Being obstreperous

By Wednesday, much of my Much Love Mondayness has run out. I start work at 8:45 am and finish at 8:45 pm which reminds me of what I’m like in work all the time. I have an hour off mid-morning and then go all in, hell for leather.

To be fair, I start with the lovelinesses and end with lovelinesses with lovelinesses in the middle. But it still makes me crabby. I don’t think I should have started doing content writing straight after, but I figure if you’ve spent 12 hours working, you might as well spend another one on it. I’m writing content about handbags. Mostly, web designers don’t care what you write as long as you fill the text with key words that pop up in search engines. It feels a bit like stuffing a goose to make fois gras. It’s un-natural and a bit over-facing.

In fact, it makes me obstreperous.

I love this word.

My Nana uses this word a lot about me. She knows me very well. It describes me perfectly of a cold September evening when it has rained all day and I’ve been driving about all over the countryside or wrestling with slow internet connections on Skype and then some editor tells me I need to write things with ize instead of ise. To be fair, this is my own fault. I usually do. I don’t feel like explaining to a bunch of Yanks that a z is redundant because s trapped between two vowels is always z. Hose. Use. Rise. And thus organise-categorise-utilise.

Plus, Merriam liked French. He took loads of French spellings, like color. So why he decided it should be a z, I don’t know. Maybe we English mainlanders had a z and then we moved to the s. Anyway, I usually do it. Google tells me to. Word tells me to. Even wordpress tells me to. So I do. And being tired and a bit cold and a lot obstreperous is never a good time to get into an editorial battle especially when it’s my own fault.

It did get me thinking about some of those words my Nana uses that I love. Words that are sometimes made up, like marmalise. No. Not marmalize. I was surprised to find 4,500 hits for marmalise. 12,500 for marmalize. I’m pretty sure my Nana made that word up though. Pretty sure. It said it first came into use in the 1960s. I’m pretty sure my Nana has been using it longer than that.

Now, whilst she might have made up marmalise, I know she didn’t make up my second favourite Nana word. Mard. Mardy is a good Derbyshire and Yorkshire word. Mard is a more Lancashire thing. I think. Mard. For that time when you’re pouting and sulking and you feel all angry and awkward and soft and wimpy and stroppy all in one. Mard is the best word for that.

My third-favourite Nana word is nowty. When you’re nowty, you’re in a really, really bad mood, all crabby and cross. It’s a good northern word too and I know my Nana had nothing to do with the birth of these words. Mard and Nowty. That’s exactly how I feel tonight. And obstreperous. I think most of my Nana’s words are to do with being in a bad mood.

In my Nana’s family, there’s also a congenital defect. It’s a pouty lip. We call it the Oakden lip. It is prone to make an appearance when you don’t get your own way. I don’t suffer from the Oakden lip myself, but my sister does. I’ve seen it. I have the Oakden calflick that’s not so much a defect as an affliction. Who knew that calflicks were genetic? And yet my Nana and my Auntie Lynne have the same little bit of fringe that grows the wrong way. Tonight, I’m feeling a bit pouty though. I might tell that proof-reader to stop making me nowty and mard and obstreperous or else I’m going to marmalise him. It gets me right mithered.

Let’s see what he makes of that.


12 thoughts on “Being obstreperous

  1. Your grandmother sounds like an interesting woman! As for what you call ‘calflick’ and we call ‘cowlick’, they are indeed genetic. I researched genetic traits not long ago and found that having them is in the genes. I was surprised by that. The reason I was looking up genetic traits was that I would have thought height was, but it’s interestingly not.

  2. LOL, yep, woe betide I get obstreperous – and it could well be over US spelling. Ugh. Though now Stephen Fry has told us it should be aluminum after all… I wish he hadn’t said that. Had a great argument with a smart friend when I was 10. She’s an astrophysicist now. She insisted on aluminum, despite the obvious second “i” in the spelling of aluminium. Sigh.
    My granny (from Sheffield) still says mardy after 70 years in the West Midlands. And mither – I taught these words to my Swiss hubby and girls đŸ˜‰
    Why am I short with a calflick, then?! (didn’t know that one!)

  3. How very true! You seem to have missed out the other congenital trait, the Oakden look! A look of disdain so withering that if looks could kill you would be expired. This goes down the female line and becomes more perfected with age and experience.
    Keep blogging, it always make interesting reading x

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