I am the Queen of Sheba

“Well, I’ll go to the foot of our stairs” my nan would exclaim in abject horror of something I’d done; given she lived in a one-storey Balham flat, I wondered if this was physically possible?  Was there a secret tunnel which led to the other side of the High Street?  Did she own some collapsible stairs?  Was there an emergency carpenter as a lodger?

Either way, it leads me to things people said years ago and are rarely heard these days.

She clearly had tremendous powers as, if I pulled a face, she would tell me if the wind changed, I’d stay like that; I was never going to run the risk of having my tongue permanently on show the moment the levels of the Beaufort scale rose.

She was obviously unaware of the abolition of slavery, as she’d often asked what my last slave had died of? 

My nan clearly never did history at school as the retort to any of my many lies – “Yes, and I’m the Queen of Sheba” – was clearly inaccurate.  My nan was old and had no teeth, but she was neither 3,000; Arabic (she was from Clapham) nor royalty!

Cat’s got your tongue?  Well, of course not, as we don’t possess any pets.

Given that time travel doesn’t exist it would be hard, unless you’re Superman or Dr Who, to knock someone into the middle of next week.

Unless you’ve a 120-year-old greengrocer, you’re unlikely to hear “much obliged”, “thanking you” or “that’ll be tuppence, three farthings, love”.


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