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Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers

Wyrd Sister 03 May 09 - 07:32 AM
Emma B 03 May 09 - 07:43 AM
Dave Hunt 03 May 09 - 09:33 AM
Flash Company 03 May 09 - 10:01 AM
Peter the Squeezer 03 May 09 - 10:46 AM
Martin Graebe 03 May 09 - 10:56 AM
Emma B 03 May 09 - 10:57 AM
RTim 03 May 09 - 11:41 AM
greg stephens 04 May 09 - 06:51 AM
GUEST,Johnny Beezer 04 May 09 - 07:36 AM
Acorn4 04 May 09 - 01:06 PM
Folkiedave 04 May 09 - 02:02 PM
mandotim 04 May 09 - 02:29 PM
Xicon 04 May 09 - 03:56 PM
Noreen 04 May 09 - 06:09 PM
Wyrd Sister 05 May 09 - 05:36 AM
GUEST,Jim Martin 05 May 09 - 05:41 AM
Hamish 05 May 09 - 06:02 AM
bubblyrat 05 May 09 - 06:21 AM
Backwoodsman 05 May 09 - 07:24 AM
IanC 05 May 09 - 08:02 AM
TenorTwo 05 May 09 - 08:29 AM
RoyH (Burl) 05 May 09 - 09:14 AM
GUEST,glueman 05 May 09 - 09:18 AM
GUEST,Edthefolkie 05 May 09 - 10:39 PM
GUEST,carol jones 15 May 09 - 12:21 PM
GUEST 17 Jul 09 - 11:20 AM
Mrs_Annie 17 Jul 09 - 02:24 PM
GUEST,Vannda 20 Mar 10 - 01:22 PM
Rusty Dobro 20 Mar 10 - 02:20 PM
greg stephens 20 Mar 10 - 03:22 PM
vectis 20 Mar 10 - 05:27 PM
Newport Boy 21 Mar 10 - 01:05 PM
Dave the Gnome 21 Mar 10 - 01:26 PM
Boston Bass 22 Mar 10 - 04:31 AM
GUEST 22 Mar 10 - 03:02 PM
GUEST,Ali K 05 Apr 10 - 11:10 AM
GUEST,Bob from Bedford 19 Apr 10 - 06:21 AM
GUEST 19 Apr 10 - 07:14 AM
RamblinStu 19 Apr 10 - 09:41 AM
Stu 19 Apr 10 - 10:33 AM
GUEST,Pete 19 Apr 10 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,Ray green 21 May 10 - 12:02 AM
GUEST,Jim Martin 21 May 10 - 07:50 AM
GUEST,Marg 19 Jul 10 - 10:04 PM
RTim 19 Jul 10 - 10:40 PM
Young Buchan 20 Jul 10 - 02:07 PM
GUEST,Jiggerwill 21 Jul 10 - 03:20 AM
buddhuu 21 Jul 10 - 05:28 AM
GUEST,Northener 07 Aug 10 - 03:03 PM
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Subject: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: Wyrd Sister
Date: 03 May 09 - 07:32 AM

Have any of you heard of the saying "It's looking a bit dark/black over Bill's mothers", meaning approaching rain or threatening clouds? I know it from Sheffield, hubby's mother was from Nottinghamshire and knew it from there, and this weekend I heard it used by someone originally from Stoke.

I'm just curious as to how widespread the saying is, or if there are other regional variants, so come on Catters!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: Emma B
Date: 03 May 09 - 07:43 AM

It was a common expression here in Cheshire too although childhood queries as to who Bill, or his mother, was never really got a reply.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: Dave Hunt
Date: 03 May 09 - 09:33 AM

Also in the Black Country as - 'I's (looking)a bit black at the back of Bill's mothers'


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: Flash Company
Date: 03 May 09 - 10:01 AM

Again in Cheshire as 'It's lookin' a bit black o'er our Bill's'

FC


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: Peter the Squeezer
Date: 03 May 09 - 10:46 AM

It's a common expression round Notts / Derbys / Leics, but nobody seems to know who Bill or his mother are / were.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: Martin Graebe
Date: 03 May 09 - 10:56 AM

Shan's family (Londoners) have it the other way round - 'Its looking brighter over Will's mother's."

