Heart attack

My Heart Attack

I'm new at this. Well, there's a first time for everything, I suppose. At one time the very thought of a computer would bring me o...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Old Wives' Tales and More

Let's start off by asking, who were the old wives who made up so many tales? What I'm referring to here will be sayings of my mother and possibly grandmother which as a child I took for granted. When you're a certain age, say 10 or less, you tended to take what adults told you as being totally accurate and 100% true. My mother had one saying which always made me think, usually when she didn't want to do something, usually at the point where she was probably resting. It was 'I've got a bone in my leg.' Now, what a totally stupid response. If she didn't have a 'bone in her leg' surely she wouldn't have been able to stand up. Her leg would no doubt have been no more than jelly, flesh and muscle and without said bone, no use at all as a limb on which to walk, let alone stand. Where did this saying come from? No doubt passed down from her mother and her grandmother, back through the generations.

Another thing which intrigued me was when you asked her for her age. I had a great aunt, very elderly, Aunt Liz, who must have been somewhere in the region of 95 when she eventually died in 1965. She had an imperious nature, never married, with a huge beak of a nose (fortunately I never inherited this nose.) She used to come for tea most Saturday afternoons. We had to go and collect her from her house in Phillpot's Avenue in Bedford as she couldn't drive. Anyway, as I have already mentioned, it intrigued me when I asked my mother and she would respond '99' years old and my great aunt was 21. It never made sense to me but I believed every word. 

My grandfather Ferriman had another expression he used when asked whether it was going to rain. A constant question which is asked by farmers; what is the weather going to do for the day ahead, week, month etc etc. He would stare at the sky and look into the distance and say 'it's dark over Will's mothers.' I never could understand who Will's mother was, let alone whether it was going to rain 'over there'  wherever that was. I didn't know a Will, William or whoever or even if he had a mother. It is only fairly recently that I discovered this was a Warwickshire expression and more than likely referred to William Shakespeare's mother, but I don't know whether this is true or not.

One of the ladies who came in to clean the house, Mrs Freemantle, had a superstition about not changing a mattress on a Friday. I think it was not turning a mattress on a Friday or something. I can't think why. Has it got something to do with Good Friday? Why is it supposed to be unlucky to open an umbrella indoors? Can't possibly think why. Why, on second thoughts, would you want to open an umbrella indoors? Makes no sort of sense.
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