'Hey! I got a letter from a reader!' I told Ed. 'She wanted to know what the word "scarper" meant, in last week's Journal.'
'Well,' he replied, 'what did it mean?'
'Leg it!' I answered. 'Clear off, sharpish! My dad says it sometimes - but I don't know why,' I added.
'It's rhyming slang,' explained Ed, 'you know, a word that isn't the right one to use but rhymes with the one that is.'
'I can't think of anything that rhymes with "scarper",' I said, ''cept p'rhaps "sharper" - and that doesn't seem to fit, does it?'
'The trouble with rhyming slang,' said Ed, 'is that the bit that rhymes often gets forgotten. Like, when you say that someone is telling "porkies". It's only when you realise it's really "porky pies" that you see how it rhyme with "lies".'
'Right!' I nodded, 'and when Arry says you should wear a "syrup" that's 'cos "syrup of fig" rhymes with “wig”!'
'Bloomin' cheek!' retorted Ed, running his hand over his bald spot.'
'I still don't see where "scarper" comes into it though,' I said.
'I believe you'll find it's from 'Scapa Flow', rhyming with "go",' said Ed, wisely. ‘It’s a place in Scotland. There used to be a naval base there. I suppose it was a place people had to "go" to - in a hurry.'
'Which reminds me,' I interrupted, 'it's time for me to Scapa to Paris!'
'I didn't know you were off to France for the weekend!' said Ed in surprise.
'I'm not. It's five o'clock and I'm going "Paris and Rome" - home!'
See you soon Luv Junior