Martin


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: Emma B
Date: 03 May 09 - 10:57 AM

According to The Phrase Finder
'The Revd P.W. Gallop, Hampshire, wrote in 1994 that he had traced the saying to eleven counties and commented on its age....... suggests that the saying has been used at least by several generations'


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: RTim
Date: 03 May 09 - 11:41 AM

My mother used it often when I was a child in south Hampshire (abutting the New Forest) - but I seemed to remember she said "Will's mothers"
Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: greg stephens
Date: 04 May 09 - 06:51 AM

As far as I can remember, I've only heard it used in Cheshire and Stoke(N Staffs).


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: GUEST,Johnny Beezer
Date: 04 May 09 - 07:36 AM

Very common in the Black Country in my experience.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: Acorn4
Date: 04 May 09 - 01:06 PM

Very common in East Sussex used by my grandparents.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: Folkiedave
Date: 04 May 09 - 02:02 PM

Yep, Sheffield/Chesterfield area. Said by my mother.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: mandotim
Date: 04 May 09 - 02:29 PM

Oldham usage, as I recall, was 'Annie's mothers'.
Tim


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: Xicon
Date: 04 May 09 - 03:56 PM

We used the saying "A bit black over Bill's mothers " meaning rain visible in the distance, in Essex about 20 years ago, not heard it since I've been in North Lancashire.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: Noreen
Date: 04 May 09 - 06:09 PM

I've only ever heard it since moving down to Worcestershire (It's black over Bill's mother's).
Never heard it where I grew up in Lancashire, nor when living in Sheffield.

Thought it was a very local thing here- fascinating to know that other people know of it!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: Wyrd Sister
Date: 05 May 09 - 05:36 AM

Thanks folks - I too thought it was local. The spread made me wonder if it had been on some pre-war radio show ("Shall I do you now sir?" and so on) but Emma B's post suggests otherwise...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: GUEST,Jim Martin
Date: 05 May 09 - 05:41 AM

Used to be very common in N.Bucks/S.Beds area but not sure whether it was Will's or Bill's mothers!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: Hamish
Date: 05 May 09 - 06:02 AM

Yup! My missus's grandmother used to say "It's looking black over Will's mother's". Born and bred in south-west Herts. She'd have been about 110 years old this year if'n she'd not died that is. She doesn't say much at all these days.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: bubblyrat
Date: 05 May 09 - 06:21 AM

I have been saying it for years, only it has always been (in West Sussex and Oxfordshire) "WILF'S mother's place" (which I think sounds better anyway).


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 05 May 09 - 07:24 AM

Here in The Darkest Backwoods of N.W. Lincolnshire, it's 'black o'er granny's".


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: IanC
Date: 05 May 09 - 08:02 AM

I wonder if the East Anglian usage "all round Will's mothers" is related. Usually used to mean you have gone an unnecessarily long way.

Clearly means "over yonder" in both.

Are there any other Will's Mother / Bill's Mother usages?

:-)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: TenorTwo
Date: 05 May 09 - 08:29 AM

Here on the southern edge of Suffolk, "that's black over Bill's mother's" - and, today, it is. As for "all around ...", here that's "All round Ipswich to get to the Cornhill", a usage which predates the one-way system but is now truer than it ever was, and can either mean physical distance or taking a long time to get to the point of a story.

T2


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 05 May 09 - 09:14 AM

I grew up on the Notts -Derby border. This saying was commonly used in our house, and by my wider family and neighbours, to signal the approach of rainy weather. We said 'It looks black over Bill's mothers', usually pronouncing 'mother's' to rhyme with 'bothers'. Burl.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 05 May 09 - 09:18 AM

My mother, Staffs moorlands origins, born in WW1 said, "It's black over Bill's mothers" to describe dark cloud in the distance. She recalled her mother saying it so it's Victorian at least.

Another interesting Midland saying is 'a monkey's wedding' meaning rain falling in bright sunshine. The only official time I've heard the expression used was on Test Match Special for describing the same conditions.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: GUEST,Edthefolkie
Date: 05 May 09 - 10:39 PM

I can confirm Burl's posting about the saying being common on the Notts/Derbys border and the pronunciation of "mother". And it were always "black" ovver theer. I suppose we're including DH Lawrence country here and I used to hear it all the time in Eastwood, along wi' a lot of theein' and thaain' me duck.

I wish I could remember more of my maternal grandparents' local pronunciation (Beeston/Long Eaton)- I do remember my grandma pronouncing the city of Derby like the US hat rather than "Darby".


