VIC BARLOW TAKES AN ALTERNATIVE LOOK AT LIFE IN MACCLESFIELD How did we ever survive childhood with these sayings?
THE wind and rain rattled our bedroom windows last night and I remembered my mother saying: “God bless the sailors on the sea,” whenever there was a storm.
I had no idea why until I heard my aunt say it and discovered it was a common expression during the war when U-Boats were sinking many of our merchant ships.
“I’m not as daft as I am cabbage looking,” was another strange expression my mum used when she thought I was telling fibs.
I have no idea where she learned this or, if I’m honest, what it actually means. She had a lot of odd expressions did my mum.
She told me I’d crack the mirror if I looked in it too often. I didn’t comb my hair until I was a teenager just in case the mirror exploded.
I was a very wellinformed child. Thanks to my mother I knew exactly what starving children in Africa wanted to eat every single day. They craved prunes, sprouts, semolina, broccoli, in fact anything I left, which was an extraordinary coincidence.
One of my mother’s most bizarre expressions was, “Bring the cat in…I want to put him out.”
In any other family that instruction would have raised mental health concerns but not in our house. My dad would wander down the street looking for our cat Sandy who would be unceremoniously carried home only to be taken straight through the parlour and chucked out of the front door.
Putting out the cat was part of my mother’s bedtime ritual. She wanted to be certain Sandy was outside (being attacked by badgers) rather than inside clawing the sofa.
If I made any noise in my tiny bedroom my mum would yell: “Go to sleep I’m tired.” Which, when you think of it, is like making you eat all your dinner because a child somewhere in Africa is hungry.
Of all the weird and wonderful expressions my mother uttered, “Don’t go wandering off and come back lost,” had to be top of the list.
By the time I worked out what she meant I was married with kids of my own.