Balham’s Mrs Malaprop

If you were to ask a young person today to put the wireless on, they’d go into complete panic thinking the internet had been turned off.

I’m conscious there are many words and phrases, we and our parents would say, that are no longer in use.

No one rings in work saying they’ve a bilious attack anymore; it’s never five and twenty to when telling the time and no one in shops says ‘Gawd bless yer’ unless they’ve Hue & Cry on in the background.

I had an elderly great aunt who would impress Balham shopkeepers with the fact that I would go to Karachi every Tuesday evening.  I went to Karate (in Tooting!).  Besides, if I’d missed the connection with the 155 bus, I’d never had made it there and back in an evening to one of Pakistan’s major cities!

To guess peoples’ ages, you had to know the twenty-times table thoroughly (tomorrow, 5th April 2021, I shall be 64, not three score and four).

And what and when was supper?  This is a posh thing and would often be asked round to peoples’ houses for supper.  I’d think, if I wanted a hot, malted drink and a couple of biscuits, I’d prefer to stay in my own house.

And, without wishing to cause offence, the adjective bleedin’ (if you’ve been brought up in SW17, there is not consonant at the end) is now rarely used.  It was my mum’s favourite word and remember coming home from school after the cough ‘n’ drop test with a card saying I had an ‘ascended right testicle’.  Mum understood one-third of the card and asked why they’d not diagnosed‘bleedin’ malnutrition’ – double Virol for me that evening.

Anyone got change for a guinea?

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