Friday, 30 October 2009

Expressions 1

'… and he turned around and said'

Do you know anyone that uses this expression 'and you know what he turned around and said'. It always makes me smile when I hear someone say it, but it did get me wondering where the expression came from.

The expression originates from the plague in the middle ages when in order to prevent passing on - or catching - any illness if you met someone you knew in the street, you would turn away from them while you spoke. If someone said something really shocking or interesting, they would turn around in surprise. When later retelling the story people would say 'and you will never guess what he turned around and said'.

Living over the brush

Someone used the expression living over the brush the other day (alright it was me) and I decided to find out where that expression came from. You might never have heard the expression before, come to think of it, the last time I heard anyone use it was Hilda Ogden in Coronation Street, but is was used to describe two people living together but not married.
The phrase described an unmarried couple who live together, originated in the tunnel building days of the 19th Century. If a boy and a girl (usually camp followers from the towns) took a liking to each other then the other men and women would respect them as man and wife. They could not afford a church wedding so, holding hands, they jumped over a brush or broom handle held by two older people. They were then "married" in the eyes of their peers.

?Notes and Queries?

An occasional series where you can ask questions you have always wanted to know the answer to and offer answers to questions that puzzle others.

Any Answers

Why do bees collect and store so much honey throughout the summer when they all die in the autumn? And do bees that live in hives ever wonder where all their honey went after it has been collected by bee keepers?

Can you sneeze when you are asleep?

and finally ….

Don't you just love GMTV. They reported this morning on the release of the new Michael Jackson film and that it had been premiered in 17 cities simultaneously at the same time. So much better than those simultaneous things that happen at different times!

Friday, 23 October 2009


Welcome to my blog.

Why am I writing a blog? A colleague Neil from work suggested it - I think it was a way to shut me up and get me writing instead of talking to him but he also said it was a great way to stay in touch.

I thought about it and although I'm not really syure what I will write about I thought I would give it a go.

‘Why don’t you write about those funny little stories you tell me about - things no one knows, but you find interesting?'

I wasn’t quite sure what he meant so asked him ‘What do you mean?

‘Well like the other day when someone said they liked monkeys especially chimpanzees‘. You pointed out that actually chimpanzees aren’t monkeys they are apes. Then we had a discussion about the difference between a monkey and an ape.

A difference being that apes can hang and swing from trees, whereas monkeys arms are not strong enough to carry their weight and are at an awkward angle to allow them to hang from tree branches. So monkeys run along branches and apes will swing from trees to get around’.

‘Well I suppose I could write about things like that as I do like interesting facts that no-one knows’ Although I’m not sure I would describe my conversation pieces as ‘funny little stories’. But I can see the attraction of discussing little known facts - Then he went on ‘... and you are always going on about things that annoy you , and things you don‘t approve of - why don’t you write about them?'

As I am quite laid back and relaxed about most things I didn’t think that was such a good idea and I couldn’t really think of anything that annoyed me.

‘Are you sure?’ he said ‘I can think of 40 things off the top of my head that annoy you’.

I’m not sure what he meant by that.

‘And your observations - you are always going on about something or other’.

I got the message so here I am at the start of my blog.

But how often are you supposed to write something?
How much are you supposed to write?
What if I can’t think of anything to write?

So what will you find here? Little known facts and things that are annoying. Can’t really see it catching on!