Regular readers of this blog will be aware that my train of thought
tends to wander off down some of the less trodden paths of life
bordering, at times, upon the realms of pure fantasy. Well today,
you'll be pleased to hear, is no exception. I'm into toes but not in
an unsavory, fetishey sort of a way because all I'm concerned with
is their names.
Over the years, and much to the delight of my youngest grand-daughter
with whom I once shared this information, I've managed to name some
but not all of my toes. The smallest on each foot rejoice, purely because
of their shape, in the name of tortoise toes. The two either side of the big
toes are not only Celtic because they are longer than any other but also
known as diver toes because of their uncanny resemblance to diver's
helmets. And no Camilla, there's nothing remotely rude in that.
The big toes are the King and Queen just because I say so and the third
and fourth on my right foot are horse toes because they were squashed
flat by a prancey equine way back in my youth. The remainder are
anonymous as they lack the shape, character or misfortune to justify
a name of their own.
I was a peace with the status quo until today. Whilst researching the
origins of "hoddyman dod" (a word found in the old Norfolk dialect)
I came across a charming little "telling" rhyme used by generations of
East Anglian mothers to give identity and titles to their ickle cherub's
tiny pink toe-toes on their tiny pink tootsie wootsies.
I should just mention, for what it is worth and in case you were wondering,
that a "dodman" or "hoddyman dod" is the vernacular word for the
common, or garden, snail. To continue, here comes the Norfolk toe jingle:
Lody Wassel and
Great Big Hoddyman Dod!
However I then discovered that in Orkney folklore they have a finger verse
which goes: Toomikin, Loomikin, Langman, Lickpot and Peedieman.
Whilst in Norway their fingers are called: Tommeltott, Slinkepott, Langeman,
Gullebran and lille Petter Spilleman.
Norwegian toes are also named: Lilletaa (little), Tatilla, Tillaros,
Apalfru (Lady of the Apples) and Store stygge skrubbehester i skogen
(big, ugly horsey thing in the forest). Whilst on Orkney their weird, horsey
thing is the fourth toe and "old madam" is the big one. What do you call yours?
And finally, today's Norfolk dialect word of the week just has to be "mirackled"
as in "I think I've mirackled messel." (I think I have done myself a mischief by
falling into a dyke due to one too many "cups of tea".) We make a powerful brew
here in Acle where the marshes kiss the sky, and we've got an awful lot of dykes
too so "Mind how yer go now bor!"