“Half memoir, half travel, A Yank Back to England...is an absolutely wonderful book, not only about going home again but also about love and family and tradition and the passage of the years.”
—Michael Dirda, Pulitzer Prize-winning literary critic (Washington
To see the entire quote, click here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

One sherry too many

“Is Mum alright, Dad?”
“Don’t wake her, for Gawd’s sake!” Lew’s face registered fear. “She’ll start doing a ‘knees up’ or get all funny. Either way, I’ll never hear the end of it.”
“A knees up?” Frances whispered. I explained it was an East London dance that is only difficult to do if very drunk, which is the only time it is ever performed. A “knees up” requires the linkage of arms, the stomping of feet, and high-kicking legs in order to get the required “knees up” while singing “Knees Up Mother Brown.”
The image of my drunken aunts performing like inebriated Rockettes, trampling on each other’s feet, was not far from my mind.


A Brit in Tennessee said...

Done many a 'knees up' in my days.
There's something about Sherry that seems to trigger a good old "Knees up Mother Brown".....
N'awt wrong with that ;)

parTea lady said...

I don't know about knees up, but I have seen many the drunken congo line. :-)

parTea lady said...

Whoops - I meant "conga".

Anonymous said...

Knees up Mother Brown has to be a British institution. Needs to be preserved... bring on the sherry.