Monday, 14 November 2011

Social Intercourse

'Do you like wanking?' my mother asks the bishop. I am startled. I have much to learn about ecclesiastical etiquette, but this does not seem a proper way to address a visiting prelate.

The bishop, however, is unperturbed. He tells my mother that he likes wanking very much and they embrace jovially by the chapel door.

I am relieved when I discover that he was reared in war-time Bristol. 'Wank', my mother has often explained to me, was a blameless word for a walk in the West Country dialect of her childhood. She only learned that this was a localised definition on her first day as a London career girl, when she told her new colleagues of the lengthy one that she'd enjoyed before work that morning.

My mother and the bishop are thrilled to share a lost verbal heritage and wank side by side all the way across the churchyard. And I follow at a safe distance and reflect on the unpredictable social adhesives that can bind strangers.

16 comments:

  1. Brilliant !!!!! I have wanked a number of times.

    ReplyDelete
  2. love it!!!

    Wonder if we have time for a wank after lunch on Wednesday?????

    ReplyDelete
  3. A wonderful picture painted with words - love it. And the commenting works fine now, thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Have to admit, I was afraid to read this post but was so glad I did! I wonder what other words are out there that have a different meaning in different dialects. If anyone knows of any, I'd love to hear.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm disappointed. I was born and brought up in Bristol - yet I've managed to get through the last 28 years without hearing this phrase. I may go back to my home city this weekend and try it out on a few people. If I get a slap in the face I'll know who to blame...

    ReplyDelete
  6. You can't beat a good wank on a Sunday morning :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I come from Bristol and I've NEVER heard that expression used that way before!! Are you sure your mother wasn't having you on...? ;)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Apparently, it faded out of use in the 50s and 60s (unsurprisingly). My grandmother still used it and the bishop was definitely familiar with it. You should have seen his face light up!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Your mother better be careful not to abash the bishop...

    Thank you, thank you, I'm here all week...

    ReplyDelete
  10. Tell them what your grandmother's house was called. Go on!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh this is so funny! My husband love wanking.

    CJ xx

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hilarious. My mother told all her friends that my sister was a slut. Apparently it means messy...

    ReplyDelete
  13. Isn't there an area in Germany too where the people who live near the Wankdorf are called Wankers? But I believe this is prounounced with a V. So it only looks funny when written down.
    I once met a man called Erich Wanker, he's a scientist. His PA, and this is the funny bit, was called Ms Pisch.
    I've learned now that when meeting West Country folk of a certain age I can suggest we all go for a wank. Watch their smiling faces turn to frowns as I get the old chap out... :-)

    ReplyDelete
  14. My darling daughter is wondering why I am giggling helplessly with laughter. I'll explain in about 14 years...

    ReplyDelete
  15. A wank a day keeps the doctor away...

    ReplyDelete
  16. Do you promise you didn't make this up?

    ReplyDelete