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Norfolk Tales

Chapter F : Norfolk Broads

(Paras. 1 to 3)

  3. Same Difference

1 : Under Sail

The modern vessels on the Broads, for
recreational and sporting uses, have not directly
contibuted to, or been much influenced by,
the Norfolk dialect.

There were always trading  wherries,  but these
navigated the rivers; not the Broads as such.
The white quadrants painted on their bows
were called  noosin(g)s  [nose].

They were, when the wind was unfavourable,
pushed along by  quan(t)   poles - a longer and
heavier version of those used by punts.
To  quan(t)  is to do the requisite pushing;
walking along the narrow deck, or  plankway.

Punts  [no sails!], the older form of broads travel,
had poles, being also known as  spri(t)s.

Beware of the marshy borders of rivers and
broads, with beds of reeds and rushes which
are called  ronds;  and the floating masses of
water-weeds etc. which are  hover.
Special  rond-anchors  are employed.
Marsh  is a word rendered in these parts
as  mash  or  mesh.

Rushes are called  seggs (cf. sedge );
and bullrushes are  bolders.

Occasionally there might be a dam in place -
in the dialect a  stank  or  stanch (cf. staunch ).

When sailing, there can be more need to
scan the heavens : for  "Noah's Arms"
(cumulus clouds) or - more worryingly -
beeskeps  or  "Norwegian Bishops"  (thunder-clouds).
These may give rise to miniature whirlwinds
which are called  rogers.

A haze around the moon is often a sign of bad
weather on the way. Users of metal tools etc.
will not be surprised that this haze is called
burr  in Norfolk.


2 : Under Water

Fishing has, earlier, been more of
a livelihood than a sport.
Babbin(g)  is the name for eel-fishing,
using worms attached to lengths of wool.
Eels can also be caught using a basket-trap,
known as a  hive;  or with nets, known as
pods  or  bosoms.

The squirming of eels is said to be
skrigglin'  (to  skriggle ).
So, if all the above methods fail,
use a  pick  or  pritch  (prick)
i.e. an eel-gaff with three flat prongs (a trident!)

A ligger  is an item of fishing-tackle, which
may be used for eels, or for catching pike;
which floats (ligs?) on the water.
Lin(t)s  are fishing-nets, but whether for
inland use or sea-fishing is problematical.

The Broads don't often freeze-over,
although this is very much more likely than
either the rivers or the sea doing so.
When they are hard-frozen  (frawn)
they are said to be  laid.

Fenland skaters know of  pa(tt)ens
(skates with upturned blades at the front).
A sledge is a slade.

The fair number of expressions for "thawing"
seems to demonstrate a keen interest in any
freeze-up being short-lived.
As we may know, to thaw is to thow,
in these parts. The past tense is  thew.

Oovergive  (similarly  forgive ) are
other words for relenting ice.

3 : Same Difference

Terms used on dry land find relevance
in the Broads environment.

Causeways are even more useful in wetlands,
and still called  carnsers.

The  carrs   (clumps of trees) may differ in their
contents (mainly alder, willow and sallow).

Inland quays have the same name  (staithes)  as those
on the coast, previously for the use of the wherries.

Dykes are still  deeks  or  holls,  as in inland situations;
and require all the usual attention, and tools,
to keep them  cleaned-out.

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