“Now Where Did That Come From?”

Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - Memories With Ivor Jones & Friends -

Have you ever won­dered where var­i­ous terms used in ev­ery­day lan­guage have come from. Terms such “he is a mem­ber of the up­per crust” or “he was given the cold shoul­der”? Al­most 21 years ago my wife and I on a visit to Strat­ford upon Avon in Eng­land vis­ited some of homes that have been as­so­ci­ated with the lives of Anne Hath­away and Wil­liam Shake­speare and on a tour of at least one of the homes some the ori­gins of some of these mean­ings were ex­plained to us.

A mem­ber of the “Up­per Crust” was a favoured person who was given pref­er­ence when vis­it­ing a home and sup­plied with bread from cut from the top of the home cooked bread. Dur­ing the bak­ing of the bread the bot­tom of the loaf would of­ten be burnt and there­fore not so pleas­ant to eat. So the the­ory goes that that was how the term came about. But per­haps, just per­haps there may be a sim­pler mean­ing. It could just be that per­haps the “mem­ber of the up­per crust” may have just risen to the top just as the up­per crust of bread has risen to the top.

Now at this time of the year, my wife of­ten gives me a slice of the “cold shoul­der”. Not that I have been bad or any­thing but ac­cord­ing to our guide back in Strat­ford upon Avon the ori­gin of this say­ing is at­trib­uted to the fact that not all vis­i­tors to the house­hold were wel­come but were ex­pected to be fed. It may have been that the fam­ily had al­ready eaten when the vis­i­tor had called but to feed them they would get out the roast that they had cooked pre­vi­ously for their meal and slice of a piece from the cold shoul­der. Hence the term was used to sig­nify an un­wel­come guest. I guess that is a plau­si­ble ex­pla­na­tion for the ori­gin of that ter­mi­nol­ogy.

Now we have all heard of the term “Bed and Board” of­ten used to de­scribe a place where one may stay the night or longer whilst trav­el­ling, es­pe­cially in places such as the UK where B & B’s are very pop­u­lar. The ori­gin of B & B’s are said to come from the fact that ta­bles of­ten con­sisted of a board set up be­tween to tres­tles. Af­ter the end of the evening meal all the re­main­ing food and uten­sils were cleared from the board and the board then turned over to re­veal the clean un­marked or un­stained side and the ta­ble then be­came a bed for any vis­i­tor to the house­hold.

Have you ever had a “frog in your throat”? This term has been used to de­scribe ei­ther a sore throat or a tickle in the back of the throat. Ac­cord­ing to our guide at the time, back in the days of Shake­speare med­i­cal prac­ti­tion­ers would ob­tain a frog and tie its back legs to­gether and dan­gle down in your mouth. The frog would then ex­crete a sub­stance into your mouth which sup­pos­edly would re­lieve the ir­ri­ta­tion that you may have been suf­fer­ing.

Now that is all food for thought. There more of such say­ings which I may keep for a later date. In the mean­time be good and be care­ful over the Christ­mas pe­riod. As this is the fi­nal col­umn be­fore Christ­mas I wish you all a merry Christ­mas ev­ery­one. (I do dis­like the Amer­i­can­ism “Happy Hol­i­days”)

Share your mem­o­ries and old pho­to­graphs with our “as we were” read­ers.

Mem­o­ries of grow­ing up lo­cally, or when you moved into our com­mu­nity are wel­come. Tell us your ex­pe­ri­ences from school days, sporting clubs, hol­i­days, work or group or­gan­i­sa­tions.

If you have a funny or in­ter­est­ing neigh­bour­hood sto­ries, we would like to pub­lish them! Write to: 17 Rose St, Baulkham Hills, NSW, 2153. Email to ivor­jones@hill­sto­hawkes­bury.com.au. Share on Hills Dis­trict Mem­o­ries at face­book.com/groups/Hills. mem­o­ries or Hawkes­bury Hap­pen­ings & Mem­o­ries at face­book.com/groups/Hawkesmem­o­ries.

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