The pygmies have acquired a new insult. I don’t know if this has come via the new nanny and her acquaintances, or whether they have picked it up from Mr Tumble and his cohorts. Whatever the source, any squabble or clumsiness is met with a chorus of “silly moffa!” and peals of laughter.
I like it. It’s rather endearing, especially when uttered with a toddler’s lisp. In triplicate. It’s not harsh or insulting, it’s really rather quaint. So the husband and I have adopted the term – for weeks it has become part of family parlance. “You silly moffa!” I cry, as he burns the toast. I accidentally drop a Le Creuset on his toe; “oh what a silly moffa!” he retorts. Amid other things. Why, I even used it at work the other day.
It will doubtless be passed on through generations of the MTJAM family. In years to come a young descendant will query the origins of such a meaningless term. “Ah, that was your great great great grandfather J – he was the original silly moffa”. I fancy that in due course it will be debated for inclusion in the Oxford English Dictionary. Gosh, what an honour.
It occurs to me we should record the origins of this piece of linguistic history in the making. I pull out a crisp white notebook and ask three year old J to tell me more about it.
“What exactly is a moffa, darling?”
“It’s a moffa.”
“Yes, but what is it?”
“You know – a moffa. A silly moffa. A silly moffa focka.”
I am aghast. I don’t think it has come from Mr Tumble.