My mum passed five years this November. She lived to the grand old age of 89, but her legacy lives on. She had a great sense of humour and was very quick-witted.   She had a saying or quote for every eventuality in life. I wish I had recorded them all.

As a child growing up, she would say stuff; I would roll my eyes, and pay very little attention but comfortingly, now as an adult find myself repeating them.

I am British born but of Guyanese descent and so I want to share you with you a couple of quotes I grew up with. I’ve translated them from broken English dialect as it will be easier to understand:

  • The Hog asked his mother, why is your mouth so long and she said, don’t worry, yours is coming. Which means your parents could look a certain way when you are young -which may not seem very attractive – only to find when you get older you look just like them.
  • Do not take a torchlight to see in the night what you can see in the day – sometimes in relationships, you are oblivious to the behaviour of you partner or friend, while it is staring you in the face, but you refuse to see it.
  • Play fool to catch wise – sometimes you have to pretend you don’t know as much as you do to achieve your goals.
  • Her absolute favourite: You cannot suck a bone and blow a whistle at the same time – as a young man, I would be out burning candles at both ends, partying and studying, so much so that I failed one of my exams. When I told her that was her salutary reply.
  • Monkey knows which tree to climb – we often know who and what we can get away with.
  • My dad was the academic and was known for reciting famous poems or verses – when he died; this Minnie Louise Haskins poem continued to be one of her favourites:


And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:

“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”

And he replied:

“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.

That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

This means if you stand at the gate of a new year on New Year’s Eve and want to know what the next year holds for you, put your life in god’s hand and believe in yourself, that will be to you better than any fortune teller giving you a  prediction.