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The Weird Sense Behind Proverbs (Or - A Scribbles Exercise For Your Enjoyment)
For those of you who do not know what "Scribbles" is - it is a Creative Writing Group I belong to in Market Harborough.  We meet up to write and to chat once a month.  Some of the exercises we get can have very interesting results (usually because you get five completely different interpretations from five completely different people).

My favourite exercise is the one where we write for five minutes on a word or sentence - this is because I find it concentrates my mind.  The trick is to write the first thing which comes into your head and go from there.

Yesterday at Scribbles we got a rather interesting twist on my favourite exercise.  Instead of writing for five minutes on a word or a sentence - we were asked to write for five minutes on a proverb.

The proverb which was chosen was "Carrying Coals To Newcastle".  (For those of you who have never come across this proverb before it is about doing something which is completely useless.  Newcastle upon Tyne used to be one of the largest coal producing places in the UK.)

Below you will find what my brain came up with.

Carrying Coals to Newcastle reminds me of another saying which is similar in its futility if you attempt to carry it out.  The Dutch version of it translates into "carrying water to the sea".

This has reminded me of the other proverbs which my Mum used to use.  The only trouble is - I am so used to hearing her say them in Dutch I can never remember the English version of them.  Oh - don't worry - I can translate them into the English language but remembering the English equivalent of a phrase informing you that "you cannot pluck feathers from a frog" is hard work.  (I think the English version is "You can't get blood out of a stone".)

As for the English one about cats and bags?  Well - the literal Dutch translation is "There comes the Monkey out of the sleeve".  (I heard a rumour that it could also refer to an Ace - as in the playing card - but I think the "monkey" works better.)

But my favourite Dutch proverb or phrase is the most logical one of the lot.

Instead of telling people not to "borrow tomorrow's troubles" just inform the panicking human that "the soup is never eaten as hot as it is served".

This brings me nicely back to the coals (which can be used to heat the aforementioned soup).


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