Written in Black and Wight: I - Answers

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Bluebottle's 200th Entry for The Post

And now for the answers.


Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight Quick-Fire Round

Isle of Wight CalvesDull-witted man
Isle of Wight DogLaziness
Isle of Wight HelleborineOrchid (Epipactis vectensis1)
Isle of Wight ParsonCormorant
Isle of Wight RockCheese
Isle of Wight VineBryony (Bryonia dioica)
Isle of Wight WaveMoth (Idaea humiliata2)

Of course, Isle of Wight Rock now normally describes a hard stick-like confectionery sold at seaside towns.

Main Round

Isle of Wight

Can You identify which of the three meanings is the correct one for the words below?


  • Someone who is saucy, wanton and/or flippant.
  • Someone who always looks on the bright side of life.
  • Statue of the Island's local deity, the Great Randini.

Long writes,

That maade is jest about idle: she wants taken down a peg or two.

Incidentally, when I was a boy the Great Randini was the Island's premiere magician and children's entertainer, who you would often see at birthday and Christmas parties and special occasions held on the Island. And it seemed that during the summer holidays he would be everywhere; so if one day you went to the beach, he'd be there, the next day if you went to Osborne House, he'd be there again and wherever you'd be the next day is where he would be too – as if by magic. I think he's retired now but I'm delighted that his son David Randini is continuing the family business - my kids must have seen his magic and Punch and Judy show at least ten times.


  • Small, local tree-climbing lizard.
  • An egg
  • Small domed house made out of bales of straw.

Yes, an igg is an egg. You'd think that most dictionary definitions would be quite short, but Long gives a couple of stories involving eggs. The moral of which seem to be to expect extreme violence if you steal eggs from anyone on the Isle of Wight.

Hollo mayet! thee looks as if thee'st ben droo hedge back-ards. What's up wi'thee?

Oh! My back's ver' near broke. I come across a hin's nest under a settle last night, you, wi' zix iggs in 'en. I zucked vive, and was jest agwyne to git rid o't'other, when wold Billygoat come round the corner o'the bam and ketched me, and, wuss luck, there was a spudgel up agen the barn's door, zo the wold man vlow in and claaed hold by the spudgel, and smeared in athurt my back wi'booath hands, and knocked me down as flat as a pancake; I thought my back was broke vor a minute or two. 'There Tom,' a zed to me, 'that'll spwile thy appetite for any moore o'my iggs,' and zo it ded; I dedn't zwalley the last on 'em, but slipped off as sharp as I could.3

Have ye got ar a dog to gee away, varmer? I had to putt a charge o'shot into my wold dog last week; he was got zo skeeathy, there was noo keepen nothen out o'the jaas on 'en. I had a duck zetten in the keert house, and a yet up all the iggs, and zwalleyed the wold duck aaterwards; vor all I could vind on her was a bit of a wing and a vew veathers layen about.4

And as if that wasn't enough egg discussion, Percy Stone in his Legends and Lays of the Isle of Wight wrote a poem entitled 'The Old Grey Hen', and I'll quote verses three and five (of six).

Her's niver broody long, but zets

As regler ez the zun :

I've know'd her cover vourteen iggs

An' hetch 'em —ivery wun.

Her regler breshes i' the dew

To help t'peepen' chicks.

An' iggs her don't vorget to turn—

Her's oop to all t' tricks.

When dry you doos to veel her iggs,

Her zims to unnerstand,

An' zits ez gentle ez a duv

An' niver pecks yer hand.

But clucks zo zaft, ez ef to zaay,

'A knows what you'm abowt.

Zure doan't be vussen' hround they iggs,

I'll hetch the bwoylen owt,'


  • Onions.
  • Indians – the wild, untamed natives of the West Wight.
  • A dedicated follower of fashion and/or trend setter.

After all that fuss about eggs, Long barely wrote not a sausage about onions. Only,

I wants a inyun or zummet, to tole down this bren cheese.


  • Entrails.
  • Something indecent.
  • To enclose.

Yes, 'inn' meant to enclose. Both Long and Lavers quote Sir John Oglander, Deputy-Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight between 1596-1648, who wrote extensive manuscripts in the 1630s:

The first part of Bradinge Haven wase inned by Sir William Russell, owner of Overland, at ye5 tyme when Yarbridge wase made.6


  • Someone who never leaves the pub.
  • Someone who is insensitive.
  • Howsoever.


  • Colourful.
  • Iron.
  • Barbed wire.

Long uses the phrase,

Pick up that bit o' ire under hedge there, mayet.

But provides no explanation as to why the iron was under the hedge. Possibly to stop an Elvish invasion? The best way to do that, of course, is to bend iron into a horseshoe shape, which might explain his other example,

I ben tryen to ply (bend) this bit o'ire, but I can't do't it.


  • A sand fairy.
  • Having an itch or the act of scratching.
  • Yet

Yes, 'Itt' was used for 'yet'. Long provides the examples:

  • Es it one o'clock itt, you?
  • He eddn't vive year wold, nor itt near.7
Map of the Isle of Wight in words.

So what have we learned this week? That iron should always be shaped like horseshoes or kept under hedges, a hen is a man's best friend and you should always know where your eggs are.

Bluebottle's 200th Entry for The PostA reader of the h2g2 Post
The Bluebottle Archive


21.08.17 Front Page

Back Issue Page

1Although there is an ongoing debate about whether it is a variant of Epipactis phyllanthes.2Believed extinct since the 1950s.3Hello mate! You look like you've been dragged through a hedge backwards. What's up with you? Oh! My back's very near broke. I came across a hen's nest under the foundations of a raised hay rick last night with six eggs in. I sucked five and was just going to eat the other when the old farmer came round the corner of the barn and caught me, and, wuss luck, there was a long-handled bucket up against the barn's door, so the old man flew in and grabbed hold of the bucket, and whacked it across my back with both hands, and knocked me down as flat as a pancake; I thought my back was broke for a minute or two. 'There Tom,' he said to me, 'that'll spoil your appetite for any more of my eggs,' and so it did; I didn't swallow the last of them, but slipped off as sharp as I could.4Have you got a dog to give away, farmer? I shot my old dog last week; he was so sneaky, there was no keeping anything out of his jaws. I had a duck sitting in the cart house, and he ate up all the eggs and swallowed the old duck afterwards; for all I could find of her was a bit of a wing and a few feathers lying about.5The letter 'Y' in 'ye' was used to represent the letter þ thorn, pronounced 'th'.6The first part of Brading Haven was enclosed by Sir William Russell, owner of Yaverland, at the time when the bridge over the (east) River Yar at Yarbridge was made.7He isn't five years old, nor yet near.

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