In their original form, proverbs were pithy expressions of particular ideas, sentiments and caveats, but over the years, many have been corrupted and lost their essential relevance and meaning.
However, there remains a sizeable canon of adages, saws, maxims and aphorisms (See Words, Unnecessary) which are still of use to the modern pensioner.
For instance, ‘pride goes before a fall’ is particularly apt when you trip over a lion at Longleat, while ‘fine words butter no parsnips’ is usually applicable in Harvester restaurants.
‘There’s many a slip twixt cup and lip’ presents one of the rare opportunities to use the word ‘twixt’ in a sentence, and if you inadvertently intrude on a shoemaker in a compromising situation with his female assistant, saying ‘let the cobbler stick to his lass’ before leaving is a thoughtful and non-judgmental remark.
Many pensioners invent their own proverbs to use at funerals or if stopped by the police for speeding (See Wheelchairs), and Ada Gelson, a 69-year-old retired gunsmith from Purley changed her name to Nowta Queerasfolk in 2008 to reflect her acknowledged prowess in the field. Among the scores of new proverbs she has introduced are
‘Where there’s muck there’s another Scottish island nearby.’
‘A fool and his monkey are soon parted.’
and the ubiquitous
‘Each to which have he to what.’
which was awarded the Golden Gnome of 2011.