Fair balls to the church in New Zealand who came up with this poster.
In other, entirely unrelated news, I seem to have suddenly adopted that habit people have of saying "oh, stop!" in order to express their complete agreement with a statement someone else is making.
"Jesus, it's so fucking cold outside I think my nipples might snap off."
"Did you see on the news about those people down in Kerry queueing up to shake hands with that rapist fella from Listowel? I think it's terrible, so I do..."
The missus caught me doing it twice today and roundly, rightly ripped the piss. But her camp, hand-flapping impression of me the first time I did it wasn't quite on the mark, as I hadn't really been doing it in all that effete a manner. No, we realised the second time around that I can only have picked up this most unwanted of mannerisms from all the auld ones I've been working with in the charity shop. Auld ones love a bit of "oh, stop!" and use it to register their feelings on subjects ranging from diplomatic relations between Britain and Libya to the Christmas number one ("Full of effin' and blindin' it is, Connie." "Oh, stop!"). Popular variants include "Ah, would ya stop!" and "Stop the lights!"
No harm in any of this at all, only that it once again exposes how impressionable my vocal chords are, what a blank canvas my early years of moving around have left me with. After 27 years of referring to my mother as 'mum' I have now, after little more than one year, picked up the fiancée's preference for 'mam' - the kind of lingual slip that could probably see me excommunicated from the Church of Ireland (if they did excommunication). And a full twenty years since I left Cork, I still find that a few days down there leave me spouting stuff like "Ah, 'tis desperate altogedder". Australian friends have misled me into calling flip-flops 'thongs'. I could go on, but you're smart, you get it.
Next month, all being well, I'll be starting some voluntary work in this place. It was set up by the inestimable Roddy Doyle, a man who should be a hero to every right-thinking Irish person. I believe he can be seen about the place, so I'm looking forward to his influence upon my continuing adventures in idiom.
Happy Christmas, yiz fucks.