Minding my languages and ‘risking’ yoga!

Do you know what a “dinge” is? Yes? Then you’re probably not English. English people have never heard of a “dinge”. It’s not in the dictionary.

Growing up in Coleraine it was the only word I knew for a dent. That’s as in; if you park your car in a tight space it’ll probably get a dinge or two from other car doors being opened. When I used the word in England a friend laughed and said, “That’s not a word”.

It is here. Anita Robinson used it the other day on Radio Foyle. She was talking about the old galvanised metal bins. Remember them? The binman used to carry them with the bottom rim perched on his shoulder. That was before wheelie bins had been invented. “Best of all,” said Anita, “the binmen walked into your back yard, collected it and returned it, albeit with a few more dinges on the side. That’s what you got for your rates in those days.” Anyway, Anita used the word “dinges,” so it’s not just a Coleraine word.

Ages ago, after prolonged nagging from Rosemary about keeping, “pathways in the brain open” I promised to learn a strange language. Reluctant, at first, to take on anything too strange I said, “OK I’ll brush up on the strange language of my youth – Coleraine.”

That was wee buns. Coleraine English is fairly similar to Derry English! Ordering food, for instance, you’ve just got to remember that a caramel square is a “carmel square”, a sandwich is a “samwige” a doughnut is a “gravy ring” and so on. And, when a bus pulls into the terminus, to assist any foreign people who happen to be on board you have to announce in a very loud voice, “That’s her now.” Easypeezy! So now I’ve taken on a tougher challenge.

Tá mé ag foghlaim Gaeilge ag rang oíche. (I’m learning Irish at a night class.) It’s a mountain to climb when some of those pathways in the brain have closed already. Writing this column is sore on them. Anyway, you may have noticed the odd cúpla focal (couple of words) creeping into Hamill’s Beat recently. For instance, the MP for Coleraine and Limavady is now the MP for Cúil Rathain agus Léim an Mhadaidh in recognition of his respect for the original language of his constituency.

As if trying to get to grips with Irish isn’t scary enough, now I’ve something else to worry about. I’ve been doing yoga. Fr. Roland Colhoun recently warned Catholics against it. Oh dear, there are Catholics in the class. Is it OK for Protestants? Sometimes it’s hard to know what an occasion of sin is. Remember when line dancing was dodgy for Free Presbyterians, according to the late Dr Paisley, but apparently harmless enough for more mainstream Protestants?

Fr Colhoun told the ‘Journal’, “Yoga is certainly a risk. There’s the spiritual health risk. When you take up those practices from other cultures, which are outside our Christian domain, you don’t know what you are opening yourself up to.”

There I was innocently doing it just to help with a pensioner’s stiffness. The class does well-planned but gentle stretching co-ordinated with breathing. It seems pretty effective. Yes, yoga may have originated from Hinduism but, I have to say it seems plain daft to suggest its gentle stretching and relaxation poses any spiritual risk whatsoever for Christians.