May 9 2018: swings and roundabouts

Among the many good things about the monthly four-pint job with Bishop Auckland FC director Terry Jackson is that there’s an easy understanding about what’s to go no further.

Terry likes to use the phrase entre nous, but that’s because he’s a posh boy from St Helen’s Auckland and I’m just a raggy-trousered urchin from Shildon.

At any rate, there’s nothing to write about – though there may be travellers’ tales ere long – until a bloke in the pub in Barney orders a pint of Shuggy Boat, Cullercoats beer,  and wonders what on earth a shuggy boat might be.

Back home we have all 20 volumes of the Oxford English Dictionary. Volume XV, in 1,013 A5 pages, takes the English language from ser (obsolete, form of sear) to soosy (obsolete, possibly Persian) and not to be confused with Wake Up Little Soosy, which was the Everly Brothers.

Correctly, it defines shuggy boats as fairground swings – ‘shoog’ is simply to swing, which may explain why the Oxford supposes the term also to be used “jocularly” for the gallows. A hanging participle, perhaps.

Here’s the interesting bit, though. The original phrase, says the Oxford, was shuggy-shoe or shuggy-shew – could this be why North-East folk still don’t go to the fairground, but go faithfully to the shows?

*Others still find football. On the 20th anniversary of their FA Vase final, Tow Law will be delighted with their 4-0 win at Chester-le-Street – 127 in, canny gate – while Pete Sixsmith’s texts come from the Wearside League match between Richmond Town and Redcar.

Redcar, long knocking on the Northern League door, need before tonight four points from their final two matches to clinch the title and have passed the ground inspection – “unless,” adds Pete, “the FA put them in the South-West Peninsula League.”

It can’t be certain that he’s joking. Richmond Town 1 Redcar 1.