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Origins: scrumpy; scrumping

Barbara 10 Oct 09 - 07:29 PM
Uncle_DaveO 10 Oct 09 - 07:46 PM
Charley Noble 10 Oct 09 - 08:20 PM
MGM·Lion 11 Oct 09 - 12:40 AM
Tug the Cox 11 Oct 09 - 11:41 AM
Mick Tems 11 Oct 09 - 12:57 PM
Tug the Cox 11 Oct 09 - 01:58 PM
Barbara 11 Oct 09 - 02:03 PM
Rumncoke 11 Oct 09 - 06:33 PM
Tug the Cox 11 Oct 09 - 07:45 PM
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Subject: Origins: scrumpy; scrumping
From: Barbara
Date: 10 Oct 09 - 07:29 PM

For all you Dead Dog Scrumpy fans:

I get this weekly newsletter called World Wide Words (Michael Quinion) and today they were working over 'scrumpy'. I thought some of you might find inspiration in some of the information, especially the "squeal-pig cider".
Blessings,
Barbara
2. Weird Words: Scrumping /skrVmpIN/
-------------------------------------------------------------------
We are in apple-harvest time in England, which makes me think of
the one-time rural childhood pursuit of stealing apples from
orchards. That's what "scrumping" means over here (Americans have
another, low-slang, sense of the word that need not concern us).

   He sighed, more in sorrow than in anger; in fact there
   was hardly any anger at all, like vermouth in a really
   dry martini. God probably sighed like that when he looked
   at the tree and saw that someone had been scrumping
   apples.
   [Earth, Air, Fire and Custard, by Tom Holt, 2005.]

It might sound like an immemorial practice, and probably is, but
the word for it is surprisingly modern - the earliest example is
from 1866. The source is uncertain but seems to be from a dialect
term meaning something withered, shrivelled or dried up. It may be
linked to the old adjective "scrimp", scanty or meagre, from which
we get the verb "scrimp", to economise or be thrifty.

Support for this comes from an early meaning of "scrumping", which
referred to taking windfalls or the small apples left on the trees
after harvest. This evolved into illicitly taking any sort of
apples. It can even more broadly mean theft of any kind, though
this is rare:

   When wireless networking first kicked off in the
   corporate world a couple of years ago, I honestly thought
   the concept of loitering outside with a Wifi portable,
   scrumping for free access would be incredibly short-
   lived.
   [Personal Computer World, Aug. 2004.]

If you're familiar with British cider, you will know "scrumpy" for
a cheap and rough, though strongly alcoholic, variety which is a
hazard to the unwary. Its name is a relative of "scrumping" in its
oldest sense because it was often brewed from small or unselected
apples. Modern brands that go by that name are mild compared with
the vinegary farm-made sort of old, which a farmer described to me
in Herefordshire many years ago as "squeal-pig cider", this being
the noise you made when you tried it. "It used to take three people
to swallow a mug of it," another old countryman told me, "One to
drink and the other two to hold him upright."


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Subject: RE: Origins: scrumpy; scrumping
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 10 Oct 09 - 07:46 PM

When I read that in Quinion's email this morning, I was tempted to give him some feedback about that great song, "Dead Dog Scrumpy", but was too lazy at the time.

That's a wonderful email-list/site for those of us who love language.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Origins: scrumpy; scrumping
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Oct 09 - 08:20 PM

Dave and Barbara-

It was Trevor Crozier who composed "Dead Dog Scrumpy," who unfortunately no longer walks this earth. I collected the Appalachian version of his song and recorded it a few years ago, complete with chorus. Here's a link: Click here for lyrics and MP3 Sample!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: scrumpy; scrumping
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Oct 09 - 12:40 AM

Might have known that Mudcatters would also be fellow-Quinionites. He works from Bristol, here in UK, but I was first alerted to him by friends in Santa Monica. WorldWideWords indeed! How many other of us get him on email every Saturday morning, sharp at 0900 our time, I wonder?


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Subject: RE: Origins: scrumpy; scrumping
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 11 Oct 09 - 11:41 AM

Always a Saturdy treat.


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Subject: RE: Origins: scrumpy; scrumping
From: Mick Tems
Date: 11 Oct 09 - 12:57 PM

Many years ago, I went into a pub in Barnstaple where the landlord advertised cider, and he charged me precisely seven old pence a pint! More recently, my friend Martin and I decided to go to The Bridge Inn in Cardiff, sadly now disappeared, which had a reputation for cider. You can imagine the situation: two smart young lads ordering pints of scrumpy. The barman was most apologetic: "I'm sorry, lads, but if you want cider, then you must drink in that bar" - indicating the double-doors. We paid for the cider and went through the swing doors, where we encountered a vision of hell. The Rake's Progress had nothing on it. Old tramps giggled toothlessly. Dirty old men drank the devil's fuel and raged drunkenly at nothing in particular. We gulped our pints hurriedly and beat it.

Nowadays, cider has improved famously. Dave Matthews owns Seidr Dai, a brilliant series of cider brews. Bill Gronow from Llantwit Fardre is the ambassador for Gwynt y Ddraig (Dragon's Breath), who produce a plethora of amazing cider and perry recipes. Dave Jones of Llantrisant and Swan Ciders is the Best Cider blue riband holder. There are a lot more producers who really love their cider and their perry and carry on brewing - and Wales is more better for it. Cheers!


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Subject: RE: Origins: scrumpy; scrumping
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 11 Oct 09 - 01:58 PM

Try the Cider bar in Newton Abbot, still has a cider and wine only licence.


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Subject: RE: Origins: scrumpy; scrumping
From: Barbara
Date: 11 Oct 09 - 02:03 PM

You know, I can't remember who put me on to Michael Quinion, but I've been a regular subscriber for several years now. If you love language, he's a gift. I'm in Oregon, US.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Origins: scrumpy; scrumping
From: Rumncoke
Date: 11 Oct 09 - 06:33 PM

The first brew I ever made was using pears - Conference variety - and my future brother in law had to have a lie down on the wall outside the back door after sampling it.

There was a crab apple tree behind my house in the English midlands, I could easily pick enough in one go for several gallons of wine. That was good too.

It always seems such a shame that most years there are tons of good brewing stuff left to rot on the ground.

I always associated the word scrumping with a rugby (football) scrum - and the creeping along behind whatever cover there was to visit the tree unseen, bent over in the same way.

Anne Croucher


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Subject: RE: Origins: scrumpy; scrumping
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 11 Oct 09 - 07:45 PM

Anne, Quinion would love that as an example of plausible but misguided folk etymology.


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