Archive for September, 2014

Pontypool expressions, humorous and otherwise

September 22, 2014

There were all sorts of expressions we used when I was a young boy in Pontypool. Some were the remainders of words from the Welsh language; others sound rather humorous now but we used them frequently years ago. Of course they might not have been used exclusively in Pontypool but in a wider area. I publish a few I remember below. Do any visitors remember such expressions?

Tamping    When we bounced balls up and down on the ground this was often referred to as “tamping the ball”. There was another expression tamping mad which meant that someone was extremely annoyed.

Whipper-in    This was a term applied to the man known as “the attendance officer”. If someone was thought to be away from school without any reason, the head teacher would ask the whipper-in to call at the house and if the pupil seemed to be in good health he or she would be grabbed by the whipper-in and marched to school.

Tapped    This was used when we had shoes repaired. When pupils were absent when the teacher called the resister a fellow pupil might explain “He’s getting his shoes tapped”. Another use of the expression was “He or she’s a bit tapped” meaning they were a bit crazy.

Ych-a-fi    This was an expression of utter disgust when something, or someone, was in a particularly filthy condition.

Mingy    This meant “mean”; any of our friends who bought a packet of sweets and didn’t share them was called “mingy”.

Taw    A good quality glass marble was referred to as a “taw”. We often played “following taws” down the gutter trying to hit an opponent’s marble. The one who did this kept the marble.

Right-o    This was an expression of agreement. There was a certain woman who lived in Bridge Street who was known as “Mrs Right-o”. The story went that, when she was getting married and the clergyman asked her “Do you take this man . . . etc.?” instead of saying “I do.” she replied “Right-o”.

A rather peculiar expression which I often used to hear used in Pontypool market when enquiring the price of an item was something like: “What do the cabbages run to today?”

One expression I have tried many years to find the source of and have so far failed is a word which was used by my mother. I can’t remember anyone else using it. Can any visitor enlighten me? The word was fakie. I’m not sure of the spelling but that is what it sounded like. If she knew of an implement which did a special job but couldn’t recall the name of it, she would say “Where’s that fakie for getting nails out of wood?” etc. Can anyone help with this one?

Of course, many of these expression might still be used in Pontypool. Visitors who still live there will know.