Recently I remarked to an acquaintance of mine, who has a way with pithy sayings, that he seemed to have a heavy cold or, perhaps, a dreaded new variant of Covid.

His reply was along the lines of "aye, another clean shirt and that'll be me" - implying jocularly, I hope, that he was not long for this world.

The same chap, who happens to have nautical tendencies (and I'm told there's no shame in that), introduced me to the saying, "he's as deep and dirty as the Clyde" when referring to another acquaintance who speaks with forked tongue. In fact, the same untrustworthy person can be said to have "a mouth like the Clyde Tunnel."

This is a variation on that much-loved west of Scotland riposte "do you think I came up the Clyde on a bike (or banana boat)?" when told something by a politician. I had a teacher once - okay, a long time ago - who, when told by a pupil that they had lost their homework, would utter the immortal words, "do you think my head buttons up the back?"

This got me thinking about old Scottish sayings which may be lost as my generation goes to the big library in the sky, if you'll pardon the expression.

Admittedly, some sayings don't appear to be politically correct, which is why I cannot describe a fellow walking footballer to be "as slow as a big wummin” or tell a fellow committee member "away and bile yer heid" when I disagree with a proposition.

Mind you, it seems to be okay for her indoors to tell me that "I'm cruising for a bruising" on the odd occasion that I give her a bit of lip.

Coming from an age when long hair and trouser flares were all the rage (and I've got the pictures to prove it), I recall being told by my old mammy "you've got hair like straw hangin' oot a midden", which, for the benefit of my English readers, meant that I should not be seen in public without brushing my hairstyle. To which, on occasions, my face would be tripping me, meaning I wasn't happy with her observation.

You can tell already that I refer to patter which is shrouded in nostalgia but, without it, a good deal of colour and character will be lost to the local language.

Those of my vintage - bus pass holders - will have their own favourite sayings that their mum or, indeed, grannie tossed about like flour on Pancake Tuesday.

I've always loved the sound of "I could eat a scabby dug" - or dog - if you happen to have missed your lunch and dinner was still hours away.  And life won't be the same in future if the parting shot of "if I don't see you through the week, I'll see you through the windae" is lost to the vernacular, or disappears like snaw aff a dyke. I should explain, in case some are confused, that the latter saying is about snow melting on a wall.

Although my parents are long gone, I still hold on to my childhood exclamation of alarm in uttering "Oh, mammy, daddy" when caught by scoring a goal at my walking football.

Who hasn't worked with someone or, indeed, been on a committee with someone who never seems to contribute anything useful to a project?  In their case, you are entitled to describe him or her as "a waste of space".

By the way, I trust that my analysis of the good old Scottish phraseology has not been a waste of space because that would be "a bummer". Here's hoping this newspaper's "heid bummer" (editor to you) has cracked a smile and that I'm not laughing on the other side of my face.

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My Thought for the Week: Old age is when candlelit dinners are no longer romantic because you can't read the menu.

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I’m afraid to tell you from my sunny Spanish balcony that the Grim Reaper travels.

You know you’re getting old when your most regular day out is to a funeral, which is why I’m glad to see the back of 2023.

After burying my brother in October, I attended in rapid succession the funeral services for two very close friends.and others I knew. 

I have become, through age and 40 years as local editor, the unofficial obituary writer of those I have known in Largs.

I was one of the last persons to speak to George Grant last month as we rehearsed for the Fairlie Panto. He was full of life as I turned and said to him: “Your turn to be on stage.” Up he went, did a comedy act, stepped off and collapsed. He died.

On top of other family issues involving someone in a care home, I flew to the sun for some rest from the doom and gloom. On Christmas Day, one of my friends here died unexpectedly.

It’s just as well I packed black. So, another resolution…don’t take life too seriously; none of us get out of it alive.