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It is as well to remember that using slang expressions in one part of the country, may not have the same meaning when addressing a third-party who originates from another part of the United Kingdom …

A former detective sergeant with the Metropolitan Police – I shall refer to him as Brian – decided, many years ago, to seek his fortune in a northern constabulary. He arrived for his interview, chaired by the local watch committee.

The interview was a very friendly, relaxed affair, with questions being asked by each of the committee members in turn – until, that is, Brian was confronted by an odious committee member, a tubby little businessman who had a hatred of 'soft southerners'.

"Coming from London, as you do," he said, offensively, "I supposed you're used to a bit of graft?" The expression 'graft' in this context, meant corruption – not in common usage in the south. In fact, 'graft' in London meant 'hard work' so when Brian replied, enthusiastically, "Oh, yes sir – I can't get enough of it!" the tubby businessman's mouth dropped wide open.

Turning to the other members of the committee, he exclaimed, "Ee! At least he's bloody honest about it – we'd better have him!"

And so they did; Brian retired twenty years later with the rank of chief superintendent, having conscientiously 'grafted' to the southern, rather than the northern interpretation of the word!

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