Sunday, April 25, 2010

Things my grandmother used to say

We've been having unseasonably sunny weather in my part of the UK and I've been going out without a coat on. It made me think of an old saying of my grandmother's
Ne'er cast a clout till may is out
which being translated means
I am a cantankerous old lady and I love saying things you don't understand
Other sayings of hers included
It's better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick
which never made much sense to me. If you're going to minimise a situation by comparing it with a worse one, why not a sharp stick for goodness sake?

The most obscure one was the injunction to
Keep your hand on your ha'penny
English half penny (ha'penny) coin

She'd say it if I spoke about going out with a boy. I was never sure if she was telling me to make sure I always had my bus fare handy so I wouldn't be stranded, or if she was telling me to keep hold of my virginity. Did she really mean me to keep my hand... you know... there... all the time? Surely not. (I was a bit literal when I was younger. Touch of Aspergers, maybe?)

Did any of your elderly relatives have sayings that confused you?


JaneyV said...

If my mother didn't want to give an explaination for something - either because it wasn't a suitable topic or indeed because she just couldn't be bothered, she's say

"Because God loves Ireland"

So if I asked a question like:
"So if space is all black how come the sky is blue?"
She'd look annoyed and then say
"Because God loves Ireland"

I think it meant "stop irritating me...."

She also liked to say, if I asked her where she was going:

"Out of my mind for half an hour...


"I'm going to see a man about a dog"

For years I was disappointed when she didn't come home with a new puppy. Perhaps there's a little Asperger's in us all...

fairyhedgehog said...

Jane, that man and his dog! He's a bugger for not parting with the puppies.

Old Kitty said...

Your grandma's sayings are wise and cryptic!!


The one saying that used to confuse me is this:

"do as I say and not as I do"!


Take care

DJ Kirkby said...

I think everyone has some Aspergian traits, it's the degree to which they affect your life which defines whether you actually are an Aspie or not. My grandmother always said 'Many hands make light work'. She was right.

fairyhedgehog said...

DJK, I suspect you're right. I think most traits are along a spectrum and not just on or off.

Wendy Ramer, Author said...

Don't know why my first comment didn't post, but here's more or less what I said...

My husband's version of your grandmother's saying: Better than a poke in the eye with a glass rod.


And my father's favorite whenever we assumed something: You know what happens when you assume? You make an ass out of u and me.

Kevin Musgrove said...

It was always a sharp stick in my family.

Exciting new things were always going to be sky blue pink with yellow polkas. It was always kippers and custard for tea, unless it was winnats (that's sh** with hairs on) - the explanation was always given. And the one I've spent nearly five decades trying to avoid lapsing into:

"Are you off then?"

"Yes, I'm off banging ta tas."

I have no explanation for this and I'm scared I'll be saying it soon.

Stacy said...

My Dad. Usually it's jokes that I don't get, though.

fairyhedgehog said...

Wendy, ow indeed! I've seen the assume one around but never heard it said.

Kevin, we had sky blue pink with green spots on! Winnats sounds gross and banging ta tas is just odd. I don't recommend googling it.

stacy, my Beloved tells jokes like that! One of my sons seems to get them when the rest of us don't!

Pewari said...

Not my grandmother, but my english teacher's favourite phrase: "I'm not as green as I'm cabbage looking".

Must start using it to my kids, actually, cos I do rather like the saying :) My turn to weird out the next generation...

Sylvia said...

I was laughing so hard at these. And then "Because God loves Ireland" - what a perfect answer for everything. When I first moved to England, I wondered about the man with the dog that people kept going to see.

I'm worried for Kevin, though.

My mother's wasn't cryptic but she did have annoying sayings, especially "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" and "Only boring people get bored" and snooty things like that.

As I was writing this, I wondered what Connor would post and I immediately realised that I knew already.

"Your future self with thank you."

I'll try to stop saying it.

fairyhedgehog said...

Pewari, weirding out the next generation - that's definitely what it's about!

sylvia, I'd never heard the "God loves Ireland" one before Jane commented. It would go well in a story. I rather like "your future self will thank you."

Bernita said...

Brat kid that I was, I always demanded they explain themselves.
A habit for which which I sometimes got dirty looks.

fairyhedgehog said...

Bernita, you were obviously more assertive than I was!

Ann said...

Very entertaining all these wise sayings.

fairyhedgehog said...

Ann, I think wise is a kind way of putting it!

Whirlochre said...

Never laugh in November till April's pinched your wobb.

No idea what this means, but I live the dream regardless.

fairyhedgehog said...

You live that dream, Whirl! (While I try not to choke on my cup of tea.)

Lily Razz said...

Oh my gosh!
I love all these sayings! I'm from the Netherlands so unfortunately don't have any funny phrases to add, but I'm definately gonna use them when speaking to my boyfriend (we often throw words or phrases from other languages into our conversations)!

Especially the "because God loves Ireland" and the one of the man with the dog.. He'll never know what hit him hahaha

fairyhedgehog said...

Lily, I bet your boyfriend will be confused - some of those sayings are pretty random!

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