It was back in the halcyon days of my youth, when I was misguided (or misled) enough to believe that ‘serving Queen and country’ was actually a beneficial thing for the majority of the world’s population, that I first heard the word ‘bottle’ used in a different context from that of a glass thing with alcohol inside.
‘Trooper’ – Iron Maiden
In my old regiment, being tagged as someone who had ‘bottled it’, or ‘bottled out’, or ‘lost his bottle’ was on a par with admitting at an Iron Maiden concert that you preferred Cliff Richard. You would carry the scars for the rest of your life!
The ‘lost bottle’ in question is thought to derive from Cockney rhyming slang – ‘bottle and glass – arse’, an organ which is generally reckoned to ‘twitch’ when under extreme pressure! It is one of those weirdly British terms and refers to a person who has undertaken to do something and then ‘chickens-out’ – loses their courage at the last moment. This was not considered a very useful character trait in the Paras.
As a 71 year-old ex-para I can cheerfully admit that last Thursday, when J and I looked at the weather forecast for the mountain area where our cabin is situated, our collective ‘bottles’ were most definitely dropped! Ice, snow, sleet and temperatures predicted to drop to -16C (that’s 3.2f for the un-reconstructed)! It was time to bail out and take to our heels and aren’t we glad we did.
when this . .
changes to this . .
. . and this, we knew we’d made the right call. Mind you, it can be very beautiful once the skies clear. This from last winter when we were photographing crocus in the snow up there.
Alan Fenn, snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug in Okçular Köyü