Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Under the weather.

Last night through the fug of vapour rub fumes, bunged up and restless, my brain hopscotched from one thing to another as I tossed and turned during the long hours of sleeplessness. One question that popped into my mind was why we describe ourselves as feeling "under the weather" when we're not A1.

Having taken today off from my self employed house sparkling I now have answers....

The phrase is nautical in origin and refers to when unwell sailors were sent down below the deck and away from the weather conditions to recover.

"A1" was the mark of a first class wooden ship in Lloyds register. A was the quality of her hull and 1 the quality of her equipment.

This has vaguely stirred memories of reading an article once about maritime sayings and I have turned up a few additional jottings of the reasons behind some of our everyday idioms.

"Between the devil and deep blue sea" - in wooden ships the devil was a seam between the hull timbers near the keel. To be working so near the sea made it very precarious.

"To be at loggerheads"- a loggerhead was an instrument used to heat the pitch for the seams of the boat. It was made up of two large iron balls mounted on each end of a metal bar. One ball would be heated and the plunged into the bucket of pitch to melt it.

So there you have it....

Arilx

8 comments:

  1. Well, I hope you get back above the weather soon. Vapor rub works miracles though, doesn't it.

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    1. Am much better today thanks...same for you.
      Arilx

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  2. There's so much naval slang. Very interesting. xx

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    1. I found lots more but didn't want to bore the knickers off people with too long a list!
      Arilx

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  3. Very interesting...I suppose in years gone by before air freight people relied on the sailors getting goods to our shores much more, and boats then were of wood and easily succumbed to the powers of the seas. x

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    1. I hadn't really thought of it in those terms but yes- before trains, planes and metal boats wooden ones would have been the main form of transportation.
      Arilx

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  4. I find says interesting too, people accept them with out questioning their origin. A couple more nautical ones for you - getting a square meal - plates on board were made of wood more akin to a bread board and to stack and store easily, they were square. The other - 'it's brass monkeys out there' referring to being very cold, some of the cannon balls used on board were made of or coated in brass and in extreme cold they would freeze together in their stacks and sailors hands would stick to them should they touch them. There are so many that are nautically based - shows the historical influence of the navy.

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to put those up- I find them fascinating. There seem to be lots from hawking as well.
      Arilx

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