My paternal grandfather worked as an ostler in a coalmine. Or was it my great-grandfather? He cut grass for the horses on the way to work. He was kicked by one of the horses and eventually died of complications from the wound. My maternal grandfather also worked with horses at one time, carrying bricks for the building of Cumnock swimming pool.
My mother lived in Kier Hardie Hill, within earshot of the pool, and when they needed her they used to play “In the mood” over the tannoy. They laid a wooden dance floor on the tennis courts just next to the pool, and used the pool’s loudspeakers system for the music. At that time, my granny used to sing in Alex Cairn’s skiffle band at Cumnock dance. My mother told me she stopped smoking two weeks ahead of each gig.
There were Free French soldiers stationed at Pennylands camp between Auchinleck and Cumnock. Some of them were very young, they lied about their age to fight with De Gaulle, and my grandparents used to invite them home. Two of them were called Max. One of the Maxes jumped off the balcony at Cumnock town hall dance in tribute to my granny’s singing – well, they were parachutists.
Anyway, in a round-about way, I believe that’s how I ended up in
Hostelry. Revelry. Ribald (gosh, more sex! Who would have thought... (written after jostle)). “He’s a rastler” was always spoken with contempt, so it probably meant someone who was not quite réglo but I can’t find it in the dictionary. Connotations of rascal, leading to “rogue”. I had a problem with “rogue” and "foliage” at primary school. When I came across the word “rogue” for the first time – probably in Enid Blyton – I pronounced it “rogue-you” (like argue and Montesquieu). Then I heard a teacher use the word and realised I had been pronouncing it wrong. It took me a long time to accept the new pronunciation, correct or not. The other word was “foliage”. I don’t know what went wrong but I had it stitched as “foilage” and I was loath to change to the proper pronunciation.
There is seemingly no connection to ostentation:
Originated 1425–75 from late Middle English ostentacioun, from Middle French ostentation, from Latin ostentātiōn (singular of ostentātiō), equivalent to ostentātus (past participle of ostentāre, to display or exhibit), frequentative of ostendere (to present, display) + -iōn.
Or to Jostle:
1. A rough shove or push.
2. The condition of being crowded together.
[Middle English justilen, to have sexual relations with, frequentative of justen, to joust, from Old French juster; see joust.]
Many a true word is spoken in _____.
I then tried to find out what “craven image” means – and I can’t. I can find Craven (adj. Characterized by abject fear; cowardly.) [Middle English cravant, perhaps from Old French crevant, present participle of crever, to burst, from Latin crepāre, to break.] cravenly cra'ven·ly adv. cravenness cra'ven·ness n.
But I don't see how that could apply to images. You cowardly picture, you!
I like the word vicarious (adjective) - taking the place of another; felt, received or done in place of another; indirect.
The Pool was a big part of my own childhood. I learnt to swim there and spent many a long summer's day oblivious to the crinkling of my toes and thumbs. My mother’s experience of the pool and my experience of the pool were both absolutely magical; the sparkly blue water (when the sun was shining), the latest records played while you swim, the pool attendants in their white shirts and plimsolls – Sammy Blackwood, David Garven, etc., – they all looked like Greek Gods to my prepubescent heart - so I feel kind of sad for the local children today that they don’t have that kind of excitement in their lives. It's the mixture of fresh air and people and music...
I know that the memory embroiders on the past and makes it seem more interesting than it actually was, but the present really does look awfully dull…