When we moved from the North in 1999 to live in Dublin, one of the most useful words I learned was “bockety”. It was a slang word from “bocht”, the Irish word for “poor”, but it expressed something much more. A bridge could be bockety, a building could be bockety, a car could be bockety, perhaps even people could be bockety.
It was a word that suggested that something was worn out, that it might break down. There was a skill in keeping going something that was bockety. It would have been a good word to have known when I was a teenager as there were times when I might have used it. My Dad was great at keeping bockety cars going, I remember the summer of 1976 when he bought two Renault Dauphine cars, one for £30 and one for £25, and, using parts from the two, made a car that did him for a while. It was a bockety car, but even in 1976, you wouldn’t have bought much of a car for £55. Following his example, I had a bicycle that was a gathering of parts, it included wheels that I had cleaned with Brillo pads before spraying them with chrome paint. It was still going well when I was in my twenties.
With the passing years, I have come to think that the word “bockety” might apply to people as well, or apply to me at least. Going to the doctor because I couldn’t hear properly, I was told it was caused by some tubes or other being blocked and was given a prescription of antibiotics and steroids, medication to add to the other stuff taken for asthma, and high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, and hay fever. A Renault Dauphine would never have needed such a high level of maintenance.
There is a suggestion in the book of the prophet Isaiah that we shouldn’t feel bockety. Isaiah Chapter 40 Verse 31 says,
“those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.”
But then I look at the story of Jesus and realize that being weak at times, that being tired, that being worn out, are part of what it means for him to be human, and if he felt that way, the we should also expect to do so.
I hope July and August are kind to us, that we will have good weather while the children are off school and while the harvest is brought in, and that, even if we feel bockety at times, we will be well charged for the autumn.