Blogoffee. This is Nicola Morgan's word for a 'virtual' coffee morning in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support on Friday 25th September. It is a worthy cause so I will dust the cat hair off my virtual scratching post and hope that someone will call in here for the virtual salmon sandwiches before the cake and coffee. Even if you wish to bypass me on that day, please call in and see her.
But "blogoffee" you ask? Ah, a combination of blog and coffee? Yes.
It reminded me of a word we used as children. I have no idea where it came from. I think my brother and I coined it between us. "Exterbadant". I know we used it quite a lot. We thought it was a very useful word. It had a variety of meanings, depending on the context. If it was in relation to something we really liked then it was an adjective that meant something like 'very good'. If we did not like something then we might ask one another, "Can we exterbadant that?" It might mean remove or alter or avoid something. Avoidance was a large part of our lives in relation to activities our mother expected of us - especially acitivities that involved being clean, tidy and well behaved in front of adults we disliked.
Our mother saw the word as completely meaningless. It irritated her to the point of real anger. Our love of words came from our father not our mother. Our mother used words in a practical way. They were there to communicate everday needs and commands. In her world you did not need made-up anything.
My brother and I used other made-up words and codes and signs. They were an essential part of our world, our private world. Even as we entered our teens we would leave messages for one another that our mother could not understand. "What does this mean?" she would demand when she found a scrap of paper in our bedrooms. We would hastily lie or, more often, refuse to tell her. "I don't like you having secrets," she would say. We knew that. Our rooms were searched regularly. It is likely that, with a little imagination, our mother could have worked out the meaning of the messages. It is probably just as well she never did.
I let my sibling know via e-mail of something that had happened. I had a one word reply. I wonder what a hacker would make of that word? Exterbadant!