If at first you don’t succeed…

…Don’t try bungee jumping.

Wow, there are so many variations on that one, isn’t there?

  • … Skydiving is not for you
  • … just do it the way your parent/spouse told you to do it
  • … cheat
  • … lower your standards

And then of course, my personal favourite as a child was

  • … you’ll end up in the [poop]

Now, you know what a literal person I am: If someone says to me “Hold your tongue”, I probably will do exactly that. The reason for my version of that particular adage is also literal…

Growing up in the wilds of West Wales, there were lots of things we didn’t see that ‘city folks’ (anyone living somewhere with more than 10,000 people) took for granted.  On the flip side, we were surrounded by lots of things normally tucked away and hidden from them.  Animals, fields….

Fresh air.

Or, in this case, not so fresh air.  At the bottom of my garden was the local sewage processing plant. We thought it great fun to do our version of a tightrope walk across the very narrow borders between the ever-flowing effluent. Not everyone made it across every time.  I have no idea why pigs are supposed to be happy in that stuff.

Okay, so I’ve used 3 words to describe it so far: poop, sewage, effluent, and stuff. Okay, that’s four. But at least I have a reasonable vocabulary. There was, of course, one word for ‘it’ that was never allowed. You know, the one that rhymes with ‘it’…!

Like most homes, we have our own bank of euphemisms for everything (the hubby still can’t get his head around my calling a remote control a ‘dit’). My friend’s family used the phrase “S. H. One. T”.  Our house word was ‘tish‘.  Which was great, up to a point.

Mother loved soap operas.  Oh, how she adored them.  Every time I went home to visit, she would ask me if I had heard about the horrible fate of a Mrs So-and-So, and then went into a description so vivid that I felt like I was there, feeling every ghastly bump and groan as the ill-fated Mrs S met her grisly end. And then of course just before I’d ask about the funeral, I’d realise that she was actually talking about some soap character. I swear that woman memorised the licence plates of every single black taxi in Eastenders.

But back to the poop. One of her favourites ‘back in the day’, when there were only a handful to choose from, was Crossroads (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8s26Pk-gkk), which featured a character called…. wait for it…

Wait for it…


That in itself was hilarious enough, but one line is forever etched into my memory.  The poor woman was having an extremely busy time of it, snowed under by lots of something that has since been forgotten, overshadowed and subsequently erased by this one glorious line, muttered (I think) by the owner of the Crossroads Motel:

“Poor Tish! She’s up to her eyes in it!”

Clearly some people should steer clear of sewage processing plants…. and skydiving.


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