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BS: Bob's Your Uncle!

wysiwyg 04 Oct 18 - 01:55 PM
Will Fly 04 Oct 18 - 02:05 PM
Raggytash 04 Oct 18 - 02:22 PM
wysiwyg 04 Oct 18 - 02:40 PM
Jos 04 Oct 18 - 03:01 PM
Raggytash 04 Oct 18 - 03:23 PM
Raggytash 04 Oct 18 - 03:27 PM
Joe Offer 04 Oct 18 - 03:35 PM
wysiwyg 04 Oct 18 - 03:42 PM
Senoufou 04 Oct 18 - 04:46 PM
robomatic 04 Oct 18 - 09:00 PM
wysiwyg 04 Oct 18 - 10:12 PM
Dave Hanson 05 Oct 18 - 02:54 AM
Senoufou 05 Oct 18 - 03:43 AM
Will Fly 05 Oct 18 - 04:05 AM
Senoufou 05 Oct 18 - 04:17 AM
Big Al Whittle 05 Oct 18 - 04:41 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Oct 18 - 05:07 AM
Jos 05 Oct 18 - 06:01 AM
Big Al Whittle 05 Oct 18 - 06:16 AM
wysiwyg 05 Oct 18 - 11:06 AM
wysiwyg 15 Oct 18 - 08:06 AM
Senoufou 15 Oct 18 - 08:44 AM
Raggytash 15 Oct 18 - 12:28 PM
Dave the Gnome 15 Oct 18 - 12:48 PM
Raggytash 15 Oct 18 - 01:09 PM
Senoufou 15 Oct 18 - 01:30 PM
Helen 15 Oct 18 - 02:34 PM
Stilly River Sage 30 Oct 18 - 10:50 AM
wysiwyg 30 Oct 18 - 10:57 AM
frogprince 30 Oct 18 - 08:29 PM
olddude 31 Oct 18 - 12:28 AM
Stilly River Sage 31 Oct 18 - 10:28 AM
olddude 31 Oct 18 - 10:55 AM
gnu 01 Nov 18 - 05:06 PM
olddude 01 Nov 18 - 09:16 PM
Mr Red 02 Nov 18 - 03:59 AM
Helen 02 Nov 18 - 05:13 AM
JennieG 02 Nov 18 - 11:33 AM
Senoufou 02 Nov 18 - 12:57 PM
Helen 02 Nov 18 - 02:00 PM
JennieG 02 Nov 18 - 02:36 PM
Senoufou 02 Nov 18 - 03:09 PM
Helen 02 Nov 18 - 04:24 PM
Mr Red 05 Nov 18 - 03:13 AM
Senoufou 05 Nov 18 - 03:24 AM
Mr Red 07 Nov 18 - 05:10 AM
keberoxu 08 Nov 18 - 12:41 AM

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Subject: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 Oct 18 - 01:55 PM

For years I've used this phrase whenever hubby or I have solved something particularly cleverly. One day a good friend actually named Bob solved something for us; an older, childless gentleman known all through the town for his creative, anonymous generosity... who also had a lot of blood-related nieces and nephews and younger cousins.... so he got to be affectionately called Uncle Bob.

On the day he solved our problem, I blurted out, "OH! You're THAT Uncle Bob!" He grinned in his genteel, gratified way as I explained the "Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus" moment I was having. He unexpectedly passed that same year. We miss him, and especially remember him every time that phrase pops out, now, and find ourselves shedding a tear of thanks.


So what clever bodges and solutions have made you use that phrase? (And where did the phrase come from?)

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Oct 18 - 02:05 PM

Robert "Bob" Cecil, a British Prime Minister, appointed his nephew Arthur Balfour to a post in the government - no qualification for it other than having a powerful uncle!


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Raggytash
Date: 04 Oct 18 - 02:22 PM

wysiwyg,

There is a fabulous book entitled "Brewers Guide to Phrase and Fable"

It is full of information about the sources of phrases that many of us use on a regular basis. It is a joy to peruse.

Could I suggest that you could be interested in it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 Oct 18 - 02:40 PM

Rags, if I could afford it!

