The day is lingering longer as January progresses. The darkling sky still has streaks of brightness at 4.30pm. It is growing lighter "by a cockerel's stride every day", according to my granddad. That phrase came from his granddad and he has passed it on to me.
I can picture a cockerel striding across the farmyard but I am flummoxed as to the origins of linty. One of my sister's horses had been under the weather and I asked my mum how he was doing. "Oh," she said, "he's going like a linty." "Like a what?" I asked. "Like a linty," she said. "It was one of your nanna's phrases. Have you never heard that before?" I must confesses I haven't but equally, my mum doesn't know what a linty is - other than anything that goes like one is doing very well for itself.
My nanna was born and bred Edinburgh. In addition to being an amazing woman, she had a marvellous turn of phrase. "Where do you think you are, on your granny's yacht?" was a favourite, and some poor souls were often "Up the creek without a paddle". Latterly, she would point at people (usually out of rolled down car windows on baking hot summer days) and exclaim: "The things you see when you havenae got a gun!"
As a child, I wanted to know what she meant when she described my uncle's soon to be ex-wife as a "fornicating bitch". This was one of my many questions that would elicit the reply from whichever adult was in earshot: "I'll tell you when you're 16." I wish I'd written all of those queries down in a book. But it didn't matter: miraculously, I think I knew what most of them meant once I'd reached the age of consent. I believe that's what will happen when I die - suddenly, I will understand everything.
My mum is of the opinion that if you learn something for yourself, you are less likely to forget it. "Look it up in the dictionary," was often her response when I asked for definitions or spellings. And of course, she was right. It's just a shame I can't find a definition of a linty that fits the phrase.