When I first moved to Oxford in 1975 I was amused when my elderly neighbours called me ‘my duck.’ I haven’t heard that recently. I love these regional variations and I’m sorry they are dying out.
My parents lived in Cornwall and a colleague who visited there was so delighted with the Cornish habit of calling everyone ‘my lover’ that he took to calling me that at work – causing some curiosity and /or embarrassment.
My character Jane in ‘Timed Out‘ is sensitive to these regional and generational differences, and to how people describe their relationship to other people. Here’s a little excerpt from the book: “In private we both used terms of endearment: he called me ‘pet’ and ‘sweetheart’ and I called him ‘old thing’ and sometimes ‘my dear’. When strangers – waiters, for example – said ‘your wife’ he would not contradict them then, but he would slip in ‘my friend’ later on. Much as I wished I could describe him in public as ‘my partner’ I followed his lead and said ‘my friend’ as well.”
Back in real life I have noticed something new. As mentioned previously on my blog, I have stopped colouring my hair (Yes, I’m obsessed with it!). And recently I have been reduced to a slow limping wreck by a nasty surprise disorder. My GP – I call her ‘Doctor’ – has suddenly started calling me ‘Barbara’ and people in shops call me ‘dear’ or ‘love’.
Worst of all, though this is not a designation so much as an expression of goodwill, I suppose, is ”Ah, Bless!’ The nurse said it when I said I had to set out early to get to the loo on time.
I am recovering. Will I become Ms Hudson again? And will they stop asking Someone or Something to bless me? Or must I turn my hair brown again?