Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Come Into My Parlour

The other day I asked the household where some kitchen gadget had got to. Bert says,

The last place I saw it was on the sill in the parlour.

Parlour? Where’s the bloody parlour?

I never said parlour. I said…you know…that room out there.

You mean the room with the washing machine in it?

Yeah. That room, the – you know?

The scullery. Or utility room if you like. Where did parlour come from?

I never said parlour.

You bloody did.

It’s a big problem for me this shifting of place names. The outside is a nightmare. The sheds are referred to something like this -

  • The Woodshed

  • The Milk House

  • The Byre

  • The Cattle Shed

  • The Workshop

  • The Hen House

  • The Pig House

  • The Calf Shed

  • The Back Shed

  • The Potato Shed

  • The Turf Shed

  • The Silo

  • The Tractor Shed

  • The Tool Shed

  • Ian’s Shed

Of course we don’t have fifteen sheds. We have about six shed-type buildings and each one has at least three names depending on which decade Bert’s mind is settled on that particular day. For instance, if Bert refers to the Turf Shed, will he be speaking of the shed which currently contains turf (unlikely) or does he mean a shed that was used for turf storage twenty, or even forty years ago. This is not much use to me as I don’t know where they kept the turf during the Swinging Sixties.

It was no better in our last place where we only had a garage and three polytunnels.

Where are my orange handled secateurs?

In the tunnels.

Which one?

The one with the clematis.

They all have clematis.

The montanas.

Big ones or liners?

Och you know. The one with Denise’s potting bench.

She has two bloody potting benches! Here they are! Why couldn’t you just have said the middle tunnel?

I blame his mother.

When this was her house there were three rooms referred to as The Scullery and two known as The Pantry and two called The Good Room and two more called The Front Room. Upstairs was The Room, Bert’s Room, Lizzie’s Room, Uncle Andy’s Room, Our Room, My Room, The Good Room, The Room With The New Window, The Room With The Broken Floor, The Cupboard, The Back Room, The Room With The Good Bed, The Front Room, The Big Room, The Wee Room, The Best Room and the Attic. As far as I know, The Toilet and The Bathroom were never called anything else but I could be wrong.

There was none of that nonsense in our house. Upstairs we had 4 bedrooms which were named according to the persons who slept in them, downstairs was The Kitchen, The Scullery, The Room, The Bathroom and The Room Before The Bathroom. It never changed downstairs. Outside sheds were named and stayed named. You knew where you were in Tannaghmore.

And don’t get me started on fields.


Anna said...

The only room I can think of that had several names was called the toilet or bathroom (by family); AKA the powderroom or rest room (by genteel female guests) and the pot, the john or the shitter (by Dan's buds). There was never any doubt about which room was being referenced. :-)

Grannymar said...

I have an 'Under the Stairs'! I live in a bungalow all on the level. I was forever sending Elly to fetch me something from there. Now she has a real Under the Stairs and a stairs above it!

Craig said...

I meant to send you this a few days ago, based on the sight of your pumpkin!
Pumpkin scones recipe.

Nothing about rooms at all, sorry.

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Me: That would look good in the kitchen.

The Baad Lamb: Which kitchen are you talking about? New York? Florida? Connecticut?

Me [incredulously and annoyed]: How can you even ask that? It's blue, for chrissakes, there's only one kitchen it would go in.

The Baad Lamb: [brief eye roll and silence]