Archives for posts with tag: Nursery Rhyme

Big fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite em,
And little fleas have lesser fleas and so ad infinitum.

 There is a Wikipedia entry about this Nursery Rhyme.

Jonathan Swift wrote these lines in his poem On poetry:-

So, naturalists observe, a flea
Hath smaller fleas that on him prey;
And these have smaller fleas to bite ‘em
And so proceed ad infinitum.

 A flea market is a second-hand clothes outlet.  Maybe the previous owners were not too particular.

A flea circus is performing fleas.  The owners allowed the fleas to feed on them!  It could be called a symbiotic relationship.  The fleas and the owner had their means of livelihood!

I wrote a few limericks recently.  While I was in limerick-mode I also came up with this one:

There was a young man of St. Bees,
Who spent days on end catching fleas;

A circus he had,
But their bites were so bad
He had bumps on his hands and his knees.

A flea in your ear is a telling off.

Nit-picking is a figurative term for criticising details.

As snug as a bug in a rug is an expression meaning cosy.  The bug referred to is presumably a bedbug.  There is a rhyme which I remember as:

Night, night,
Sleep tight
And don’t let the bugs bite.

A worm’s eye view is from ground-level.  Here is a related post.

The worm has turned is a saying about a passive person, who suddenly becomes assertive.

When you were knee-high to a grasshopper…

or the lines of a song when I was small and Christmas trees were tall.

A butterfly kiss is given with the eyelashes.

If you wish to live and thrive let the spider run alive.
Arachnophobia is a common fear.  In Britain we have no poisonous spiders, so there is not much to fear from them.  Spiders keep down the population of harmful insects.  They are fascinating creatures.  Their webs are engineering masterpieces and their silk is very strong.

Making a bee-line means going directly and purposefully to a place or person.  Bees are insects in need of encouragement.  I have mentioned them in my posts A community, How I met a blogger I follow and Buzz, buzz, buzz

Catching crabs is an expression used to tell a novice oarsman that his style of rowing is incorrect.  “You’ll be catching crabs!”  From the bottom of the lake, no doubt.

Creepy-crawlies are insects, their larvae, spiders, woodlice, earwigs, centipedes, millipedes and other small creatures.  The term for them used in the National Curriculum when my children were at school was mini-bugs.

David used the image of a worm in Psalm 22:6 (NIV) But I am a worm and not a man…

This is a prophetic psalm.  Why not click to read it all Psalm 22?

Related posts http://bartwolffe.wordpress.com/2013/08/15/lepidoptera/

http://heathervoid.wordpress.com/2013/08/16/lifespans/

http://ramtopsrac.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/best-butterfly-day-2013-new-forest/

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A stitch in time saves nine.

This proverb is about attending to something which needs mending before it gets worse.  A small hole may only require a single stitch to mend it.  If left it could require ten.

Sewing was not seen as a chore by the person proposing to Curly Locks in the nursery rhyme.

Curly locks, Curly locks,
Wilt thou be mine?
Thou shalt not wash dishes
Nor yet feed the swine;
But sit on a cushion
And sew a fine seam,
And feed upon strawberries,
Sugar and cream.

In stitches means laughing.  A pain in the side from walking fast is also called a stitch.

To button-hole someone means to stand talking to someone about a topic they may be able to help with.  I always think of the button-holes on lapels of jackets where flowers may be worn.  It sounds as if the person has caught hold of their victim by the lapels!

Bursting at the seams means too tight.  In David Copperfield Mrs Peggotty had trouble with her buttons!

Pin sharp can be used to describe a distant view on a clear day.

Pins and needles describes the tingling sensation, when he blood begins to circulate properly after sitting awkwardly or kneeling down for some time.

It’s a snip a bargain, perhaps following a price cut.

Pick holes in…
…means criticise or find the weak points.

A production line is a conveyor belt in a factory where the workers each have a specific task to do.  The article being made moves along and has something added by each one.  If people working at home produce several similar items in a short time, they may liken it to a production line.

Miniskirts first came into fashion in the Swinging Sixties.  The correct length was found by kneeling on the floor and measuring up four inches.  Skirts stay in position at the waist unlike dresses, which can move upwards if the wearer raises her arms, for instance.

Midi-skirts became fashionable a little later.  They were mid-calf length and very practical in winter.

Hot pants were very short shorts.

Changing fashions could be included in the phrases It’s all part of life’s rich pattern and It’s all part of the tapestry of life.  Tapestry is a craft I enjoy.  It is interesting that the tapestries hanging on the walls of stately homes were woven, whereas modern tapestry kits involve stitching.  The most famous tapestry is the Bayeux tapestry, which depicts a famous episode in the histories of England and France.


William and Harold were rivals for a throne.
Photo credit Wikimedia commons http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bayeux_hawking.jpg

Tailor-made or made-to measure  is in contrast to off the peg.  A tailor is a man who makes gentlemen’s clothes to their individual measurements.  If something turns out to be a very good fit someone might remark, “It could have been tailor-made”.  Or if it is not clothing, “tailor-made for the job”.  Off the peg clothes are in standard sizes.

Inside out is a phrase I really like.  The inside of a garment has been turned outward and it is inside out.  Tailors and dressmakers do most of their work with garments turned inside out.  It means all the seams are out of sight when they are worn.

Patching is an old  method of repairing cloth.  Patched knees are usually evidence of a fall, which may have resulted in hurt knees and torn trousers.  Patched elbows on a jacket may be there to prevent wear and prolong the life of the garment.  Leather is often used as it is stronger than woollen cloth.

Darning is a way of mending knitted items using a needle threaded with matching yarn.  The edges are neatened and the hole is filled by weaving over an area including the hole.

The seamy side (of a place, for example) is rough and not fit to be seen.

A seamless whole is an expression about something which seems perfect, without a visible join.  Knitting in the round (circular knitting) achieves this result.

I mentioned (in an earlier post) the soldiers casting lots for Jesus’ clothes when he was crucified.  The reason for this was that his tunic was seamless and they did not wish to tear it to divide it between them.  John Chapter 19 verses 23-24