Monday, 21 March 2016
When one of us failed to see something lying in plain sight, for example a school-bag, my father would brandish it and use an expression which seems to have fallen into disuse: "What's this, then, Scotch mist?" It's a peculiar thing to say, and I assume it was something that was current in the army during WW2 or in engineering factories in the 1940s and 50s. Perhaps it was a catchphrase from a long-forgotten radio show? I have no idea why "Scotch mist" entered into the language in this way, but as a result it has always been a mysterious entity at the back of my mind.
It lurks there along with "bread and pullit" ("What's for tea, Mum?"), and various other disturbing and unresolved playground and nursery rhyme themes and scenarios. Why on earth was Wee Willie Winkie running through the town in his nightgown? Is the moon really an aching drum? Why would anyone need to have buckles on their knees? And what is a vainite? Funny, how as you get older these things start to emerge again, but leaving most of their mystery behind, back there with the Scotch mist.