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Jos
Date: 04 Oct 18 - 03:01 PM

I don't know where you are in the world, but have you tried e-bay? I just put in a search and found many, many copies, plenty of them very reasonably priced.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Raggytash
Date: 04 Oct 18 - 03:23 PM

Hang the cost Wysiwyg, you'll spend hours of joy reading it.

I used to keep a copy on my bedside table and read a bit each and every night. Funny, surely, enlightening , certainly and just damn good fun.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Raggytash
Date: 04 Oct 18 - 03:27 PM

Wysiwyg, A quick look on the internet tells me I can get a second hand copy for $7. It will possibly be the most entertaining $7 you have EVER spent!


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Oct 18 - 03:35 PM

I often see copies of Brewer's for a buck. It's very common. It has been revised countless times. I think there are several older, public domain versions available online, like this one:
And, of course, Google has lots of opinions about the origins of "Bob's Your Uncle." The phrase never made much sense to me, because Bob's my father. My siblings occasionally made fun of their father for his name, but I always thought that three-letter names like Bob and Joe were a sign of nobility....Dad and I were the only ones in the family with three-letter names.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 Oct 18 - 03:42 PM

Thanks, all, for all the origins tips and book suggestuons-- any stories about when you actually used the phrase?

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Senoufou
Date: 04 Oct 18 - 04:46 PM

I remember listening to Billy Cotton's Band Show on the radio in the fifties. It always started with him shouting, "Wakey WAAAAAAAKEY!" (he had a London accent)
One of his songs was, "Bob's yer uncle and Fanny's yer aunt!"

I also liked "I've got a luvverly bunch of coconuts..."

Everyone says 'Bob's your uncle', it's heard everywhere.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: robomatic
Date: 04 Oct 18 - 09:00 PM

I've used the phrase for most of my life, had to explain it a couple times in Alaska, not sure why, but within a week of me explaining it it showed up in the dialogue of one Homer J. Simpson.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 Oct 18 - 10:12 PM

Tell us one time, and what led you to say it?

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 05 Oct 18 - 02:54 AM

We used to say it as, Fanny's your aunt and Bob's your mothers brother.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Senoufou
Date: 05 Oct 18 - 03:43 AM

Here's a rather trivial example:-

I was explaining to a friend a quicker way to make patchwork using a sewing machine. (She'd been laboriously sewing each piece to the next one by hand.) I said, "Just lay strips of material side-by-side, machine them together, cut across the lot in one go, turn and repeat, and Bob's your uncle!"

We sometimes said, "And Robert's your mother's brother."

My husband got terribly confused years ago when I first said to him, "Robert, c'est ton oncle!" His uncle is actually called Moumouni, and he couldn't work out why I would suddenly call him Robert!

'Fanny' is a bit...er...rude here, so people don't say it much nowadays.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Will Fly
Date: 05 Oct 18 - 04:05 AM

I had a great-aunt Fanny she wasn't a bit rude! :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Senoufou
Date: 05 Oct 18 - 04:17 AM

I was livid to hear that The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton (a much-loved book when I was about six) has been interfered with. They've changed the characters' names from Dick and Fanny to Rick and Frannie!

Ans Titty became Tatty in Swallows and Amazons.

Am I right in thinking that in USA, 'fanny' merely means one's backside? It has a slightly different meaning here.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Oct 18 - 04:41 AM

Yes I believe so.

When we were kids. My cousin Bernard got given this book, The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck.

I can't tell you how excited in 1960 two twelve year old boys were to read on page 21 that the hero patted his wife's 'silk covered fanny'

It fuelled our fantasy - how disappointed we would have been to find out that a fanny was a bum!


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Oct 18 - 05:07 AM

""Bob's yer uncle and Fanny's yer aunt!""
I've always know this as a saying
I have always wondered if it has any historical significance

"In 1589, Cecil married Elizabeth Brooke, the daughter of William Brooke, 10th Baron Cobham by his second wife, Frances Newton. Her brothers Henry 11th Lord Cobham and Sir George Brooke were arrested by Cecil for their involvement in the "Main" and "Bye" plots. Sir George Brooke, her younger brother, was executed at Winchester on 5 December 1603 for high treason. "

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Jos
Date: 05 Oct 18 - 06:01 AM

Although I have heard or read it many times over the years, I doubt if I have ever said it myself. It just wouldn't spring to mind while I was talking or writing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Oct 18 - 06:16 AM

I don't think the mind is actually engaged at that point.

