I have a cousin who used to be an anaesthetist, and when people asked him what work he did, he would reply that he was a gas man. We had a gas man come to fix a problem with our central heating yesterday – a man from the gas company, not an anaesthetist…
he chatted to me while he fixed the problem, I was working just by the airing cupboard where he was sorting out why our radiators kept coming on when the central heating was switched off. He was very interested in history, particularly local history, and also genealogy and had traced his family back a very long way.
His family was all from the west country, and he told me that some f them had been involved in the Monmouth Rebellion, the Protestant uprising against the Catholic King James II. His ancestor was one of many who had been captured, tried and thankfully not hanged, but sent to St Kitts and Nevis as a slave… yes there were many people sent as slaves to the west Indies and other colonies, many people, particularly from the west country.
Our gas man had a most wonderful local accent – well, dialect really. I greeted him as he came up the stairs, and he replied “Hello my dear, how bist?” My husband then called up asking whether, he wanted a cup of tea and he called back “Gas man an I , we got to drink to drink tea, an we? One sugar please cocker!”
I noted down a couple of things he said, his speech was so rich and interesting; “He’s gone like a long dog,” which i think meant he was as excited as a puppy… but i may not have understood it quite correctly, and then when he was talking about being a lad, the same age as my son he said “Same age as I my old man put e to work!” Then when we were talking about the Channel Tunnel, he told me what his ‘old man’ had said, sounding almost Biblical, “As soon as they dig e, (the tunnel) disease and pestilence will come in.”
I wish he had stayed longer, he was such an interesting person to chat to!