Friday, April 20, 2012

Silly Family Sayings

My last post reminded me of more things I used to hear growing up.

Shit with Sugar On - When my mother was feeling rebellious (she was a teacher with standards to maintain), this would be her response when we'd ask her what was for dinner. I sometimes say it to my kids, on the strict understanding that it's not to be repeated anywhere else.

Sheep as a lamb, sheep as a lamb - Supposed to be "Might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb" meaning sort of "Oh go on then, in for a penny". In my family however, only the truncated version was used.

Well you know what thought did? - I said this to my 8 year old the other day and he couldn't believe it. (Answer - Followed a dust cart and thought it was a wedding.) Of course, I first had to explain what a dust cart was. (Americans - it's a refuse/trash truck but of the horse and cart variety).

Were you born in a field? - Took me a while to get this one but it was yelled when we ran through the house and left all the doors open. (The American version is "barn" by the way, which doesn't make sense to me since barns tend to have doors.)

One of my fave's at the moment in our house comes from the Ball & Chain. (Must be said in a deep Southern accent for maximum effect.) "If it was a snake it woulda bit me", meaning that you were looking for something that's right in front of your eyes.

Ah memories.


  1. The only one I knew was...... *Were you born in a field* but we used to say *barn* instead of field.

    *Mutton dressed as lamb* was one that we used to hear, meaning if some older person was dressed inappropriately & far too young for their age.

    *Thick as two short planks* meaning not too bright.

    I could go on......
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  2. We got the mixed Italian version of the barn/field one, ie "Were you born in the Coliseum?"

    Also another abridged version (which probably means nothing to anyone but is so silly other family friends have adopted it as well) is to ask if you would like a "Tazza cup of tea?" Tazza in Italian means cup. My grandfather's Sicilian gardener thought 'cupoftea' was one word and was a type of drink...
    You do the maths!

    LCM x

  3. Ah bless.

    Maggie I also like the ones like "Not the sharpest knife in the drawer", or "one short of a six pack" to mean "thick".

  4. DH grew up hearing his grandmother answer "Pig's ass and cabbage" to the question "What's for dinner?"

    My kids have changed "Liar, liar, pants on fire!" to "Liar, liar, fire pants!"

  5. It's the ones you marry into I like most - my husband's family all say "Makes my bottom hurt" when anything gruesome or medical is discussed, the other favourite I've picked up from him and now overuse is describing people as "racing snakes" as in 'built like a racing snake'.


  6. It's the ones you marry into I like most - my husband's family all say "Makes my bottom hurt" when anything gruesome or medical is discussed, the other favourite I've picked up from him and now overuse is describing people as "racing snakes" as in 'built like a racing snake'.


  7. 'Worse things happen at sea...."

    My father was a sailor. Maybe he should know?

  8. I have a few - but rather than filling up your comment box, I've written a post and linked to yours...

  9. "Who's She? The cat's mother?" was one that always used to flummox me; usually the response when we used "she" in place of said person's name. Quite what the cat's family tree had to do with anything, I could never deduce...

  10. There were LOADS in our family:

    'Fat as the butchers cat'
    'Daft as a ships cat'
    'Two sandwiches short of a picnic'
    'would send a glass eye to sleep'

    I could go on....

  11. I love "Shit with Sugar on" and am very tempted now to say it to my two, who are always asking that question on repeat.

    My family also had 'who's she? The cat's mother.' I always think of it when Americans talk about 'she' in front of someone who's actually there.

  12. These were all great. I'm saving them. :)

    "Born in a barn" was what we said and I always just thought it meant you had no manners (like a farm animal?) or something like that.

  13. Northern Snippet - Ha. Apart from the picnic one, I've never heard of any of them. Brilliant!

    I loe "Who's she? The cat's mother?" If you lived in the US you'd be saying it every day as Americans say "she" or "he" in front of the person all the time. It's not rude at all and I have to keep reminding visiting Brits that there's no point in getting yery feathers ruffled about it. It just makes us look very odd and uptight!

  14. My mum did and still does say all of them but she altered the 'You know what thought did' one to be 'You know what thought did? He stuck a feather up his arse and thought he could fly!' My mother certainly has a way with words!

    As for the 'she' 'he' instead of peoples names, it doesn't bother me in the slightest. I've been called worse!

  15. I always got told "a glass of water and a worm" when I asked what was for tea (not dinner - always 'tea' in the Welsh valleys!).

  16. My husband has one that I love - "it's like trying to block the moon with your thumb" (except he says it in Spanish and it sounds much prettier).

    It's got two uses - one is when you're trying to do something that's just impossible or overwhelming - you can block the moon, but the light is still shining down, iow.

    The other use is when people are trying to avoid something or pretend a problem doesn't exist. You may be able to block it from your vision, but it's still there.

  17. Great sayings - I've not met any of them yet.

  18. The answer to the variant of "you know what thought did?" that I grew up with is "babbaed a barrowful and thought it was a wedding" (babba being slang for shit). Made no sense to me at all, but implanted a vivid image.

  19. I thought born in a barn was a reference to Jesus. lol as in who do you think you were.


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