In the seventies there was an impersonator called Mike Yarwood. Every time he did his rather useless impression of Dennis Healy, he made use of the term “silly billy”.
This is the sort of thing that comes around in your head when the night is sleepless. Then I thought of other rhyming pairs now in common use before realising how much I hate them.
If sarcasm is the lowest form of wit then rhyming clichés are the lowest form of phrase. I’m sure we all have a mental list of sayings which make us cringe and thanks to my sleepless night, I’m going to impose some of mine on you.
I was not really aware of their potential to irritate until I heard the term fun run. FUN RUN: There, I’ve shouted it at you.
Running has a variety of uses. In terms of catching a bus or minimising the embarrassment of acute lateness, running can be an expedient response. For those noble souls who run as part of their daily routine; gallantly jogging along with heads impaled by ear plugs and the traditional bright livery which gives you an urge to throw up at the temerity of such vibrant colour combinations-it’s a gesture to the value of fitness, thus deserving of some polite applause.
Then there are the occasional joggers who don their shorts or leggings in the good name of charity. Again, it shows heartfelt genuine worthwhile endeavour. But is it fun? I’ve never seen a runner laughing. There might be a joyous sigh or the enforced grimace of a stitch at the end of a five or ten kilometre stretch of endurance and breathlessness but fun? Satisfaction? Yes. Feel good factor? Yes. Sense of adventure? Yes. The discovery of a new you? Perhaps. Fun? Ermmmmmmmmmmmmmm…
But it’s not catchy is it?
“Suffer a case of mild exhaustion whilst trying to chat to your friend run.” Or “slowly realise how unfit you are run.”
So we get fun run in all its euphemistic oxymoronic glory. Then at the end of that sobering yet worthy spell, when you’re standing panting, doubled over in the pain of your efforts, some super fit skinny rake comes up to you and says: “No pain no gain.”
I’ve always said that putting your body through extremes of tolerance gives you excellent tools for dealing with life in general. Whether it’s running or swimming, cycling or mountaineering, the relief of the finish and the sense of achievement through grit and determination plus that little streak of madness, makes you really appreciate and value yourself. It may even offer a level of empathy with those who regularly face such challenges just to get through the day.
Then it gets worse.
Don’t look now but our whole life is being infiltrated by smug rhyming clichés.
Tear and share; I don’t know about you but I associate the word tear with a slight accident or a mad frenzy of destruction. Imagine the eager child and the wrapping paper of his x box shaped birthday present. I believe it relates to a pizza or some form of communal eating.
I wonder if the phrase was used in the loaves and fishes miracle?
“Come on you desperate starving five thousand; tear and share.”
On some sports channels we may well be confronted with the term Fight night. I have the impression of two brutish gangs standing face to face, shouting and taunting Hakka style until the sun dips below the horizon.
At the sound of a bell they go at each other hammer and tongs until the last person falls.
I’ve taught a few Lizzies over the years and the one thing I’ve learned is never to use the prefix “busy”. Unless of course you want some sort of cutting painful riposte.
Now I’ve put the idea in your head, I’ll leave you to find your own personal rhyming, scream inducing clichés.
But hey, (How American. We can probably blame the good old boys over there for so many of these verbal needles.) It won’t be a blast from the past and I’m not cruising for a bruising so take a chill pill, it’s the real deal. This short rhyme chime is merely the bastard child of cockney rhyming slang. So go out and shop ’til you drop with ants in your pants because by hook or by crook it’s the real deal. I’m off to get drunk as a skunk.
Thank-you for reading.
Or ta lar, as they say in Liverpool.
It’s now over a week since my great northern expedition. There will be no more until September when the schools are back. I used to love the summer holidays.
My favourite weekend of the year was that first weekend of the big break. School or work was as far away as it could be. The term usually ended in triumph with happy confident eleven year olds being unleashed back onto quaking parents, often unsure about the next six weeks and when the boredom would kick in. For me it was a child free or pupil free break.
I always spent that first weekend with friends. It always ended in beers.
Now, (sorry teachers) I can’t wait for the holidays to end. I cannot possibly fall into the grumpy trap and get all malevolent about children and their various ways of deliberately and inadvertently winding us oldies up. In fact, I have often engaged children in conversation on long train journeys. On reflection, I have quite a bit to say. But it’s that train journey last December just before Christmas.
Those two boys with their poor beleaguered grandma spent the whole two hours arsing about in the toilets. I could have interfered with my strict teacher voice but no. It was two days to Christmas and I think they were a bit excitable. But in the words of Mark Antony from Antony and Cleopatra: “Grates me: The sum”.
