Monday 25 March 2013

Peas and Queues

Source: viaJanice on Pinterest

Peas and Queues

‘Remember your Ps and Q,’ was a common reminder to children when I was growing up. I wonder if today’s children receive the same advice and if they then regard it with consternation or curiosity.’

‘Remember your peas’ – does that mean I have to remember to eat them, to grow them, to cook them, to buy them? I don’t like peas – do I still have to remember them?

‘Remember your queues’ – does that mean don’t push into the queue but line up nicely, joining the queue at the back and ‘waiting your turn,’?

I don’t suppose they learn the little verse I was taught as a child and which I have attempted to teach to generations of children unfortunate enough to pass under my teacherly gaze:

There’s a magic little word
That works wonders when it’s heard
Though it sometimes seems to lose itself with ease,
But there’s such a charm about it
That we cannot do without it
And that magic little word is only

Ahh, sweetJ

I sometimes wonder if manners are ever taught to children. An item in the morning news astounded me. A school in England has banned the provision of triangular flapjacks because the points are too sharp! A boy was hurt during a food fight when a triangular flapjack hit him in the face causing injury sufficient for him to be taken to hospital for treatment. The food fight took place in the school canteen. 

Several thoughts occurred to me simultaneously, some of them unrepeatable, chief among which was, ‘Whatever happened to common sense?’ Surely the primary objective should be to address the poor behaviour of children supposedly eating on school premises. Does no-one supervise these children and tell them that throwing food is unacceptable and that the food is there to be eaten, not used as a missile in gang warfare? (I must here confess that when I was at school the shortbread occasionally served to us was so hard it bounced when ‘dropped’ on the floor – but we threw it at the floor, not at each other!)

I wonder how long it will be before pens, pencils, rulers, scissors are all banished from schools because they are too dangerous. Wax crayons, too, should be removed from infant classrooms – I had two little boys in one class who on the same morning stuffed crayons into their noses. One boy was lucky – the crayon was ejected naturally. I had to take the other child to his doctor! No lasting harm was done.

And now manners dictate that I must apologise to my faithful followers because I have not responded to your comments. You may remember that my granddaughter, Marnie, was having a troublesome pregnancy and Dorothy, my elderly mother-in-law, was going into occasional hibernation.  Marnie’s baby was born on 12th March, fit and well and beautiful, naturally, though I have yet to see her in the flesh. A week later, on 19th March it was Dorothy’s 96th birthday. She was suffering from pneumonia and died a day later. Her passing was a relief to us all, not least to Dorothy herself – the person she was had departed many years ago and the stranger in her place was unpredictable and difficult. The funeral is at the beginning of April. 

Meanwhile, Barry’s brother is undergoing a third round of chemotherapy, so all in all both Barry and I have been somewhat ‘scattered.’ My resolve to be a better blogger in 2013 has not been honoured but I hope things will return to a more normal state of affairs and my concentration will improve and I shall be able to visit your blogs more regularly. I plan also to try and finish at least one of the books I’m writing.

As for the kittens . . . more to follow laterJ (News, that is, not kittens . . . )


  1. Oh, Janice, how could anyone fault you and Barry under these circumstances? (Or any circumstances?)
    You have been busy being a mother, grandmother (congratulations!), wife, and daughter-in-law. No need to apologize to anyone.
    I am curious, however, about kittens.
    Luv, K

  2. Hi Janice .. you absolutely cannot be here .. there's many more important places to be, to be recovering from, to be with, to be at the end of the phone for news, for just generally being ..

    a new life is the best - to replace the well lived 96+ one day life .. my uncle lived to one day less .. but he died happy ... up a ladder, or from it ..

    The newbie will be around when she's meant to be .. so pleased all was happily delivered ..

    With many thoughts - Hilary

  3. I'm so sorry you've had so many family health issues lately. Congratulations on the great-grandchild. I'm glad all went well with the delivery.
    I agree with you about children and manners. Society would certainly be better off if we could do a better job of minding those P's and Q's.

  4. Oh goodness, take care Janice. Family first.

  5. Hi Janice - you've been through the emotional turmoil this month!

    Forgive me but I'm going to be say something someone else may have already done - I always thought minding your p's and q's was to do with the the line going to the front of the circle or the back of it - they are a mirrored letter ... sorry too pedantic I know.

  6. Congrats to your new grandchild ! I am happy to hear that finally the baby was in good health !
    I read your were quiet busy with family duties of course then it's difficult to blog. The behavior of school kids must be international. They complain in Belgium, in Germany, in Italy, everywhere it is the same. But I also remember that my grandma complained about the kids ! who have been our parents later, lol !

  7. I've been waiting to hear of news of the baby. So glad she's safe and healthy. I'm so sorry to hear about Dorothy. But she's at peace now. And I hope Barry's brother gets through this next round.

    You take care of yourself and don't worry about being a "bad blogger". Who cares about blogging when you have such a life right now. You come back when you can.

  8. No need to apologize, Janice. You have a busy, exciting life. It's difficult to be a consistent blogger.

    I've been getting posts up, but it's extremely difficult to keep visiting regularly because life tends to intrude... usually in a good way, but sometimes because we have things to deal with.

  9. I forgot to mention that I think children aren't quite as mannerly as they used to be in the US either.

  10. I'm so glad the baby arrived and mother and baby are well. Wonderful. You have been going through a lot. I'm sorry and hope Barry's brother will do well on chemo. I can't blog as much as I used to either for many reasons. No worries.

  11. Ps and Qs were drummed into me from an early age. So please, thank you for this post.

  12. No wonder you are not able to blog as frequently as we would like! As for the food fight, I absolutely despair of what is happening in our schools. Can you imagine, here in CA our high school have armed guards patrolling! Children have always been children, they're not innately worse than we or our grand parents were. They are just not trained or taught good behavior. We adults have capitulated because we are afraid of harming their egos. (Sorry, -- my rant! As a retired principal it is a subject that is of great frustration to me.)


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