River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Whay does the Doctor think in January

January 2013

The other day, a friend was describing how her husband was growing to be exactly like his father. This set me thinking. When he was my current age, Dad had a massive stroke which left him severely paralysed down one side and totally destroyed his personality such that he would laugh when he should cry and vice-versa. Prior to that, he had always had a number of predictable sayings and comments, usually in response to a given set of circumstances. As a lad, I would wait for him to make the predictable comment.

Whenever the weather forecaster said that the weather would be wet and windy, he would always respond “Like the barber's cat”. As I find myself saying this more and more, I tried to discover the origin of the phrase and searched the worldwide cobweb. One suggestion I found was that, in days gone by, “windy” meant, long-winded, voluble, bombastic or arrogant and the wet meant full of water – hence the Dublin expression to describe an arrogant, long-winded person as “Like the barber's cat, full of p*ss and wind.” Where the barber's cat came from remains a mystery. In Australia, it is slang for a skinny, ill-kempt down-and -out person, but why their cat should be wet and windy escapes me. YOUR HOMEWORK:  See what you can find out and let me know.

Another of dad's sayings appeared when he saw a person with really skinny legs “Look at that, he/she tossed a sparrow and lost!” More luck with this one – When Bill Shankly first saw Phil “Tommo” Thompson, a great liverpool player from the 1970's, he said “When I saw young Phil, I decided he had tossed up with a sparrow for his legs and lost”. The trouble is, my Dad had been saying this in the 1950s, and possibly earlier, so – another mystery and more homework for all of you.

In the 1950s, several unfortunate people had an uncorrected squint and this evoked the comment “He/she might be honest but he/she disnae look straight” (He was a Scot). Nothing at all on the net, perhaps because it is a bit denigratory. However, I did find some quotes including the word “straight”. A straight path never leads anywhere except to the objective. You can't trust water – even a straight stick turns crooked in it.

When mother was driving, she had a tendency to drive too near the left hand gutter – wait for it - “Cam oot the shuch” he would say. (Come away from the gutter). Again, no joy on the cobweb – plenty about coming out and Shuh shoes but nothing about driving in the kerb. Are there any Glaswegians out there who could enlighten us?

Having brought up seven children, Lollipop and I can vouch for the fact that one of the most stressful times is when they hit seventeen and pass the driving test. Suddenly, the car is in great demand and the negotiations involved in modifying their expectations are significant. I read the other day about a father in this situation; his son wanted to discuss the use of the family car. “Here's the deal” said the father “You bring your grades up from C to B, study your Bible and get your hair cut. Then, we'll talk”. A couple of months later, the father noted that the son had brought his grades up from C to B and he had frequently observed him studying his Bible. However, the son had not had a haircut. When he tackled his son about the long hair, the response was “Well, Dad, I've been thinking about that. The Bible tells me that Samson had long hair, as did John the Baptist, Moses and Jesus. With such eminent men having long hair, why on earth should I have mine cut?”

“That is true” said the father “they did have long hair; did the Bible also tell you that they walked everywhere they went?”

One night during a violent thunderstorm, a young child asked his mother to sleep with him for comfort. She explained most regretfully that she had to sleep in Daddy's room and, as she left, she heard him mumble through the sobs “The big sissy”.

An exasperated mother, whose son was always in mischief, finally asked him “How do you expect to get into Heaven?” The boy thought it over and said “Well, I'll run in and out and in and out and keep slamming the door until St Peter says “For heaven's sake, Dylan, come in or stay out”.

A small boy was put to bed by his father and then, every five minutes, he called out for a drink of water. Each time, the father declined and, eventually, thoroughly exasperated, threatened to smack the boy if he asked for a drink once more, “Dad” came the cry “When you come in to smack me will you bring me a drink of water?”

Best wishes to you all                                               Ian Nisbet

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