In terms of world events, not a lot has happened over the last nine days. In terms of my world though, some things have happened. Don’t they always? If things didn’t happen, what on earth have I been doing in all that time? Lying stone still on my bed in a darkened room while Seymour, demented with hunger, rouses me from my stupor by chewing off my right ear or something equally effective?
Last Sunday night I front lined the cat. (Serves him right for chewing my ear off.) It’s always a tricky operation. It requires stealth, trickery and a strong drink to take my mind of the pain. Because the old chap loves to sit on my knee it’s fairly easy getting him into a perfect position. But the next stages are crucial. If I stop scratching his neck he looks round to see what my right hand is doing. What could possibly be more important than scratching his neck?
To maintain the calm, I have to switch hands mid scratch; not easy with the state of my left hand. At the same time I have to quietly pick up the dreaded phial and mutter words of false praise to my brave little soldier in order to drown out the crack of the seal. With nozzle poised, my good hand takes over the scratching as I gently but firmly administer the deadly poison onto the back of his neck. Simultaneously he digs his claws into my legs to use as purchase for a bolted indignant escape. The cat flap crashes and I sip my drink, trying to drown the pain.
Now for the great cooker episode:
After ordering a new light cover for my cooker hood, one of the bulbs decided to blow. Now I hate an imbalance. I can’t help my own imbalance due to the inconvenience of my chronic condition but a lack of symmetry (and I will use this phrase again), “Grates me: The sum.” It was staring at me. Mocking. That infernal hood knew the missing light disturbed me.
So I planned my strategy.
If I could take the old one out, I could replace it. It was to involve unscrewing the cover then standing in some form of supported position, twerking with the oven and hob whilst reaching out and unscrewing the offending bulb. It took its time. Then I was ready to give myself a real treat. With object in hand, I rolled across to the electrical shop.
Now spending £3.25 on a new bulb is not exciting but it was a chance to ogle at some appliance porn. Oh those sexy microwaves.
Look at that darling flat screen TV winking at me. That fridge freezer can just gobble me up whenever it feels like. I needed a slap to break the spell.
Reader, I replaced it. I’m not sure if a small audience gathered outside to watch a repeat of my gyratory, crotch against hob dance, but I hope anyone passing found some form of entertainment. I was so delighted. It got major billing on my Facebook time line.
Then last night the bread machine gave up. It has given me sixteen years of sterling service. When I bought it, I promised never to buy bread again. I didn’t, except for a few artisan breads while on holiday; they were expensive and nothing I couldn’t do myself. And my confidence is down to that machine. In fact I’m so confident, I’m not even replacing it. That space is going to be filled by a retro stand mixer with a dough hook. The machine has mostly been used for just mixing and kneading.
Have you ever tried removing a loaf baked in the machine. Grappling with a hot bread pan trying to shake a loaf out is a sight to behold.
Just think of shaking a big pair of maracas trying to get a sound out of them. After said lump of bread has finally emerged and you wipe the sweat off your brow, you’ll find that the large paddle has inserted itself up the arse of the bread.
This is impossible to remove delicately. Half the loaf’s internal organs will come out with the paddle. Having said that, it has been a wonderful friend and the timer facility often meant rising to the heady aroma of fresh bread. So farewell my Panasonic friend, I hope they’re nice to you in the great bread basket in the sky.
Finally, let me tell you about Bernie. Like me, Bernie was an original Mewso. After ten and a half years at the Mews, there were just three originals left. Bernie used to have a bungalow up the road where he grew his fruit and vegetables. His house was almost dwarfed by a forest of tall beanpoles. He even managed to grow tomatoes around our block. Rose had her own cherry tomato plant.
He would often sit outside on the bench chewing the fat with all and sundry.
He adored our Rose and along with his sister Beryl, the were very kind to her. He seemed to know everyone and what they were doing.
Unfortunately he was not blessed with good health and on Sunday 2nd of July, passed away from the living world. I’ll miss him sitting on that bench, loaded with dry witticisms and uncompromising observations.
There have been a few other things this week; I removed the hard drive from an old computer, I have a quad stick and some new challenges at physio and I’ve made some really nice bread by hand.
But when I go out on the scooter, I look up to flat four and see closed windows.
Thank-you for reading.
It’s all very well having a slick, sometimes sharp line in the written art but sometimes I just like pictures and captions. If anyone knows of a writer with such a gift can they pass them onto me; I could do with some useful tips. Felt tips? No, that was for ideas boards in the classroom. I’d set the class off on some joint writing task and in amongst the hubbub, I’d stick up ideas for vocabulary or subject matter.
Now, where was I?
The destination of our roistering.