Canavan’s column - January 24, 2013

THUNDER AND LIGHTNING? It's just God moving furniture upstairs
THUNDER AND LIGHTNING? It's just God moving furniture upstairs
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Hoping Gran’s sayings live on

MY grandma died a couple of years ago, at the grand old age of 100.

Quite how she lasted that long we’ve no idea.

She had a bacon sandwich every day of her life and put so much salt on her meals it killed all slugs within a four-mile radius.

Of the many things I miss about my grandmother, her sayings are top of the pile.

This was hammered home the other day when I casually mentioned to Mrs Canavan that I’d known such and such a fella ‘since Adam was a lad’.

“Since Adam, who’s Adam?” she replied.

I had to explain that the phrase refers to Adam as in Adam and Eve, from that popular novel The Bible.

It is just a pithy little saying my grandma used all the time but I adore it.

And it got me thinking of the other things she used to utter, phrases that will presumably die out with the loss of the older generation (to be replaced, no doubt, with text speak like: ‘R u cumin out 2nite? *smiley face*’)

So in an effort to keep the old sayings alive, here are a few of my Gran’s favourites.

‘Ooo, she’s like a drink of water dressed up’ (a very thin person).

‘His knees are like knots of cotton (thin legs, knobbly knees)

‘Look at him, he’s 6 foot 2 and a clothes post’ (very tall)

‘There’s enough blue to make a sailor a pair of trousers (referring to the sky, meaning it will be turn out fine if there is)

‘We’ve yards of milk’ (lots of it)

‘Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey’ (it’s freezing outside)

‘It’s as plain as the nose on your face’

‘You’re a sandwich short of a picnic you are’ (normally uttered in my direction after I’d said something daft)

‘Standing there like cheese at four pence’ (meaning standing there with nothing to do. It originates from the poor mill towns of Lancashire: the normal price of cheese was two pence and nobody could afford the luxurious four pence stuff, so it was left on the shelf)

‘It’s God moving furniture upstairs’ (during a thunderstorm)

‘I’ve put my foot down with a firm hand’ (very assertive - a mix of putting your foot down and dealing with something with a firm hand))

‘All fur coat and no knickers’ (a seemingly elegant woman who’s really vulgar)

‘I’m as old as me tongue but older than me teeth’ (which my gran would say whenever she was asked for her age, considering the question rude).

‘All dolled up like a dog’s dinner’ (for a woman she considered over-dressed)

‘Face like sour milk’ (directed at someone she considered miserable)

So there you go, I miss my gran and those sayings.

One to leave you with, which she was fond of saying in the midst of a heated exchange, normally with my mum (her daughter) … ‘anyone who doesn’t think there are two sides to an argument is probably in one’.

Not much you can say to that is there?

* Anyone with any good sayings, and the story of where they come from, let me know at:

Sweeping statement unfair

PRINCE Harry seems a decent chap. Not too stuffy, one of the lads, better hair than his brother.

I don’t really get all the fuss about his comments that he has killed members of the Taliban in Afghanistan. He’s been serving in the army -– that’s what army people do.

However, call me biased but his pop at the media did annoy me.

Speaking for the first time about the weekend in Las Vegas, when he invited 20 scantily-clad women into his hotel room and was then astonished to find some pictures end up in the hands of British tabloids, the Prince said “It angers me that people can get away with writing the stuff they do”, adding “nobody actually believes what they read. I certainly don’t.”

Hang on a minute. Upset? This private party in Las Vegas can’t be too private if you invite 20 strangers. Wearing bikinis.

But forget that. What really irks is the insinuation that every journalist in the country is some sort of gossip-hungry liar.

While I accept that the odd writer might be that way inclined (mainly on the Daily Star, and the old, disgraced News of the World), the vast majority of reporters (even at those two papers) are doing their job professionally and honestly.

In the last two years alone, The Guardian revealed, through fine investigative reporting, about the phone-tapping culture at the News of the World.

The News of the World, as tawdry as it was at times, exposed the Pakistani cricketers involved in betting scams. The Daily Mail work last year on pursuing the killers of Stephen Lawrence was outstanding.

The Daily Telegraph exposed how FIFA delegates took cash in return for voting for certain countries to hold the World Cup.

Then there are the evening and weekly newspapers dotted throughout the land who report the events of their local area. They do this superbly and I’m proud to be a part of it.

So Prince H, I understand how you feel (not least because of the manner in which his mother lost her life) and I appreciate it must be difficult to have your every move watched and commented on.

But to make a sweeping statement about an industry, which, in general, does an outstanding and vitally important job, is grossly unfair.

And if you don’t agree pal, let’s have a job swap for a while. You can come to Blackpool and work nine-til-six till every day, and I’ll become an instant millionaire, stay in £5,000 a night hotel suites, nip off to foreign countries to shake hands with strangers, and -–the piece de resistance, surely – get the best seats in the house at Wimbledon!

It’s not too tough a life compared to most, so for the Prince to complain, especially in these testing times, really is taking the biscuit.

Good idea? I’ll drink to that....

SOME people get upset about the phrase ‘only in Ireland’. Mainly Irish people if I’m being honest, they say it is racist.

They’re right. It is unfair, stereotypical.

But then again after hearing of Kerry County Council’s latest ruling, it is hard not to utter the afore-mentioned words.

Put simply, county councillors in Kerry have backed a motion calling for a system to allow people to drink-drive. Yes, you read that right.

People are being actively encouraged to have a few pints of Guinness and then jump behind the wheel of their motor.

The council want legislation introduced to allow the police to issue permits to people living in isolated rural areas. These permits would allow people to drive home from their nearest pub after having “two or three drinks” on little used roads. They would also - and this is my second favourite bit - have to drive at very low speeds.

My favourite bit? Councillor Danny Healy-Rae, who suggested the new legislation, works as … a publican.

You couldn’t make it up.