Advice from Ben Elton's mum

I love this comment from Ben Elton when he was talking about his writing the other day. His mum told him "Remember, the F-word is an exclamation mark, not a comma". I will strive to apply her philosophy to this Blog too, dear Reader.

It got me thinking about advice from my own mum, from many moons ago. For me, two phrases stick in my memory. "It's black over Bill's mother's", an instant weather forecast meaning "There's a terrific storm brewing way over there, so if you're going out you'd better put on your coat, otherwise you're going to get very wet dear". The other one was "You'll need to go all around The Wrekin", which roughly translates as "You'll have to take rather a circuitous route to get there, so allow plenty of extra time for your journey and whilst you're at it, you'd better take these sandwiches and flask of coffee with you". This latter pearl of wisdom was brought home to me just before I left home when I went for an interview at Aberystwyth Uni, as I literally went "all around The Wrekin" by train. It must have been in the view from my carriage window for most of the journey. For those of you unfamiliar with it, The Wrekin is a rather fantastic hill in Shropshire which can be seen for miles in any direction. Shropshire is home to several other rather splendidly named topographical features - Wenlock Edge (limestone escarpment) and the Long Mynd (some of the oldest rocks in Britain, if not the world).

However, I digress. Which pieces of advice do you treasure from your mum?


  1. From my friend Lo in Corsham, by e-mail:

    …and my mum used to say ‘it’s black over Ethel’s’ !

  2. My nan from Grimsby also used to say:

    "There's not enough blue sky to patch a sailor's trousers" meaning "you might think the weather's clearing up, but you'd better think on."


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