Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Elephant's nest in a rhubarb tree


I don't know what might have triggered it, but during a wakeful moment in the night I found myself thinking about childish ripostes that passed for wit when I was a 9-year-old:

Q: 'What are you doing?'
A: 'MYOB' (Mind your own business)
or
A: 'Ask no questions, hear no lies.'

Q: 'What are you looking at?'
A: 'Elephant's nest in a rhubarb tree'

Q: 'What's for dinner?'
A: 'YMCA' (Yesterday's Muck Cooked Again)
or
A: 'Yum yum, pig's bum.'

Q: 'What's the time?'
A: [Whatever the time happened to be] 'Half past nine, hang your knickers on the line. When the policeman comes along, take them down and put them on.'

[The implications here are deep. Is the assumption that you only have one pair of knickers? Why the policeman? Questions of scansion aside, why couldn't it be the greengrocer, muffin-man, hall porter, lance-corporal, etc.? Why should the policeman cause this reaction, maybe before the garment has dried? Does the policeman's advent somehow speed the drying process? Or are there considerations of public decency to be taken into account?]

Then there was the immortal

Q: 'Wotcher, cock.' (Still current occasionally)
A: 'Wotcher.'
Q: 'How's your mother off for dripping?'

There was something obscenely suggestive about this, something I could never quite pin down. I went back to sleep before arriving at any conclusion.

19 comments:

Rosie said...

We had the same one about the policeman and...
Aunty Mary had a canary
up the leg of her draws.
She pulled a string
to make it sing
and down came Santa Claus.

Dave said...

Surely it's

Aunty Mary had [or hid?] a canary
Up the leg of her drawers.
It sings for hours
Amongst the flowers...

The rest is lost in the mists of time, although Mr Google now tells me it make something to do with scottish bagpipe music..

Dave said...

'may be' not 'make'

Vicus Scurra said...

If this is what you think about when you wake, I would advise staying asleep until morning.

Rog said...

Ask no questions, hear no lies, I saw a Chinaman doing up his flies.

Probably racist now.

Z said...

I don't remember any of these sayings at my nice convent school, I'm afraid.

Christopher said...

Rosie!!!

Dave: The pipe tune referred to is Cock o' the North, which I believe is the Gordon Highlanders' regimental march. The Auntie Mary words just happen to fit the first part of the tune, 'Chase me, Charlie' the second. I think.

Vicus: I wish I could follow your advice, but I have this annoying habit of waking up for a few minutes at about 2am and if it's not childish ripostes then it's worrying about my blog-pals.

Log: Of course it's lacist. It should have been 'I saw a Chinaman doing up his fries', i.e. fried rice. This crealry lefels to the advent of Chinese lestaulants in the UK and is a varuabre piece of popural sociar histoly.

Z: Well, my school was supposed to be quite select, too, but there's nothing quite so lavatorially and dismissively disobliging as 9-year-old boys en masse.

Charlene said...

So this is how highly educated intellectuals lie awake. Myself, I think about taxes, income, payments due, work to finish, etc. Sigh.

I ocassionally have very interesting dreams that make no sense in the daylight, but I remember only a whisp.

letouttoplay said...

I don't know why the photo makes me think of incest.
Oh yes I do - it's the morris dancers in the background.
Out in the Devonshire sticks, we didn't have boys en masse, only lurking in the lanes in twos and threes so the only thing I recall from those days is my friend (female) saying "what the eye don't see, the heart don't yearn over". So we didn't tell our mums and dads what we were doing most of the time and they, presumably didn't have to do any yearning over.

letouttoplay said...

As to the policeman conundrum - would it be anything to do with the season?

Tim said...

Elephant jokes? Anybody remember those? They were a craze when I was about fourteen. The punchline was always 'an elephant'. I can only remember one now, which isn't repeatable here.

Geoff said...

It's best to get in before the policeman. You don't want him taking down your particulars.

Christopher said...

Charlene: Hi. Good to see you, as always, tho' any notions of intellect are as fleeting as your dreams, and we pay taxes too.

Mig (1): Could the link be Arnold Bax, who is supposed to have said he was prepared to try anything once, except incest and folk-dancing?

Mig (2): Another wakeful night, trying to work this one out...

Tim: Welcome aboard! Beer? Glass of wine? Bacon sandwich? Elephant joke? Please make yourself at home - and while you're settling in you might like to ask yourself What's grey and falls off trees in autumn?

Geoff: Too true...and yet the policeman might have lent a hand - they usually enjoy taking down a peg or two.

Rosie said...

How do you know there's been an elephant in the fridge?

How to you hide an elephant in a cherry tree?

Christopher said...

OK, here we go.

1. Ask Tim.

2. Ask Tim again, but I'm sure he doesn't paint his toenails.

Anonymous said...

Pardon the poetic invective believed hailed song-fully from marching Tommies about to loose their lives at the WW1 Front (perhaps, even before at past battles)...

"I took my wife to the station to see the engines shunt, a bit flew out the boiler and hit her in the...

Country girls are pretty you aught to see them dance, they cock their legs above their heads and show their dirty...

Dicky was a bulldog lying in the grass a bumblebee came up to him and stung him in the...

Ask no questions, tell no lies, have you ever seen a monkey doing up his...

Flies are a nuisance bees are worse and that's the end of my Chinese verse."

ALSO

"Aresole' aresole, a soldier I will be,

To piss to piss two pistols on my knee,

Fuck you, fuck you, fu' curio-sity,

We'll fight for the old cunt' fight for the old cunt' fight for the old count-ry!"

(There's bound to be a more properly preserved archival scripted preservation of these disgusting rhymes that soldiers chanted on march to their deaths on the battlefield).

Christopher said...

Thank you, Anon. I'm sure you eventually got used to the taste of soap and water.

Anonymous said...

The vintage 'Carbolic 1953' is to be particularly recommended being famously effervescent.

Christopher said...

Tar water is ineffably efficacious and effective, but fails for effervescence.