oranges and lemons

I feel like a sick day. It is chilly outside and wet and grey, and I have stubbed my little toe.

Yesterday the superkid announced very proudly that in school they had been taught an English song: Oranges and Lemons.

He wanted me to look it up on limewire. I mistyped "anges and lemons" and got numerous hits on that, which I decided must be virii and refrained from downloading.

He recites:
"Oranges and lemons" say the Bells of St. Clement's
"You owe me five farthings" say the Bells of St. ...

Does an expectant smile and an inviting hand gesture, as though he really believes that I am going to be able to complete the sentence. "Um" I venture wisely.

Jubilant "St. Martins!", his enthusiam undiminished, with the broadest of smiles.
Of course, it is not as though I know that many people. I might have thought of "Martin", it is the name of his grandfather, so practically my family. Still not at all discouraged by my dumbness he goes on and teaches me that in Cockney slang things are not designated by their real name, but by something that rhymes to their name. Ah, that one I know. Dog and Bone! I say. Now it is his time to pull a blank face. Telephone, I say. Oh.. and Marjolone.. telephone, he understands, and points at me.

Um.. no, I think it is just "dog & bone...". He doesn't get it. There is no connection, he says. Funny English people.

Maybe they meant with the old phones, the ear piece is like the bone and the phone itself is like the dog, with the bone in his mouth?

He looks doubtful.

And "trouble and strife" I say. Ah yes, that one he gets. Trouble and strife is "wife", and there he does see the connection.

I'm going out. I need some oranges and lemons.

Here's our weather:


  1. That's a fun story! The word play of those old English rhymes certainly do take us back to another time. A particularly English time...Great post. Thanks.


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