Sunday, 21 March 2010

My Tubs Are Blooming

Would you believe that such an innocent remark about my spring bulbs would provoke so much hilarity? I was questioned as to whether my crocus was engorged? Were my tulips drooping? Audrey Hawthorn-Hedge, last week's guest on Gardeners' Question Time, doesn't have to deal with this sort of thing. I understand why Gordon Brown throws things (allegedly). You just can't get the staff.

Only the other day someone - whoshallremainnamelessyouknowwhoyouareDeborah - someone asked me what friend of the preserving pan meant? It might mean I'm a dab hand at making jam, or it could mean I'm rather fond of fruity 'n' sticky situations. Or it could mean I've become an objectophile and am taking the relationship slowly. (It doesn't do to rush these things.)

But putting my personal life to one side, this question put me in mind of all the euphemisms we use daily and how they seem to be increasing, erm, daily.

Bill: He dances on the other side of the ballroom, him.
Bob: Really? An afficionado of the patent shoe?
Bill: So I've heard. I think he's a pain-au-chocolat short of a continental breakfast.
Bob: And not unfamiliar with the preserving pan.
Bill (AGHAST): Not the (WHISPERS) preserving pan?
Bob: Indeed. (BEAT). Lately, he's become a solo-oboist.
Bill: Double-jointed then?
Bob: No, he really does play the oboe.

You see, it's very easy to take things the wrong way - Enough! - and one could get into terrible trouble supposing a chap was being euphemistic when he wasn't.

Would you like to see my etchings?

He disappears, one disrobes swiftly and - p'rhaps - drapes oneself artistically over his sofa (displaying ones perfect peach of a bottom to its best advantage). He comes back with a leather-bound album full of not very good drawings of his cat.

It takes years to get over a mistake like that.

Why he couldn't just say that he danced on the other side of the ballroom and wasn't interested in my spring bulbs is beyond me. Bloody periphrasis.

There are euphemism generators to be found on The Internet, but I shall not direct you to them as they are uniformly sordid. However, I shall direct you to an excellent blog about the English Language. X marks the spot. Here, Mr Fool discusses euphemisms for death - which was, apparently, the very first word that Broken Biro looked up in a thesaurus. (Whereas in my first deflowering of a thesaurus, I looked up variations of the word slut as I wasn't very happy with one Bronwyn Smallbones at the time.)


  1. Thanks for the tip about X marks the spot. Great blog - just the sort I like. And I enjoyed your post too.

    I used to play the euphemism but I switched from brass to strings.

  2. My stomach hurts. Ever since I found you (and that Fran-Me person too). But it feels too good to stop.

  3. @ Fran - Inky Fool is brilliant, funny (The Armageddon Post made me laugh for ages) and informative. Foam & Skies is also v. good.

    @ Deborah - I hold you entirely responsible for this post, Madam!

  4. Oh dear. You're not helpful, Moptop. I've just been to Inky Fool and now there's nothing to be done for my blog addiction, which I had hoped could be controlled.

  5. Whatever became of Bronwyn Smallbones? Be as euphemistic as you like when answering. I'm not sure I'm ready to be told like it is. Poor Bronwyn....

  6. She became a friend of the preserving pan.

    Need I say more..?

  7. As a slight acquaintance of the butter dish and a sidekick of the occasional table (what is it the rest of the time?) I think you're right to take these relationships slowly.

    And I'd quite forgotten it was National Euphemism Week - I shall get mine out forthwith, dust them off and put them on display!

  8. I look forward to embracing the aubergine later this afternoon ...

  9. I promise I hadn't noticed your etchings when I wrote my last post.

    Speaking of making jam, my sisters are always trying to join in; but my father and I insist that it remain a male preserve.

  10. Whre do you stand on chutney, Inky?

    (That's a real query, not a euphemism.)