tuxedo Girl) Attacks the String
Greenford; June 2016

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Weekly Photograph

Apologies for the hiatus last week, I got buried in various pieces of urgent work.

This week we delve once more into the archives. This is from one of our 2010 visit to Rye and environs. It is a detail from the garden at Prospect Cottage, the late Derek Jarman’s home at Dungeness. The stone circle is probably just under 3 feet across.

Prospect Cottage Garden Detail
Prospect Cottage Garden Detail
Dungeness; August 2010

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Weekly Photograph

A couple of weeks ago I posted a photo of one of my Phalaenopsis orchids, all of which are in flower. And now, this week, one of my Dendrobiums has come into flower on the study windowsill. Not prolifically, but nice nonetheless.

Dendrobium in Winter Sun
Greenford; February 2016

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