Lock, stock and barrel

We’ve all heard of someone who vanished into thin air without a trace left behind.  They just up and left,  and took all with them, lock stock and barrel – the whole shebang.    They left nothing behind.

Just like those nomads in Mangolia, who, every autumn leave the mountainous regions for sunnier pastures below before winter sets in.  They take everything with them, not an iota stays behind, not even their houses, and least of all, their animals.  Lock and stock and barrel in hand, they head off on this massive journey where they will find longer grass for their animals and warmer temperatures in the sheltered valley below.

I can’t help it but this expression leaves me thinking that we are in the wild west of America, back in the 19th century, heading out west to better prospects, in search of gold perhaps.  We carry with us our entire possessions and they come with us everywhere.  One day we’re in Illinois, the next day Kansas,  and the following day we fold up camp and move on to Colorado bringing lock, stock and barrel with us.

And the barrel?  Does that refer to a gun?  Well, yes, it does, and so do the lock and the stock. These are all parts of, and together make up, the entire gun.  That is where this expression is believed to have come from.

America, the land of the free and the brave.  The country where everyone is entitled to go around with their lock, stock and barrel in hand, defending what is rightfully theirs.  Now I digress and take to ranting so I’ll take my leave and go on my merry way with my own lock, stock and barrel (which is not a gun)  and I’ll bid you adieu.





Tit For Tat

With the term “tit for tat” in mind one thinks of serious things like personal  vendettas, where one goes out on a mission and kills all before him just to satisfy his need for revenge,  or family feuds, where every single member of the families in question are either killed or maimed or living in fear of their lives, or gangland crime, where it’s not safe to go out in the street lest you be hit in the crossfire.  Or, on a smaller scale, two teenage girls offending each other in public “She bad mouthed me so I’ll bad mouth her back. I’ll tell everyone what she told me in secret, the bitch.  That’ll learn her”.  Or, yet another image – too little tiny weeny tots, one pulling the other’s hair and the other pulling hers even harder, neither of them letting go so as to prove that “you pull my hair, I’ll pull yours”

None of this “turning the other cheek”.  No…. it’s “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”  “you did me wrong so I’ll do you a similar disfavour”.   He  has hurt you bad and you’re not letting him away with it.  You’ll lash out with all you’ve got and hurt him right back.

“Tit for tat”, “tip for tap”, “this for that” and, in dutch, “dit voor dat”.  Whatever its origins are, we all get its meaning!


Red Rag to a Bull

We’ve all heard the term before; Red rag to a bull, and we know its meaning (or do we?).  Today, for some reason, it popped into my mind and I have a strong urge to write something in connection with it.

When you think about this term, your mind conjures up the image of that of a mad lunatic (let’s say it’s you) approaching a bull and shaking frantically a red piece of clothing.  It might be the t-shirt you had on or a bag you’re carrying or a red blanket (or rag).  The thing is, you’re feeling a bit unstable today, slightly unhinged, you got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning, you want to have “words” with someone,  you’re looking for trouble, you want to ruin someone’s day today because you own isn’t going too nicely, you might have tried to pick a fight with someone you know earlier on, like your boyfriend or your sister and that didn’t work out, as they didn’t take the bait.  So there’s only one thing for it and that is to find a bull and try and get some sparks flying from him, rile him up a bit, ruffle his feathers, make him bloody angry, make that blood boil.  And then go for the jugular?

But what you don’t realise is that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.  You haven’t factored in that this bull is a formidable creature.  Like you, he’s raring to go, beligerent and feisty.  Unlike you, he’s genuinely strong and mean and can do a whole lot of damage.  Who are you kidding?  Who’s going to come out unscathed the other side, you or him?

You should have stuck to that fight you were picking with your boyfriend or sister or whoever it was and kept niggling at them, tormenting them with your verbal attacks, getting under their skin, taunting them with your insults and insinuations.  Or you should have gotten back into bed and either stayed there or gotten out the right side

That bull is coming at you at a fierce rate and it sees RED.  His target is you, you who is frenziedly waving your arms and body, and he’s coming for you so you’d better get out of the way or else!!!

Now the question of whether a bull goes berserk when he sees red arises.  And upon researching this (a few minutes ago) I found out that bulls are, in fact, colour blind.  So it makes no odds to him whether that rag is red or blue.  He’s a bull and you’re in a china shop!!

Glad to see the back of her!!

When I was young I heard this expression many times “I’ll be glad to see the back of her”.  I’m not quite sure if it was my mother or my father or both or even the neighbour that used to say this from time to time and  I used to wonder what it meant.  The sentiment behind it was always unmistakably venomous so one knew that the “she” in question had better get lost real soon.  And it usually was a “her” for some reason;  ” She”, the one that the cat dragged in, the hussy who had better tow the line or else!!! “She” was a troublemaker and one to be wary of, one who it was better to see her back rather than her front.  Seeing her back meant she was going away and was no longer a threat to the general peace and quiet.  Now, seeing her “front” was cause to set off alarm bells; the offending and approaching hazard; double trouble getting nearer and nearer; panic setting in, danger looming larger and larger; Oh, What to do?.  “Can’t somebody turn her around so that we can see her back”!!!

“How’s she cuttin’?”

What in God’s name and that of his holy mother does that mean?  Or what is she suppose to be cutting? And who the hell is she?  These are just three questions that come out of this rather peculiar question.  So, am I being like the typical Irish man (woman) here?  You know the joke:-


SOMEONE NON-IRISH:    Is it true you Irish always answer a question with another question?

MAD IRISH WOMAN:       Who told you that?


Well, in the meantime I did a little searching for the term “How’s she cuttin'”  and found out that the cutting refers to a boat cutting through the water.    And we all know what it means.  It means “How are you”.






Is that good or bad?  Does that mean that the mad irish man is in fine form or has he a splitting headache and he feels he’s being split in two from the head down?






a rash a reesh

Now you might have to be Irish to understand this title and even being Irish doesn’t guarantee that you will get the gist of this gibberish.  “Ar ais aris” in irish means “back again” and this play on the words, or this attempt to anglicise the irish words is me trying to be witty or funny.  I know I’m not doing a very good job but I will persist.  

You see, I have a rash on my back and I’ve had it before so I’m trying to say that I have the rash back again.  Get it?  No?  Ah well.  Don’t worry, you’re not alone.  And now I have to attend to my rash and make sure it doesn’t come back a reesh!!

Helpless hopelessness

What a horrid notion to contemplate; Helpless hopelessness or even hopeless helplessness.  It sounds like one should just lie down and die, like that life’s a bitch and then you …….

I know what it’s like to feel helpless but when in that state I never add a double trouble to it and say that I’m also hopelessly helpless.  And if I’m feeling hopelessly lost or hopelessly at the end of my tether I don’t imagine for one minute that there isn’t help along the way.  Nothing is ever as bad as it seems at that moment.  So instead of helpless hopelessess it would be better to think of it as a helpful hopelessness, helpful in that whenever we feel down it serves to help us change our situation and make the hopeless helplessness hopeful again   (if you get my drift)  END OF RANT