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05/07/2021: Fascinating Viking Discoveries near the Hall

I was joined for breakfast this morning by HerrDoktorProfessor Kurt Nappink of Utrecht. He had some rather exciting news for us about the Viking connection with the area going back to the days of Balbaag Court. His theory about this being a major trading centre had been supported by the discovery of ancient trading documents found in the area around Potter's Knob, now home to the Lee Quay Boatyard. The sheltered area in the lee of the knob was, it seems, the nearest navigable point for longboats to come up river and moor.

Along with a range of artifacts, the documents were a pointer to this area having been a source of vital supplies for the Vikings. It seems that the biggest and most important rope used in the mooring of a longboat was called a Fark. The runic name is shown in the drawing. Drawn from the Elder Futhark as used by Balbaag's family, it is Fehu (security), Ansuz (estuary), Raido (travel) and Kennaz (improvement). Pronounced 'Fark', HerrDoktorProfessor Nappink believes that it gave the names to local places like Farkham (Rope Village) and Far Kington (simply Farking in Viking days), where the necessary skills and the best quality sisal could be found.

Even more surprising was the esteemed academic's belief, supported by some observations made by local clerics at the time that many phrases and expressions in common use today sprang from the calls and shouts of Viking mooring workers. They have changed in pronunciation and meaning a little in the intervening centuries but can still be recognised. He gave me some examples:

"Fark off" - untie that rope
"Fark me" - throw me a rope
"Fark you" - I am throwing you a rope
"I don't give a flying fark" - I am not throwing this rope
"What the fark?" - where did that rope come from?
"Fark 'em all" - make sure every bollard has a rope
"It's farked" - this one has a rope
"I'm farked" - my rope is tied
"Fark the lot of you" - everybody get a rope
"Fark this, I'm off" - tie this rope for me, I have to go
"We're all farked" - all our bollards are tied up
"You're heading for a farking fall" - look out for that rope
"Get farking knotted" - make sure that rope is secure
"Farking hell" - this mooring is hard work
"Fark you and the horse you rode in on" - don't forget to tie up your horse
"Oi farkface!" - look this way, the rope is over here
"Pull the other farking one" - this rope is tight enough, try that one
"You farking cockwomble!" - you farking cockwomble!

HerrDoktorProfessor Nappink declined a second helping of kedgeree and departed for the dig site. He apologised for not having made any inroads into the origins of St Olav the Ignominious, the discoveries down by Potters Knob had taken more time than expected, but he promised more news soon. I will keep an eye out for him. Come to think of it, it is about time we heard from Prof Handel Morgan about the work on Owain Glyndwr's final resting place. He hasn't shown up for a while…

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