Wednesday, August 26, 2009

not a ganch, really

I'm fond of a blog called ganching. From what I can tell, the author is an Irishwoman, probably from the North, not South, now residing in London.* Her posts are personal, charming, and full of good humor. By her own account the blog is "funny, sharp and not to be taken too seriously." She's also an excellent photographer. She likes travel. She has many friends, some of whom she mentions (by codes names) and many of whom link to and comment upon her blog posts. The blog tells us not just what books she's reading and what films she's seen, but also "Things I have bought in John Lewis" (the UK department store chain).

This short post gives an idea of her writing:

We stopped for tea in Magherafelt in a pub that smelt of the night before. You found it charming that they brought an unasked for plate of biscuits. I called my mother to say we were on our way. 'Will I make something for you? A tart - that’s what I’ll make - I have all the stuff in for a tart.' A first-time visitor you drank it all in – the 'it is, so it is' responses, the metal-meshed barracks and the raggedy red, white and blue. We stayed longer than we planned and got lost coming out of town. Me, behind the wheel, shoulders hunched, the wipers on, and rain pelting down from the darkening sky. When we finally arrived my mother was all aflutter, reaching up to kiss me, embarrassed in front of a stranger. My father, in the front room in his chair, seemed more composed but as I bent down towards him, muttered, 'Youse are very late - they must have moved Magherafelt since I was last there.'**
Over the past few months she's been taking — and writing up — long, rural walks. (See for example this post and this one.) The hikes have been a prelude to a trip she's about to make to Portugal and Spain for the Santiago de Compestela pilgrimage. She tells us this in a post she calls Twelve Things I Dislike (And A Couple More For Luck) in which she ennumerates the reasons why she, of all people, is unlikely to make this trip.

Yesterday's post, Language Lessons, describes some unusual and funny language lessons by a friend. Here's an excerpt:
Things he has attempted to teach me include:
Double olive oil on that please
Do you have any dishes on the menu that include offal?
I put out on the first date
When I attempt to speak any Spanish at all TB [the friend] does a lot of harrumphing and gives the impression that the only thing missing from our Spanish lessons is the opportunity for him to apply a sally rod across my knuckles when I make mistakes. His teaching technique is either to mock my pronunciation or shout or both.

"You have to pronounce ALL THE LETTERS! Now say hello"


"No - 'ola. You pronounce all the letters apart from h."

So far I can ask where the path is (although will not be able to understand anything said in reply to this) and say hello, goodbye and thank you. This does not bode well.

What does this word Ganching mean?

The blog's author gives these definitions in the blog's banner:
1. To talk in a halting, agitated way 2. talk stupidly 3. of a dog snapping of the teeth 4. of a horse biting
The OED says it means execution by impalement, gashing by boar tusk, and like horrors.

In a blog post the author says 'the proper definition of ganching btw is not the one at the top of this page; it is in fact "to talk shite."'

In Irish Slang a ganch is a person who talks to much. As a verb it means to slabber e.g. "I wouldn't listen to yer man...he's a pure ganch so he is"

The BBC Northern Ireland glossary says a ganch is an oaf or ill-mannered person, someone who's clumsy and awkward: "stop fallin about the place ye ganch ye"

A site called Detectives Beyond Borders: A Forum for International Crime Fiction has this exchange:
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said... "About time, ya big ganch."

Blogger adrian mckinty said... "Is Brennan a ganch? More of a pochle if you ask me.

Blogger Peter Rozovsky said... "What can I tell you? My grip on Northern Irish slang is shaky. A ganch is a big, bumbling fellow, isn't it? What does one call a somewhat smaller version of a ganch?"

He continues... "Ganch appears to have several unrelated meanings, raning from a cat's belly to a verb meaning to talk incessantly. Some of these meanings appear to have found their way to Australia, according to some Web site I found. I don't know if Irish immigrants brought the word there or if a separate meaning evolved independently. Whatever the case, I like the word -- which I learned from one of the Michael Forsythe books, by the way."


*To be specific, she lives in the smallest flat in South London and commutes to work in East London.

**Magherafelt is a town in Northern Ireland.

{Pub in Magherafelt; source:}

{On 'the raggedy red, white and blue' see here}

1 comment:

fifi said...

Oh I love Ganching's blog and now I wish i had written a post about her myself. She's excellent.