“Billygean James,” MindReader once yelled up the stairs to me.
“What?” I said.
“Well… you need a middle name. And you’re in trouble,” he said, looking pointedly at the clock in the hallway.
MindReader calls me James at least half the time, now. Valentine’s cards and flowers are addressed to ‘Jim’ and ‘Jimbo’. Yesterday, after a meeting in London, he text me a photograph of a Starbucks cup for ‘James’.
“Did you just tell them your name was James?!” I said, delighted. “How romantic.”
“In Billygean-land,” he said.
But it is romantic, isn’t it, to have your own language? When we first started dating a very long time ago MindReader introduced me to having a cup of coffee and a bit of chocolate late at night. Now, we always do it, calling them Evening Drinks which cheerfully evolved into evos, until soon we were offering them to guests, having forgotten we made up the word.
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine gifted me 5kg of mini eggs. We have them with our evos now. “Some eggs, please” became “smeggs,” and now “Would you like smeggs with that?” is a phrase uttered often in our household.
In my pining for pets phase I, as many long-term readers know, walked a lead every day to prove I could look after a pet. Not one to turn a challenge down (or indeed to behave like a normal person), I did it every day for a year. I said I would call our dog or cat Friday, after the Cure song we both love. Friday became, for a time, a regular feature in our daily lives. “What’s Friday up to?” I would say. “She’s out the back, chasing butterflies,” MindReader would say. Or, once, on holiday in Norfolk, after a particularly trying Billygean-day, “she fell out the boot on the M6.”
“I’m old,” I once said to MindReader, bemoaning my white hairs and wrinkles in the mirror.
“At least 500,” he said. The next birthday, he doctored a 51st birthday card to read “501,” and ever year after that. It is my 505th birthday next February, we say.
We call certain personality types we meet Wendys, Sams and white-shoe-wearers (after a particularly excruciating encounter with an estate agent). Having a strop is “spackdown,” and, recently, after a particularly irrational argument about a cat carrier, a “basket snatcher”. The top of the chair where Benny sleeps is called Top Bunk and all his mealtimes are referred to as breakfast. The spare room is called Spare Oom and the corner of our bedroom where our clothes rack stands is, for Billygean reasons, called 27 Dresses. Our Sky box is called Baukum because once an alert was signed off with this strange name and the car is called Leeroy, for no reason at all. The shelf at the bottom of the stairs is called The Woollen Step because it’s where I keep my hats and gloves and the stacks of books by my side of the bed lend it the name the Storybook Corner. Our duvet covers are The White One and Emmie Land and our new throw is called the Anti-Benny Blanket because he refuses to walk on it. MindReader says “DTS” (Don’t Think So) when the Billygean Bad Idea Bears strike. Take away is taway, cold is told and tup means “be quiet.” We once went shopping for plates and, when we couldn’t decide and worried over the price, were told by a sales assistant that maybe we were simply not “Denby plate people”. We often say this now, after encountering people who are very grown-up and sorted and a little boring. They are Denby Plate People.
Driving up somebody’s rear end is Billygeaning and so is reversing into a wall. Relaxing is MindReader-ing and eating so much you feel sick is Pulling a Benny.