As a friend once remarked, - Alan, you have the cliche for every occasion!


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: wysiwyg
Date: 05 Oct 18 - 11:06 AM

Thanks, Sen; can you say more about "fanny"?

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: wysiwyg
Date: 15 Oct 18 - 08:06 AM

Oh my! I Googled Aunt Fanny.

Back to Uncles/Bob-- here just I found another of mine.

https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=72227

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Senoufou
Date: 15 Oct 18 - 08:44 AM

wysisyg, 'fanny' in UK is the vulva or vagina. Also called 'foof' 'noo-noo' 'pussy' and many other words. (I'm a bit too old to know all the latest urban argot.)

The backside is called 'bum' 'arse' 'derriere' 'rear' etc. But never 'fanny'!

But I still think altering the text of much-loved literature is bowdlerisation at its worst. If a girl is called Fanny or Titty, honi soit qui mal y pense!


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Raggytash
Date: 15 Oct 18 - 12:28 PM

I'll have you know that my Grandmother, born in 1889, was called Fanny throughout her life.

The story passed down through the family was that she was born prematurely which was tantamount to a "short" death sentence then.

The doctor put her in a shoe box by the fire and told the family she would not survive the night.

She died in 1974 at the ripe old age of 85.

Bob's your uncle!


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 15 Oct 18 - 12:48 PM

Of course there is always the tale of Fanny and Jonnie Craddock, a very early TV chef prog from the 60s. It is reported that Jonnie once said "I hope all your fairy cakes turn out like Fannys".

:D


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Raggytash
Date: 15 Oct 18 - 01:09 PM

Doughnuts Dave, doughnuts!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Senoufou
Date: 15 Oct 18 - 01:30 PM

Then there's that wet drip Fanny Price in Jane Austen's Mansfield Park.
One of her less successful heroines.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Helen
Date: 15 Oct 18 - 02:34 PM

The expression, "Bob's your Uncle" is very common here in Oz, and the definition of fanny is the same as in the UK. That definition colours all sorts of phrases and situations in Oz which would be fairly neutral in the U.S., e.g. Sweet F.A, or Sweet Fanny Adams.

I had a friend, now deceased, who used to write a very clever, very funny one page article every month in a motorcycle magazine. One of his expressions, both in writing and verbally was, "Robert's your father's sibling". He often used it if he had just explained how to do a complex bit of mechanical work, etc.

This article
'Bob's your uncle' puts forward a reasoned suggestion that the phrase became popular after a music hall song in 1924:

Bob's your uncle
Follow your Uncle Bob
He knows what to do
He'll look after you

The author of the article proposes that the reference to Robert Cecil and his nephew, i.e. the incidence of nepotism, was retrofitted to the phrase after the phrase became popular.

I never liked that nepotism explanation for some reason. Possibly because the place where I have worked for over a decade is totally run on nepotism: "not what you know but who you know", so it gives me an icky feeling even hearing the word nepotism.

Helen


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 30 Oct 18 - 10:50 AM

Mischief managed!


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: wysiwyg
Date: 30 Oct 18 - 10:57 AM

Mysteries solved!

Thanks "whoever"!

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: frogprince
Date: 30 Oct 18 - 08:29 PM

So...Americans mean one thing by "fanny", but Brits and Aussies are more up front about it...


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: olddude
Date: 31 Oct 18 - 12:28 AM

Last known picture of bob

https://www.flickr.com/photos/167824958@N08/45584516142/in/dateposted/


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 31 Oct 18 - 10:28 AM

It seems that photo isn't shared publicly.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: olddude
Date: 31 Oct 18 - 10:55 AM

Try again
https://www.flickr.com/photos/167824958@N08/44736615835/in/dateposted/


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: gnu
Date: 01 Nov 18 - 05:06 PM

I dare say, Bob shit twice. Didn't have a Casull (or a brain). >;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: olddude
Date: 01 Nov 18 - 09:16 PM

Thank you for that photo gnu I laughed all day when you sent it bro


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Mr Red
Date: 02 Nov 18 - 03:59 AM

I had a 1935 copy and a 1960s one. Curiously the 1935 version did explain what a Pure Finder did with their Pure. By the 1960s it had decided it was anachronistic. Despite my collected evidence from two Folkies who worked in a tannery in Colyford, Devon, (late 50s) where they had a shit pit and my informants said it "STANK!".

