[I have been in hospital again - and took to people watching again!
This post might really easily offend people, so please do not read if you are easily offended. Its not even really that folkloric.
I was chatting to an impatient young man from Bath waiting for a scan when an exceptionally large woman was wheeled passed in a chair. The young man was in pain and very bored but now he turned to me, his face momentarily lit up with laughter. The woman was barely around the corner when he remarked "Cor! You would have to plough deep to reach the wet on that one!". He then went on to further detailed descriptions of trying to have (and avoid) sex with the poor woman. I was rather intrigued by the agricultural nature of his first comment - he said he was from Bath and dressed like an inner-city boy - clean new white trainers, clipped and jelled hair, tattoed neck and the odd fighting scar, bit scrawny - much like some of my childhood friends from the more run down bits of Bristol. I wander how ploughing as a euphemism had reached this boys vocabulary? Its probably just my folklore intoxicated mind, but "ploughing deep to reach the wet" on a large woman was all a bit earth-mothery and pagan - even when it was clearly just (for him) amusing and distracting!
Not much else to report from hospital other than Devon old men are more likely to freely partake in racism than Bristol and Somerset ones, even when they are talking about the nationality of the nurses who are caring for them so unfailingly. In Bristol the only racism I heard was directed towards a cleaner in a black headscaff and clothes. The woman was described as "that". It was all the more shocking because the man didn't seem to have any problems with any other ethnicity or accent or religion. It is the first time I have seen the results of the Daily Fail etc's attempts to build Islamiphobia. In Devon all of the old men on my ward indulged in casual and not so casual racism towards foreigners both general and specific - pretty eye opening for someone in their 30's for whom this tripe was all left behind in the previous generation in the sub-cultures I grew up in.
One Devon nurse even forgot herself for a moment and came in with the dinners saying "Eeny Meeny Miney Mo, Catch a nigger by his toe..." She then caught herself, was greatly embarrassed and one of the old men said - "You cant say that any more!" To which she replied (trying to dig her way out of the hole) "Oh no, because its not alright to say 'whities' any more is it?" (she was white, with a strong accent, West country but not any Somerset or Devon one that I recognized) As soon as she had gone the retired old men returned to chatting about the Polish and how they only came here for the benefits and also took our jobs...]