Tuesday, June 03, 2008

As my grandfather used to say...

I suspect most families have sayings that get passed down through the generations. Certainly, I find myself quoting my grandfather a fair bit. For example, "It's the auld dog for the hard road and the young pup for the pavement!", is one I use with my own children when I'm feeling a bit hard done to. "Better oot than in", is one my wife is not so keen on, and I still use his toast every New Year: "May the best you've seen in [previous year] be the worst you'll see in [coming year]".

My Grandparent's Wedding
Originally uploaded by DavidDMuir
If I stop to think about it, I'd have to admit that few of these sayings are entirely original but I was surprised recently by the source of one of my favourites: "The graveyards are full of indispensable men.", which my grandfather used to say when he felt my dad was doing something daft like struggling into work when he was clearly too ill to be upright never mind working! A recent discussion of these sayings prompted me to look up that last one up on Google. (Where did we get answers before Google?) It turns out to be a quote from Charles de Gaulle.

Clearly Charles de Gaulle was a great source of wisdom as one of the other quotes on the page Google found was: "How can you govern a country which has two hundred and forty-six varieties of cheese?". :-)

So, how does your family wisdom shape up? Do you have any words of wisdom from your grandparents that you want to pass on?

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{Oh dear. And it was all going so well. I felt I had got back into the swing of blogging with two or three posts a week, and then, silence! I've been fairly busy but mostly it was just poor organisation. Hopefully things will be easier for the next couple of weeks but in the meantime, this was an off topic post to get me going again.}


Chris said...

When either I or my sister complained of heat, my father would always say "We didn't call this hot in Sidi Barani". He hardly talked about his WW2 experiences (in the RAFVR, in a signals truck, dealing with ciphers) except in throwaway comments like this. Not as far back as the origin of your sayings, but interesting nonetheless. I'm going to blog about him later this month, when he would have been 100!

N Winton said...

One of my mother's favourites is "Mist all chruckin' fighty"… I was a fair age before I worked it out!

With regards to the Cheese comment, I wonder how de Gaulle would have taken to the bread map of France… or indeed, the (very poor) Cheese map of Canada

I swear, my commenting gets more and more Python-esque as the years go on…

David said...

Hello Chris

Wow - cracking wartime ciphers! Like an Egyptian Bletchley Park? Amazing.

Hello Mr W

I'm assuming it's a very rude spoonerism... what a rude mother. I didn't come here to be insulted! :-)

Chris said...

Must be where a 1st in English Lang+Lit gets you in wartime!