In this blogposting...
*The Things People Say
*Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know
Now, read on, Macduff...
THE THINGS PEOPLE SAY
In a recent posting I mentioned a saying my Nana used which has puzzled the whole family for decades. If, when we were kids, she thought we were being boastful or ‘showing off’, she’d say ‘You’d be a genius if you had a glass arse’. To this day, none of us has any idea where she picked up this colourful and - to some people - indelicate phrase. If you can throw some light on this mystery, please get in touch.
(Incidentally, one of the reasons this phrase stands out so much in my memory is - as well as its impenetrable lack of logic - the use of the word arse. The use of four-letter words was, and remains, utterly unknown in my family. In truth, this is the only example I can think of. I apologise if anyone is offended. Perhaps I should have added a warning preamble.)
Anyway, I’m delighted to say that quoting my Nana’s weird adages has jogged the memory of Peter, from South Shields. He’s sent me an email quoting some of the stock phrases his Mam and Nana used to say in a wide range of situations.
To someone who was taking a long time to get to the point of a story: ‘Tell us the time, not how the watch works’. Truly elegant!
To someone who was standing in the way: ‘Let the dog see the rabbit’. This one interests me because my Mam uses it too, but to mean something different like ‘let’s get organised, let’s get down to business’.
To someone who is trying to speak while they are eating: ‘Let your meat stop your mouth’. Yes, my Nana used this one too.
On getting home and opening the front door: ‘Home again, home again, jiggedy jog’. Yes, my Mam uses this one too.
About someone considered ugly: ‘A face like a Dutchman’s bum - turned inside out and well whitewashed’. I’m not entirely sure I understand that one! And apologies to Maureen's other half.
Peter’s Nana once described a woman as having ‘a face that would stop a clock’. I love that one.
An eccentric or weird person was ‘as queer as Dick’s hatband’. Both Peter and I would like to know who Dick was and what was so queer about his hatband.
My Nana used to describe an indecisive woman thus: ‘She’ll neither heck nor ree’. I wonder what language that started out out in?
She would also describe the very early hours of the morning, when many miners would trudge to work, as being ‘before the streets are aired’.
And finally, another phrase used my Peter’s Nana about anyone she considered miserable or grumpy; ‘Every time she laughs, a donkey dies’.
I love that one. Perfection.
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...will take place at 1100 on Thursday 3 December at the Biscuit Factory on Stoddart Street in Newcastle. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.
THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU DIDN’T KNOW
Charles Dickens invented the word boredom. Surprise surprise.
Water is not colourless; it really is blue.
A man called Charles Osborne had the hiccups for 69 years.
There’s a place called Why in Arizona; Maine has a Pardon; Tennessee has an Only and a Difficult; and Newfoundland has a Dildo and a Blow-Me-Down.
Panama hats are made in Ecuador.
The Canary Islands are named after dogs, not birds.
Wild animals don’t snore.
The collective noun for crows is a murder, for skylarks it’s an exaltation, and for cats it’s a clowder. Lovely.
It has been brought to my attention that I neglected to mark the passing of Vic Mizzy on 17 October. In the unlikely event that you can’t immediately call to mind who this man was...he wrote the ‘kooky’, click click theme tune to The Addams Family. If there was a tv theme tune Hall of Fame, that would be in it. Along with Emergency Ward 10, Robin Hood, Doctor Who...and your own favourites.
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