Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist
poliphilo

Going Off At A Tangent

Peter finished the bathroom. He'll be back later this year to reconfigure the downstairs toilet.

What's the acceptable word for toilet? Is it "loo" or "lavatory" or what? There was a time when the words you used for a whole range of things carried class signifiers and people in my stratum of society- respectable middle-class- worried in case the archdeacon's wife came to tea and they said something to make her smirk. Nancy Mitford wrote a book on the subject- called U and Non-U- or something of the sort and John Betjeman wrote a poem embodying her insights, which was simply crammed with unacceptable words, the first line of which goes, "Phone for the fish knives, Norman." How we tittered.

Pronunciation was a big thing too. I went through a phase (probably to do with the configuration of my teeth) when I said my "th"s as ""f"s- as in "I fink I saw a fylacine" and my grandfather- a wealthy man whose social origins were humble- used to take me to task for it. How embarrassing for him if people mistook his grandson for a cockney.

Anyway- reminiscing over- the bathroom's done- and my mother is- this very moment- enjoying her first bath in three and a half weeks.
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