I heard another odd exclamation for the first time in my life the other day, which I'm going to ask you to wait to learn while I provide a little background. British television has a category of programs I suppose you could call Living History Reality Shows.: A house and its surroundings are restored to some historical period, and a group of people move in, trying to live as their ancestors did. There are two subgenres: In one, people with no particular qualifications other than a desire to be on television move in and proceed to make fools of themselves and/or whine. (My description perhaps reveals how much I dislike this approach.) In the other, which I enjoy far more, people with some historical expertise, enthusiasm for the period, and at least an intellectual grasp of historical skills are brought in, giving them a chance to live what they had previously only studied. Early this year the BBC ran one of the latter type called Victorian Farm (which I have not yet watched all of), and this month they ran a three part addendum, Victorian Farm Christmas, in which the cast return to the farm to put on a Victorian Christmas celebration. A woman in the cast, Ruth Goodman, is a historian who specializes in domestic history and is an enthusiastic advocate of experimental history. She had just been picked up in a horsecart for the ride back to the farm, and on the ride she was told how many people they — which to a large extent means she — would be preparing a Victorian Christmas feast (in a Victorian kitchen with Victorian tools and techniques) for. To which she replied, with what I believe to have been unfeigned surprise, Oh my Guinea Aunt.
I can only assume it's an actual Victorian exclamation that's all but entirely died out (Google currently finds only one instance of it*), but that she's so thoroughly immersed herself in the period that it's become an entirely natural thing for her to say, at least when in costume.
(Edit: It occurred to me while I was trying to figure out what it might mean that perhaps, in spite of being said with a hard G, it was ginny rather than Guinea. But I only just now got around to Googling that. There are a few more hits, including one with a cricket video in which the announcer uses it when what I can only assume was an amazing play happend.)
Do you have a favorite odd exclamation? I'd love to hear it.
* Though I wonder how long it will take after I post this for it to find two.