The Peter Grant Glossary

The Peter Grant Glossary

British Floor Conventions 
Are very simple – what the Americans call the First Floor is in fact the Ground Floor. The floor above that is the First Floor (which is the Second Floor in American). Above that floors are  numbered sequentially.

Dogging

Some people like to have sex in the open air, some people like to watch other people having sex in the open air, fortunately some people like to have people watch them while they have sex in the open air. The term used to describe these activities in the UK is ‘dogging’ as in “I was out dogging last night.”  There are websites and other forms of social networking to allow people to arrange hook ups but for many this lacks the exciting randomness of just turning up at a dogging location and seeing what happens.

Ford Asbo

Peter’s trusty 2006 Ford Focus ST was nicknamed by Jeremy Clarkson as the Ford Asbo during an episode of Top Gear.

Fry Up

Otherwise known as the traditional English Breakfast and the opposite of a Continental Breakfast(1). It usually involves a combination of three or more of the following – eggs (fried, scrambled or omelette), bacon, sausage, baked beans, black pudding(2), liver, bubble and squeak(3), onions, mushrooms, chips(4), toast or fried slice(5).

The full expression of this culinary cornucopia can usually be found in two locations, mid-level hotels or a traditional greasy spoon cafe. A proper English person upon moving into a new area will always seek to locate a suitable greasy spoon for those mornings when you just got to eat right no matter what your partner, dietitian or cardiologist says.

(1) Hotels would love to switch to offering just a continental breakfast because it’s much easier to arrange a couple of croissants, some fruit and a selection of jams than the wonderful artery clogging panoply of the traditional breakfast,

(2) A blood sausage made from oatmeal and pork blood.

(3) Are you sure you want to know? Okay it’s basically a dish designed to recycle leftover vegetables from a big roast beef dinner. So you get yesterday’s potatoes, brussel sprouts, cabbages, peas and anything else you might have lying around – and then you fry them until they’re a nice crispy brown on both sides. It was big during the dark days of rationing but now it’s mostly made from fresh ingredients.

(4) French Fries.

(5) A Fried Slice of bread. Oh god now I’m hungry.

Herefordshire

Is an English County in the West Midlands. It is part of the borderland that once sheltered the rest of the English from the rapacious and warlike Welsh – or possibly it was the other way round? No matter it as rural a County as it’s possible to get in England without running into a Northerner or a distressed celt.

Some statistics…
Population: 183,000 and change…
Population Density: 84 people per km2 (3rd lowest in England)
Ethnicity: 97.1% White, 1.2% Asian, 0.8% Mixed, 0.4% Black, 0.3% Other and 0.2%Fae(1)

Herefordshire is famous for potholes, top quality beef, cider, being the inspiration to Edward Elgar(2) and, in a spurious attempt to link the place back to Rivers of London/Midnight Riot, the birthplace of actor David Garrick.

(1) Or possibly Aliens…
(2) Amongst other things he wrote Pomp and Circumstances which is known the UK as Land of Hope And Glory and thus causes British people to burst out laughing at American High School graduations(3)
(3) Some British people anyway.

Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants
An organisation founded in 1967 to provide practical help for immigrants to the UK and to campaign for reform of the UK’s immigration  policy.

‘Nick’
General slang for Police Stations, sometimes on it’s own ‘Let’s get back to the Nick’ or used to identify a specific station – ‘Let’s get back to Leominster Nick.’

Raymond Erith
Iconoclassicist
For better or for worse the dominant mode of architecture in the period following World War Two was ‘modernism’, buildings were square, roofs were flat and the comfort of the occupant a low priority compared to the expression of form and volume. If you want to know why this was the case then you can’t do worse then read Tom Wolfe’s From Bauhaus to Our House although some have pointed out that modernism has since been superseded by post-modernism.
Herefordshire Folly 1961
Raymond Charles Erith RA FRIBA (that’s Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects to you peasant) was having none of that.
While his contemporaries excited themselves with the patterns wooden forms made in concrete and dreamed of vast depersonalised plazas, walkways and swathes of plate glass Erith drew on the classical tradition to build homes and public buildings that evoked the past without slavishly copying it.
There is about his work a joie de vivre so noticeably lacking from the work of his peers. I dare you to look upon his Herefordshire Folly, with it’s copper awnings and it’s rooftop viewing platform, without at least a hint of a grin.
That said he shared many of the foibles of his more ‘modern’ contemporaries, a strange disregard for kitchens for one and a love for spiral staircases that can only be kindled in the heart of someone who’s never had to manhandle a wardrobe up one of the bloody things.
Which is like modernism but with sloping walls and curvey bits added.

The Glorious Twelfth

The 12th of August when grouse come into season and thousands of people tramp around the countryside banging away with shotguns. Unlike foxhunting you’re supposed to eat what you kill and it’s supposed to be enormous fun – although not, presumably, for the grouse.

Vernacular
vəˈnakjʊlə/

noun: the vernacular

1. the language or dialect spoken by the ordinary people of a country or region. “he wrote in the vernacular to reach a larger audience”
synonyms: everyday language, spoken language, colloquial speech, native speech, conversational language, common parlance, non-standard language, jargon, -speak, cant, slang, idiom, argot, patois, dialect; regional language, local tongue, regionalism, localism, provincialism;
informallingo, local lingo, patter, geekspeak; rareidiolect
“he wrote in the vernacular and adopted a non-academic style accessible to the public”

2. architecture concerned with domestic and functional rather than public or monumental buildings.
“buildings in which Gothic merged into farmhouse vernacular”

3. what Ben Aaronovitch writes the Rivers of London books in…