I have to tell you I’ve just spotted another one of those pesky compound verbs: you know, the ones people use because saying three words is just too much hassle! Today’s compound verb is ‘self-checkout’. Now although I object to the – er, object itself (they’ve even got one in the tiny little WH Smiths at the station, for God’s sake! Yes, the horribly overpriced boutique where they charge you three quid for a biro!) Where was I? yes, although I object to the thing itself, I don’t much mind the compound word. But now, guess what? Yes, it’s mutated into a verb. ‘Never self-checkout’ reads the exhortation on the Facebook post which has just assaulted my eyes. I am entirely in agreement: I hardly ever use them since they contribute to staff redundancies and, as many people have pointed out, to us doing everyone’s job for them. Think about it: when we travel or go to the cinema we print our own tickets. When we have internet banking we print out our own statements. When we shop we check out our own goods; we check our own baggage at airports and at a cafe yesterday I chose my own food, made my own tea, took it to the checkout and then disposed of my rubbish when I’d finished. It’s true: we’re doing everyone’s job for them because it saves money.
I’m sick of saving money. I want to travel – which brings me to the topic for today. When in Caerdydd, spell it as the Welsh do. When in India, drink your tea hot and sweet – tea and sugar and milk all boiled up together with maybe a few spices added. And learn a few of the local words: it’ll give you a much better flavour of the area. For example: we’ve been to Wales a number of times and since the place-names are always in Welsh as well as English, you can’t help getting to know how certain letters are pronounced. I like learning languages; in Wales it’s obviously not necessary but it gives you much more insight into the people if you know something of the way they speak. I’m fascinated by accents too: when I was in Lancashire I experienced the truth of what they say; that every town has its own accent. Oldham is distinct from Rochdale and both are different from Manchester which is to Bolton as chalk is to cheese (our daughter can vouch for that). And as for Leigh – when I was there many people still spoke the local dialect in which the town was pronounced Leyth and people will called each other thee and tha.
Also when I was there I fell in with a crowd who were to left-wing politics what the People’s Front of Judea were to Jewish liberation. They produced a magazine called Leyth, Bent and Bongs which they hawked all around the local pubs and never even stopped for a beer!!!