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Country notebook

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 04, 2012

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In 1959 I passed my 11-plus and was awarded a free place as a boarder at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, Crediton, because East Knowstone wasn't on a daily bus route from the nearest grammar school. My mother and aged maiden aunt decided to prepare me for my "posh" school.

Each Friday I enjoyed Jan Stewer's weekly Devonshire dialect column in the Western Times when it was delivered with our bread. "Best not to read that anymore. They won't be using words like that when you go away to school," said my mother.

From that day dree, vower, ees, milk and licker were never said again, and within weeks my Debm burr was disappearing. It got worse. "Best if you don't slide the blade of your knife across the plate to get up the gravy or grease," said my mother as my father licked his knife, placed it on his plate, smacked his lips and exclaimed, "Butiful. Nort like a gert slice of fried fat bacon and mushrooms!" "Nothing," said my aged maiden aunt. "And no more blowing on your cup of tea if it's too hot. And you certainly mustn't pour it into your saucer and drink it." "Nort wrong wi' a dish o'tea," laughed my father. His words greeted with a frown from my aunt. "Nothing," she replied. I was mystified. Two seconds before she had told me not to do it, and now she was saying there was nort wrong in doing it. Her logic defeated me. At boarding school my Debm burr disappeared completely, and yer biy I never doed nort drekly again Master Coles.

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