More wise words from the family

You should have that biscuit, it’ll only get eaten  (image:
You should have that biscuit, it’ll only get eaten

My previous blog, Your Mother Should Know, was about some of my mother’s favourite sayings and, for two reasons, I’m going to revisit the topic this time.

Firstly, I have remembered two more of my mother’s choice sayings. In fact, I could probably keep returning to this on a regular basis as I remember more and more.

And, secondly, some of you have been kind enough to share on my blog, or via Twitter, some of your own memories.

In the previous blog I wrote about five phrases my mother regularly used: Hot as hen muck; Queen Anne’s dead; Pride rises above pain; All round Dogsthorpe to get to Peterborough; You don’t want to start from here at all.

If you would like to know more – including where it is appropriate to use these sayings – please read the previous blog.

But here are two more of my mother’s sayings that have sprung to mind.

A here-you-are-for-where-you-want-to-be

Actually, this is not so much a saying as a word. It is rather like those German words that are created by combining several smaller words together.

But how would you use this word? Well, imagine you are visiting a strange place, perhaps a town, or a shopping centre, or a visitor attraction. You feel a little lost and then spot that helpful map or diagram on the wall to point you in the right direction. It is what my mother called a “here-you-are-for-where-you-want-to-be”.

Of course, as we race through the 21st century we will increasingly have a “here-you-are-for-where-you-want-to-be” on our smart phones. Or, further in the future, implanted in our brains – or somewhere unspeakable.

It’s as much waste to eat it if you don’t want it as it is to throw it away

Well, I think this one is self-explanatory.

When I was a small child I was made to eat everything on my plate. I remember on one occasion being left in the dining room on my own with the remains of my stew I was refusing to finish. Children were treated differently in those days, though it did me no harm.

But as I grew older my mother must have decided I had learned the “do not waste” lesson and she could sometimes be heard to say: “It’s as much waste to eat it if you don’t want it as it is to throw it away.”

As I said, some good folks wrote to me with their own memories after my first blog on this subject.

First up, my mate Guy Bailey reports two of his nana’s “verbal inconsistencies”, as he referred to them. One of these was a food saying: “You should have that biscuit, it’ll only get eaten.” Brilliant.

And she was also heard to say, perhaps to Guy, this: “You’d make a saint swear.”

From the Orkney island of Eday word came from Mandy and Russell. I think in this instance it was Russell who writes to me: “Here’s an odd one for you. My father would always refer to an unknown person as Charlie Farnsbarns. No idea where he got it from.”

And more thoughts from L De La Foret who says: “[Your blog] brought back many memories of my mother. Although divided by the Atlantic because mine was in America and used a different vowel in her name, the maternal expressions had the same effect. In fact I used one in my autobiography Cathode Ray Days Diary:

“‘Growing up, Mom always told me if I could not say anything nice about someone, don’t say anything at all. Maybe it was natural then that I went into journalism.'”

“Her other favourite was: ‘It’ll be a cold day in July when that happens.'”

Thank you guys for responding to my blog.

The virtual book is not closed so please let me know if you have handy sayings loved by your loved ones.

Graham Brown

To find out more

On Twitter you can follow Guy Bailey (@guyrbailey), Mandy & Russell (@Ploverha) and L De La Foret (@Lafcadio01).

Published by Graham Brown

I am Graham Brown, author of this blog, an Englishman living in Orkney since St Magnus Day 2010. I’m married to musician, singer and songwriter Kathie Touin. I am a member of Harray & Sandwick Community Council and a Manager (committee member) of Quoyloo Old School (community centre). I volunteer with the RSPB. I was on the committee which restored Orkney’s Kitchener Memorial and created the HMS Hampshire wall. I belong to the Radio Caroline Support Group, Orkney Field Club and Orkney Heritage Society. I spent nearly 24 years at the BBC in London. Remember: One planet, don’t trash it.

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