Our language is richer for its idioms | Letters

Readers respond to Adrian Chiles’s article mourning the decline of our most poetic sayings

My Scottish mother-in-law had a wealth of expressions which she’d use so appropriately (Let’s not say ‘pip pip’ to our most poetic expressions!, 27 January). One saying that we use now and again, to excuse spending on a treat, is “there’s nae pockets in a shroud”. Another couple of wonderful ones to describe threatening weather are “it’s dark over Will’s mum’s”, plus a particular favourite, “it’s as black as the earl of hell’s waistcoat”. Real poetry.
Catherine Roome
Staplehurst, Kent

• Adrian Chiles recalls hearing for the first time someone describing being in the vicinity of many sexually attractive people as feeling like “a one-eyed cat in a fish factory”. Surely he has heard Charles Calhoun’s Shake, Rattle And Roll, written in 1954. The hit versions by Big Joe Turner, Bill Haley and Elvis Presley all contain the line “I’m like a one-eyed cat, peeping in a seafood store”.
Paul Dennehy
Enfield, London

• I was struck by the remark made by a fellow magistrate on a character seen often in the courts: “He’s as slippery as a snot-slicked oyster.”
Jean Davies

• Early in my public sector career, my Yorkshire boss warned me that a challenging committee member had “more edges than a broken pisspot”.
Dr Roger Merry
Keynsham, Somerset

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