Monday, July 4, 2011

As nesh as a carrot.

In today's Ottawa Citizen there is an article about a word bank in Britain that gathers words that are disappearing from local dialects. One such word is "nesh."  This is a word my Father used often in the descriptive phrase, "As nesh as a carrot." In the newspaper article it defines "nesh" as being susceptible to the cold. My Father's use of the word had a more colourful use: it meant that a person, such as a soccer player, was reluctant to commit himself fully in, for example, a full blooded tackle. I suppose this is similar to the usage ascribed to the word in the article, since somebody who is susceptible to cold would wrap themselves up in lots of woollies, turn up the heat in winter, and generally mollycoddle themselves.

When I was a young boy, my Dad would take us to see professional soccer as played by the team he supported, Port Vale, a struggling team in the third or fourth division of English Soccer (now called Division Two, three levels beneath the Premier League.) I well remember his colourful descriptions of the abilities of The Vale's players after a particularly disappointing game. Besides labelling several players as "Nesh as Carrots",  he would sum up the team's abilities by saying he would not pay them with bottle caps, nailed upside down to a rotten piece of wood!

When we were very young my Dad would hoist us over the turnstiles at the entrance to the soccer stadium. Free admission for young lads! This was particularly done when the turnstile was administered by my Grandfather.

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