Weather or not

Outside it is wet, dull and cold. Not freezing cold, but the sort of cold that gets damply into your bones. It’s the sort of cold that makes you want to curl up in front of a fire and read. Hibernating weather.

‘Its raw out there.’ That’s what my mother would say on a day like today. Most folk around here don’t seem to use that expression. I looked it up. It’s there, in several of the on-line dictionaries. Unpleasantly cold and damp weather, it tells me, unsuitable for outdoor activities.

So I’m inside with the heating on and a heated bean-bag at my back.

Interesting, isn’t it, what expressions we use and where they originate. There are several I grew up with that I use automatically, but I often get blank looks in response.

Ma used always to say, ‘Only on high days, holiday and bonfire nights,’ to explain something that was done or used only rarely. I have not heard other’s use that one – apart from her twin sister.

‘I don’t want to look like mutton dressed as lamb,’ she’d say, trying something on that she thought a little too young for her. (I can remember her saying that before I was 10, so she wouldn’t have even reached 40. But I suppose age goal posts have hanged since then.)

‘What DOES she look like?’ she’d exclaim in a disapproving tone, to someone she reckoned had dressed inappropriately.

And when we asked for something, ‘I’ll see,’ she’s say, which we knew usually meant no, and ‘Jam yesterday, jam tomorrow but never jam today.’

It’s days like these which empty the enthusiasm out of me.


by Thomas Hood

No sun–no moon!
No morn–no noon!
No dawn–no dusk–no proper time of day–
No sky–no earthly view–
No distance looking blue–

No road–no street–
No “t’other side the way”–
No end to any Row–
No indications where the Crescents go–

No top to any steeple–
No recognitions of familiar people–
No courtesies for showing ‘em–
No knowing ‘em!

No mail–no post–
No news from any foreign coast–
No park–no ring–no afternoon gentility–
No company–no nobility–

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member–
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds,

Author: Sarah

No time to lose. No, time to lose. Make time to stand and stare.... Did you see that?

24 thoughts on “Weather or not”

  1. If something was lost, and who asked my Mother “Where’s my…..?” She’d reply “It’s up in Annie’s room behind the clock”………….Never did know who Annie was.
    ‘High days and holidays’ is used a lot, unlike the front room when I was little, that was only opened up on ‘high days and holidays’, like the best china.

  2. I use them too and a lot more, especially Edwardian period figures of speech as I was born of elderly parents. Quite unintelligible here except by spousal unit who loves them.
    There are far fewer of these anachronistic usages here in the USA than in the UK, our use of language is far richer.
    Of course new expressions are being coined all the time but most modern ones are unsuitable for quotation in ‘respectable’ company!

  3. November’s not always that bad, surely – mind, I haven’t been in UK in November for a few years. 🙂

    Family expression – ‘two-sixing,’ to pull on something, an old Navy term.

  4. “The things you see when you don’t have a gun” was an expression an aged relative used, regularly, to cover anything from a vastly obese woman waddling past us in a Manhattan street, to spike-haired youths with rings through their noses, in London, on a rare visit to the Capital.

  5. When my father saw a fat woman he would say “All that meat, and no bread”.

    By the way Pseu, it’s very November-ish here too, I went on the beach a few hours ago, brrrrrr, then it started raining, talk about miserable.

  6. Coldwaterjohn, I like that one and may actually adopt it!

    “All that meat and no bread” compares to my father’s “A bottom that looks like a bag of ferrets.”

  7. With the obesity round here, “What you see when you haven’t got your gun” is said every time we go to town!

    Queen Anne front, Mary Anne back.

    Weather related-
    Raining cats and dogs
    Cold as a witches tit
    (Snow) up to your hocks and withers
    Bit brass monkeys

    Do enjoy your global warming!!!–What a crock!

  8. The last time I was in the UK in November it was ‘unseasonably’ warm. But, your poem reminds me of the Novembers of my childhood. Fog, or more accurately, Smog. Thanks. 🙂

  9. Boa’s references to weather brought this to mind, particularly appropriate for today here, where it has been raining cats and dogs!
    “It rained and rained and rained and rained,
    The average was well maintained;
    And when our fields were simply bogs,
    It started raining cats and dogs.
    After a drought of half an hour,
    There came a most refreshing shower;
    And then the queerest thing of all,
    A gentle rain began to fall.

    Next day ’twas pretty fairly dry,
    Save for a deluge from the sky.
    This wetted people to the skin,
    But after that the rain set in.
    We wondered what’s the next we’d get,
    As sure as fate we got more wet.
    But soon we’ll have a change again,
    And we shall have….. A drop of rain”
    (Author unknown – by me, at least)

  10. Interesting post, Nym.

    I had to go out today, and it was pretty miserable, but it will change.

    I do not like this time of year, unless the sun shines, but thank you for the poems. 🙂

  11. CWJ #15 – The best information I could come up with on the web was –

    The poet may have been one Barry Crump (or Grump, or Gruimp) from New Zealand.

    Or perhaps not … 😕

  12. If you’ve ever lived in Greymouth you’d know about rain… so perhaps it was a Scottish chap who moved to NZ and took up residency and then regretted it?

  13. A face like a bag of spanners
    A big ‘un from wigan
    I’m not mithered (bothered)
    It’s all grist to the mill.
    Well I’ll go to Putney
    Well I’ll go to bottom of our stairs
    They speak well of him in the buildings


    My bo**ocks are like plums in heavy syrup
    I have an a*se like a fresh bullet wound.

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