The weather has taken a sudden turn for the better and for some strange reason, my wife along with a considerable number of the population has had a funny turn, I suspect it may be related to sunstroke. However out of the blue, she said, “I’m going to do a barbecue tomorrow,” whereupon I said, “have you taken leave of your senses, you’re having a bubble.”
Now for those of my readers who don’t live in Britain or are not familiar with Cockney rhyming slag, I had just slipped into a phrase familiar to many a Londoner, be they Cockney or not.
Cockney rhyming was invented in approximately 1840 and was used as a cant, a language designed to disguise what was being said from passers-by, “having a bubble,” being, I imagine a fairly modern version of Cockney. Many a phrase was coined, for example, “butchers hook,” for “look,” which is generally shortened to “butchers.”
The reason I’m guessing, “having a bubble,” is a fairly modern expression is because the full expression is, “having a bubble bath,” which as Cockney wasn’t invented until 1840 where in those days vast numbers of impoverished Londoners lived in extremely squalid conditions and would have been very lucky to have a bath at all, let alone one containing bubble bath.
Having lived in London for quite a large part of my life, it is inevitable that one picks up these phrases as they have become more commonly used, hence my use of “having a bubble.” For those of you who haven’t worked it out, “bath” rhymes with “laugh,” well it does with cockney pronunciation, “barf,” and “larf.”
I love useless facts and am delighted to have recently found the derivation of the expression, “a monkey,” used in, “can you lend me,” or “I’ll wager,” which originally comes from soldiers returning from India where a 500 rupee note had a picture of a monkey on it. They used the term monkey for the 500 rupee note and converted the note into Stirling when returning to England, hence a “Monkey,” being £500.
Now, returning to my original comment to my wife concerning her desire to have a barbecue, I cannot understand why anyone in their right mind would want to eat in this fashion, hence my comment, “you’re having a bubble.” Firstly one spends vast amounts of money on lashings of meat products, which one places on an open fire in the garden and stands about whilst being bitten by various insects, the only saving grace being one is expected to consume vast quantities of lager at the same time.
As you may be able to tell, I don’t consider this to be my favourite pastime, but I never like to let my wife down so we have both been frantically mowing the lawn, putting out the table, cleaning the chairs and readying the barbecue, should the event prove successful, I may post a further blog tomorrow, but don’t hold your breath waiting for that.