Friday, 11 November 2016

Wee, wee, wee all the way home - to Derry

The Derryisms were coming thick and fast on our wee trip home this past week. Beloved Aspie now has his own ‘traditions’ for a visit to the North. The first is the obligatory pint of Guinness, something he never does in England. Only problem is he downed it like it’s lemonade then got the giggles and told me he couldn’t now choose any food off the menu because his head was spinny. 

At Granny’s next afternoon he got the giggles again. He was trying not to be noticed, but I asked him outright what was he laughing about . “Soop,” he spluttered between laughs, “Soop.” It was Granny’s accent that got him going – we were discussing winter recipes for soup. From then on he was on a mission to pick up all the Derry peculiarities. And I became obsessed with the word ‘wee’. 

Obviously, it’s a word I’ve used all my life (mostly meaning small… oh that wee thing; or young…that wee fella; or short…I’ll just be a wee minute).  However, it seems to have developed a new place in Customer Service. Shop assistants all over town were saying things like, “Is it just that wee one for you, now?” as I hand over my one item to purchase. “Just pop your wee card in there for me,” as I get handed the card reader. “And there’s your wee receipt, now.” I had three ‘wees’ in one transaction alone!

On Customer Service, I have to say that Derry is in a league of its own. After our other ‘tradition’ of walking the Walls, we decided to visit the Guildhall which is now open to the public. It holds a special place in my heart as it boasts a beautiful wooden stage in a stunning stained glass-windowed hall, the first stage on which I ever performed, at the age of 7. Well, me and hundreds of thousands of other youngsters. The annual Féis was held in that hall and schoolchildren took their turns delivering songs in Gaelic, poems, playing the fiddle, playing with the brass band and of course, Irish Dancing. It was a spectacle and I loved it.  On this first visit in many years, the staff were so warm and welcoming, asking after my memories of the place, and a lovely man upstairs told us all the stories behind the stained glass windows. A quick jaunt through Derry’s dramatic history.

The hubs and I had a dinner out together on the last night and the bar staff were charming and adorable. I nearly took a photo until I realised it could be mistaken for a line-up of serial killers! They all looked an awful lot like Jamie Dornan in The Fall!

Our final morning brought another tradition: tea and buns. The buns have to be bought at the local bakery, the bigger the selection the better. I’m not talking cupcakes or pastries, here, I’m talking buns. And of course, they all have their own names, too. There was a gravy ring, a German bun, a cookie bun, a Dutch bun and a cream finger to name a few. These translate into a ring doughnut, a Paris bun, a sweet bap with cream in it (can’t think of an English version), a sort of Danish turnover and a long doughnut filled with cream. Oh, the joy of familiar flavours. Funny how things can taste so different from one small country to another.

So, that’s another wee Irish adventure done for now. Beloved Aspie said there was only one problem. It was over too soon and if he had Q’s powers (from Star Trek) he could hop back to England, jiggle with some occurrence there, then hop back and have longer to stay…no, I have no idea either.

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