Monday, February 04, 2008

What did you Say?

We were talking the other day about 'sayings' not just the proverb ones like 'too many cooks spoil the broth.' 'a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush' and 'a stitch in time saves nine' but ones we remembered from childhood. The mother of one of my friends always used to say 'hmm - when Nelson gets his eye back' for something that would never happen and 'it's not a prizewinner but..' for something she wasn't too proud of. Grandma used to say 'she's no better than she ought to be' and 'he's his father's son alright' - maybe this one is in the same vein as 'a chip off the old block'. I remember things like 'well I'll go to the foot of our stairs' - used when people were surprised by something and 'Do you live in a barn?' - if you didn't shut the door behind you. The last one could become really localised and changed to 'Do you come from Warsop?' a place not too far from where we lived. It is said to come from the fact that many of the cottages in Warsop had 'stable' type doors which opened at the top or the bottom and that many of the folk left the top ones open. Others I remember are 'it's brass monkey weather' and 'do you want a picture?' - used if someone thought another person was staring at them. I think that perhaps some of these 'sayings' come from the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire areas we were brought up in but many were probably more widespread.

There are others too that people say like 'a leopard never changes its spots,' 'elephants never forget,' 'a little bird told me'. and 'out of the mouths of babes.' Also things like 'you can't have your cake and eat it' and 'as cool as a cucumber.' There are absolutely loads of these.

I heard one the other day that I hadn't heard for ages 'Piffy on a rock bun' as in 'they left me standing there like Piffy on a rock bun.' Now this one got me thinking that I hadn't made rock buns for ages so today I got out the trusty Be-Ro recipe book and made some.

Mmm - very tasty and they used up the last bits of mixed dried fruit and mixed peel left over from Christmas cake making. Tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday and therefore Pancake Day. I remember coming home from school on Pancake Day and finding Mum in the kitchen making piles of pancakes which we ate with sprinkled sugar and juice from freshly squeezed oranges which we used to eat afterwards tearing the flesh from the skins and pith with our teeth. I think we will try some tomorrow omitting the sugar, of course.

In the meantime does anyone else have sayings they remember from their childhood?


  1. I enjoyed your post on sayings. I grew up in a household that used most of them. 'I'll go to the foot of of our stairs' was one that was frequently used by my mother as was 'It's brass monkeys outside today'. She also used to say things like' This won't buy the baby a new bonnet' if she had sat down for a while when there were still jobs to do. Or 'a blind man on a galloping horse wouldn't notice' if there was some small defect in something that you could hardly see.
    I still use some of these sayings still but my sons look at me as if I am mad, all except for the one I used when they were little and that was 'Nighty. night mind the bugs don't bite. That always gets a smile and sometime the reply 'if I do I'll sqeeze them tight'. I wonder if people in other countries have sayings like we do? Cakes look yummy by the way.

  2. hi rosie, glad you remember some of the sayings that I do - I'd forgotten 'night, night mind the bugs don't bite.' I love all these sayings - don't you? - I guess all countries have their own and when I remember them I hear them in the accents in which people used to say them. I'd never heard the 'blind man on a galloping horse' one before - I hope these sayings never die out though I guess they will eventually.