Polite Language

Many years ago Les took my father, brother and me to a Manx farm to introduce us to the farmer and ask if we could shoot wild ducks on his dub (the Manx word for a pond).

The farmer was in the yard (or “street” as the Manx farmers call it). He welcomed us using some very colourful language. His three main words were bloody, fuck and bugger, which peppered his conversation in every conceivable permutation.

Lamb prices were on the bloody floor and so this year he was fucked. There were ducks on his dub and it was fine for us to shoot the fuckers. But we should be careful with the gate, which was buggered. And if we saw any of the bloody polecats that were taking his hens we should shoot the fucking buggers, no question.

My brother and I, in our teens, were delighted, and not just about the shooting. Our old man was a disciplinarian. We had never heard anyone use these words in front of him. He looked increasingly uncomfortable as the swear words piled up.

As we drove away from the farm he said “the language was a bit ripe, wasn’t it, Les?”

“On no” replied Les, “he doesn’t normally speak like that. That’s his polite language. He keeps that for visitors.”

How we longed to hear how he normally spoke!

Chris Thorpe

Chris Thorpe is a respected independent lawyer in the upstream oil and gas industry, and an established lecturer and author. Chris has a LLB in law from Magdalene College, Cambridge and trained as a barrister in London. He worked for eight years' as an in-house lawyer for BP and Marathon. Since 1991, Chris has run his own upstream legal practice, CPTL, which has acted for many upstream clients. He has extensive experience of international upstream transactions, principally in the North Sea, the FSU, Africa and the Middle East. Chris has spoken at many UK and International Conferences and Seminars, both public and in-house. His most popular current lecture is Fundamental of Upstream Petroleum Agreements, a two-day course with accompanying book.