It was a source of income in the Victorian era - collecting doggy poo! Its alkalinity counters the tannic acid used to tan leather, and makes the leather softer. Moroccan leather tanners still used pigeon guano - and Moroccans keep the birds just to sell the shit.

Now - anyone know what tranklements are? If yo spake Black Cuntry (owr kid) Yo wud no.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Helen
Date: 02 Nov 18 - 05:13 AM

frogprince, I think you should have added "I'll get my hat" after that one-liner.

LOL


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: JennieG
Date: 02 Nov 18 - 11:33 AM

Uncle Bob was one of my husband's uncles, so he was mine by marriage rather than by birth.

A brand name which gives Ozzies a chuckle is the Canadian clothing brand "Roots". In Aussiespeak "to root" is to have sex, so to see a Sweet Young Thing with "Roots" across her bum gives us a chuckle and makes us wondering if she is advertising.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Senoufou
Date: 02 Nov 18 - 12:57 PM

'Tranklements' are what Norfolk folk would call 'yer bits and bobs' or 'gubbins'. (assortment of odds and sods, miscellaneous belongings)

Haha Jennie, that's interesting! There's a field of pigs near us, and they're always 'rooting' in the mud. But it only means they're nosing around for worms and stuff to eat. (They're fed on special pig nuts too, but it's natural for them to root) No sex for them, until the boar arrives annually!


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Helen
Date: 02 Nov 18 - 02:00 PM

Or then there is the old (crude) Oz saying about the wombat. Eats, roots, shoots and leaves.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: JennieG
Date: 02 Nov 18 - 02:36 PM

There is indeed, Helen!

Eliza - The old song about "we'll root, root, for the home team" has been known to send otherwise sane Ozzies into hysterics.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Senoufou
Date: 02 Nov 18 - 03:09 PM

Hee hee Jennie, I bet it does! :)


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Helen
Date: 02 Nov 18 - 04:24 PM

When I was in high school ( a girls' school) the associated boys' high school had an American exchange student who was unfortunately named Randy. He seemed to keep his cool around all the joking schoolboys.

In Oz-speak, being randy is being in a state of high sexual need, i.e. needing a root.

But then again, the one thing I learned for sure when teaching late teen or young male adults, I could have opened a page at random in the dictionary and stuck a pin in a random word and, quick as a flash, they could find a meaning relating to alcohol, sex, drugs etc even where no connection to those subjects was inherent in the word. Subjects close to their hearts (or something else) I suppose. Like a Rorschach test, I guess. You see what means something to you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Mr Red
Date: 05 Nov 18 - 03:13 AM

Oh dear, I need darker glasses!


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Senoufou
Date: 05 Nov 18 - 03:24 AM

TeenageSpeak is a wondrous thing. One never knows if an innocently selected word pronounced by an older person will produce sniggers/embarrassment from a listening youth.

I've noticed that 'cool' seems to be making a come-back. It's decades old (possibly the sixties) but nowadays it's heard quite a bit.

Randy is indeed an unfortunate name and means the same as it does in the Antipodes.

I was very disappointed when young to learn that Rip Torn, an American actor, was actually called Elmore Torn, and the 'Rip' was merely a nickname.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: Mr Red
Date: 07 Nov 18 - 05:10 AM

'Rip' was merely a nickname

Indeed from his youth, a family appellation.

And I too found it amusing and thought it a concoction for the publicity. However when I saw him in a Nixon biopic, and then as Carlo Ponti (Carlo Fortunato Pietro Ponti Sr - Sophia Loren's husband) in another biopic - well, he does a good job of character acting.


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Subject: RE: BS: Bob's Your Uncle!
From: keberoxu
Date: 08 Nov 18 - 12:41 AM

I recall Rip Torn from the Men In Black films. Good comic chops.
Many years ago, many more than the MIB stuff,
he and Geraldine Page were lionized by the theatrical set;
she was older than he,
and has passed on years ago.


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