Tuesday, 23 October 2007

As we say in our house

Posy Simmonds: the invisible woman -London Telegraph- 21/10/2007

The characters in her stories of middle-class life are known – and loved – by millions. But what of Posy Simmonds herself? Sabine Durrant meets a cartoonist who is never happier than when eavesdropping on the bus
Posy Simmonds, the writer and cartoonist, lives in a quiet Georgian square between King's Cross and Islington in London.
Having male siblings, she says, may well have influenced her sense of humour. 'I think we were all rather lavatorial. My grandmother had a way of changing the subject whenever the talk got a bit salty. She'd say things like, "Oh, there's a squirrel." And this became a family joke. If somebody says anything a little bit… one of us still says, "Oh, there's a squirrel."
The three page article ends with a witty rejoinder to that phrase and I'm reminded of a book on my shelf, As we say in Our house compiled by Nigel Rees, presenter of the BBC4 radio show Quote...unquote. I see he was doing a live presentation of the same kind of thing earlier this month in Warwick.
I've never heard the show, but I enthusiatically picked up the book (published 2001) as it's a theme I've used a great deal in my autobiographical blatherings. Indeed I am always excited by the degree to which the members of close families occasionally share a private lexicon that can be close to being a whole other language. When I first visted the family of the wife of my bosom, I noticed that if one of them was heading out and another asked where they were going, it was customary to say "up on the roof to mow the lawn."
There's one we picked up from the Rees book that has become a favourite. If Anne accidentally overbuys a foodstuff, say marmalade, and we find that we have three identical jars all at once, it is now customary to say: "It's a good thing you went to the store before the hoarders got there."

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

My god, you're lucky you've never heard "Quote Unquote". It's AWFUL and has been on air since about 1980. Seemingly non-stop.

23 October 2007 at 03:39:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

somebody's always taking the joy out of life.

23 October 2007 at 04:57:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Hayley Campbell said...

Which reminds me. While walking through sainbury's t'other day I announced I was off to the fruit aisle to get some dodoos.

Then I turned the colour of one.

23 October 2007 at 05:39:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Hayley Campbell said...

(Er, obviously I was with someone, I don't just randomly announce to the people of Brixton things like 'AND NOW FOR MY BASKET, SOME MAN-SIZE TISSUES! FOR MAN-SIZE NOSES!' or 'EGGS!' or 'JAM!' though I do occasionally mumble a bit too loudly.)

23 October 2007 at 05:43:00 GMT-5  
Blogger spacedlaw said...

I do find it interesting, Hayley, that you should feel the need to explain...

23 October 2007 at 07:02:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Hayley Campbell said...

Given my genealogy I felt I had to.

[My word verification says 'OCHWIYA'. Sounds like an order to me. 'OCHWIYA TURN THAT DOON!' shouts Campbell the elder.]

23 October 2007 at 07:27:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Hayley Campbell said...

And also one can never be too careful with the sarky Internet Simian lurking about, who would probably have said something regardless of the fact that it's my feckin' sofa he's currently living on.

[and now the word verification says 'rarrguh'. Which would probably be my response to the above.]

23 October 2007 at 07:35:00 GMT-5  

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