We were talking to each other in the hospital waiting room about the run around the weather has given us with trying to get laundry out to to dry.
She agreed and said, "We have a mrrrmmn..."
Her son agreed and said, "Yes we have a "mrrrmmn..."
They did not have local accents.
I queried, "You have a...?"
"Yes" they both replied in unison.
I tried again; "I'm sorry what was it you said you had?"
They said, "A mrrrmmn."
I wondered if there was something wrong with my hearing. Trying again, I asked more specifically, "What was that last word, please."
She said, "M a i d e n, we've got a washing maiden."
Naturally, I wondered what the maiden did, and asked.
"Oh no....it's not a person, it's an airer, an airer on which to air the washing"
This was new use of vocabulary to my ears. My curiosity was stoked up; "Where are you from?"
They were from Lancashire, U.K. and there, where they were from, an airer, or a clothes horse, was a 'washing maiden'.
Looking directly at her, and hoping I smiled benignly, I observed "That's rather sexist."
Looking directly back at me and leaning forward in her wheelchair, with fire in her eyes, the woman said, "Yes it is, isn't it."
I reckon from now on, there'll be no more 'washing maidens' in that house. Notwithstanding, It was such an interesting socially based description, certainly one of its time, and probably a description from a specific village or small town within a large Northern county.
2 hours ago