Admiral Nelson Gives Us Another Expression!

Dear Reader:

Poor Horation Nelson…as if literally ending up “in a perpetual pickle” wasn’t enough to remember him by…another popular expression derives directly from this gentleman, too, which might have later (indirectly) caused his death….another problem that lead to “ending up in a pickle.”  

The best-known example of Nelson’s apparently cavalier approach to orders is the Battle of Copenhagen, at which time Nelson put his telescope to his blind eye and announced that he could not see the signal calling on him to end the action and retreat (Nelson had lost the sight of one eye during an shore attack on Cadiz, when a cannonball impact sprayed sand and pebbles into his face).

In fact, a retreat would not only have wasted the initiative, but Nelson’s ships would have been forced to retreat across the line of fire from a still-active section of the Danish defenses.

So Nelson turned to his flag-captain and said, ‘Foley, you know that I have lost an eye, and have a right to be blind sometimes.‘  Then he raised his telescope to his blind eye and said, “I can honestly say that I really do not see the signal.” Fight on!”

Nelson went on to win the battle and to negotiate an armistice, followed by a peace agreement. And the phrase that we use today?…

” To Turn a Blind Eye”

Meaning: To ignore situations, facts, or reality

Origin: The British Naval hero, Admiral Horatio Nelson, had one blind eye (his right eye). Once when the British forces signaled for him to stop attacking a fleet of Danish ships, he held up a telescope to his blind eye and said, “I do not see the signal.” He attacked, nevertheless, and was victorious.


Many historians believe, however, that it was this physical impairment that cost him his life at the famous naval ‘Battle of Trafalgar’ when he was shot by one of the enemy sneaking up on him from his right side. He didn’t see the enemy until the “killer musket shot” had been fired.

Jumping from Admiral Nelson to George Washington…I remember an interesting tidbit told on the Mount Vernon tour. When Washington was retired and living there after the Presidency he still entertained guests about 65% of the year. Some people he knew and some he didn’t…they just stayed on and on.

He even wrote the name of one such guest in his journal and said that the strange man finally left after months of an ‘over-extended’ visitation. Washington didn’t even know who he was. So he decided  to use the English custom/ tactic of “giving him the cold shoulder.”

Give a cold shoulder

Meaning: Being unwelcoming or antisocial toward someone

Origin: In medieval England, it was customary to give a guest a cold piece of meat from the shoulder of mutton, pork, or beef chop when the host felt it was time for the guest to leave. This was a polite way to communicate, “You may leave, now!

I think it is time for me to leave now too….So until tomorrow: If you want to “butter someone up” why not amuse them with today’s word origins… concluding with this expression.

Butter someone up

Meaning: To impress someone with flattery

Origin: This was a customary religious act in ancient India. The devout would throw butter balls at the statues of their gods to seek favor and forgiveness.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh (Except it has been “Hotter than blue blazes” these past few days…loving the cooler break today and the garden is loving the rain!)

Kaitlyn and Tommy made it to West Cork, Ireland from Dublin (driving on the left side of the road) without getting mowed down…so they were happy as well as all their family back home! They are staying right on the ocean at Incheydoney Island Lodge…beautiful views!







After getting settled into their new “digs” they went to see one of Ireland’s most popular attractions…The Rock of Cashel…or the Rock of St. Patrick. Cashel literally mean a circular stone fort in Gaelic.

*This is a picture of the Rock of Cashel on a sunnier day with the sun going down…spectacular in beauty! (below)

*Kaitlyn…don’t let the one-eyed raven, the snarly snakes, or the devil get you….hang on!!!!


According to an old Irish legend, the Rock of Cashel appeared as a result of the devil taking a bite from a tall mountain called the Devil’s Bit located 20 miles north of Cashel. A piece of rock fell from the devil’s mouth and gave start to what we now know as a Rock of Cashel.

St. Patrick enters the story as the hero beating out the devil and his two snarly snakes (one of the reasons why there are no snakes in Ireland today) by banishing him from the sacred ground.

The ” Shamrock”( the symbol of Ireland) is also believed to have a connection with the famous Rock of Cashel.. According to another legend, St Patrick later plucked a tree-leaf clover in the attempt to show the significance of the Holy Trinity during the conversion of the King of Munster into Christianity, thus making the shamrock clover Ireland’s main symbol.

These stories are “manna from heaven” for a retired history teacher! Keep having fun Tommy and Kaitlyn while Boo ‘eats up all the history!’

Pictures of moms and children are always a delight on Mother’s Day!

  Back from Disney!   

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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