Expression, saying, aphorism, epithet, adage, idiom, proverb… Whatever the terminology, my family had one for just about every day of the week.
When putting on a dusting of loose powder with a big powder puff and a moue of lipstick, my grandmother used to say: “A little bit of powder and a little bit of paint, makes a woman look really what she ain’t.” Or, “beauty is as beauty does.”
She’d often say as we were setting the table, “Crossed knives mean cross words”. While, “He’s as mean as a rat stuck up a drainpipe” was used to describe one of her bookies.
After being outside in the sunshine and coming in to the house, the phrase was: “It’s as dark as the inside of a cow in here!”
I think these rubbed off on my mum, as she had a swag that peppered our childhood days too. “Don’t pull faces. The wind will change and you’ll be stuck like that!” and “A little bit of what you fancy does you good” were often spoken.
“She’s got a face like a dropped pie” or alternatively, “She’s got a face like the south end of a north bound tram” were used to describe a woman with unfortunate looks.
Correcting my English homework she’d say, “Never use a preposition to end a sentence with”.
Even Dad got in the act with something about, “A wigwam for a horse’s bridle” and “Burmese trotting ducks” but I can’t quite recall what these meant. I do remember my dad saying, “He was flat out like a lizard drinking!”
Some sayings I have pinned on my noticeboard at home. They make me smile. “Face it. Some days you are the pigeon, other days you are the statue”, “You can lead a horse to water, but if you can get him to do backstroke, you’ve really got something!” And “If the world is my oyster, how come I’m allergic to them?”
Perhaps my favourite though, would have to be “If it has tyres or testicles, you’re going to have problems with it!”