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: GUEST,carol jones
Date: 15 May 09 - 12:21 PM

A bit black over Will's mother's was used by my parents in Norfolk and I still use it today.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 11:20 AM

"A bit black over Will's mother's" was used by my father and my grandparents in South Lincolnshire.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: Mrs_Annie
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 02:24 PM

'black over Will's mother's was often said by my mum who is North Herts born & bred.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: GUEST,Vannda
Date: 20 Mar 10 - 01:22 PM

Hi, we use this here in Leicester, but friends in Manchester had never heard of it.....something to do with William Shakespear - Stratford Upon Avon.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 20 Mar 10 - 02:20 PM

On the Suffolk/Norfolk border, 1950's: 'Tha'ss wholly black over Will's mother's!'


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: greg stephens
Date: 20 Mar 10 - 03:22 PM

Taking a broad look at the spread of people here, there seems to be a pretty clear division(as regards north south): the expression is known in Cheshire, Staffs, Black country, Brum, but not in Lancashire or Cumbria. The north/south dividing line in the east seems to go through Sheffield.
This is just as regards the Bill/Will variants. Other people's mothers can be found north of the border I have identified.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: vectis
Date: 20 Mar 10 - 05:27 PM

Definitely not heard on the Isle of Wight before I left in the early 1970s.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: Newport Boy
Date: 21 Mar 10 - 01:05 PM

My father used 'black over Will's mother's' in South Wales - 1940's on. He always said this looking from our window NW towards Twmbarlwm (our 'mountain'). I always assumed it was Uncle Will's mother's - Will lived in Rogerstone, just below Twmbarlwm.

Seems from the discussion that his father might have brought the phrase from Shropshire when the family moved down in 1886-88. There was a big influx of steelworkers from Hadley, Shropshire when Nettlefolds opened a new works in S Wales.

Phil


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 21 Mar 10 - 01:26 PM

Definitely in use in this part of Lancashire - Swinton.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: Boston Bass
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 04:31 AM

The current Mrs Bass brought from her South Lincolnshire farming family..
"It's a bit black o'er Jacks tates"


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Mar 10 - 03:02 PM

'Wilf's mother' in Hampshire/ Dorset border


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: GUEST,Ali K
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 11:10 AM

"It isn't half black over Will's mother's."

Surrey.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: GUEST,Bob from Bedford
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 06:21 AM

My family were from Northampton and Bedford. The expression "All around Will's Mothers" was in common use and generally denoted taking a long way round to get somewhere.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 07:14 AM

Will's mother's in Brum when I was growing up, although my mum said it and she is Welsh.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: RamblinStu
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 09:41 AM

It was definitely spoken of as, "It's looking black over Will's mother's" in North Essex, fifty or so years ago

Interestingly there is an expression used in Barbados that states, "It's looking black over the breadfruit trees". Perhaps this is because they can see neither Bill nor Will's mother's property from Barbados

Stuart Pendrill


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: Stu
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 10:33 AM

The guest before RamblinStu's post was me, no cookie for some reason.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: GUEST,Pete
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 01:14 PM

My parents used the "Our Bills mothers" version and they were both born and raised in Portsmouth,(like me). Well to the south of England.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: GUEST,Ray green
Date: 21 May 10 - 12:02 AM

Weather patterns in the Midlands tend to come from the direction of Stratford upon Avon. The Bill in question is Shakespeare


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: GUEST,Jim Martin
Date: 21 May 10 - 07:50 AM

I always thought they were from the Cheshire Gap!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: GUEST,Marg
Date: 19 Jul 10 - 10:04 PM

Its a bit black over Wills mothers - my mother used to say this when a storm was approaching - Croydon, Greater London, Surrey


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: RTim
Date: 19 Jul 10 - 10:40 PM

I said it this afternoon, "It's black over our Will's mothers" - to my wife, here on Cape Cod!!

It then poured and poured!

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: Young Buchan
Date: 20 Jul 10 - 02:07 PM

It was greatly popularised by the TV commentators on Test Cricket. There would regularly be a shot of dark clouds in the distance, and one of the commentators would be sure to say it was looking dark over Bill's wife's mother's.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: GUEST,Jiggerwill
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 03:20 AM

In North Shropshire this is a common expression along with "It's looking dark over Annie's"


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: buddhuu
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 05:28 AM

Luton beds: I recall my parents, grandparents and others from the 1960s onwards using:

"It's looking black over old Will's mother's."


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dark over Bill's mothers
From: GUEST,Northener
Date: 07 Aug 10 - 03:03 PM

I always understood Bill was william of Orange and his mothers was Holland so Here on the east coast weather far out at sea was 'a bit black oor Bill's Mothers'


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