There's more than one way to skin a cat: The Spoof tests some English proverbs and sayings

Funny story written by Paxton Quigley

Tuesday, 26 November 2013


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Tiddles disputes our research before the RPCA intervenes

Tiddles lies shivering in front of the fire, swathed in bandages and looking at me accusingly while I await the knock on the door. The vet said he was calling the RSPCA after what I had done and those interfering busybodies will be here soon. It was all in the name of a good cause, I tell Tiddles, but he still looks at me in that way and refuses to purr. What is his problem?

Our verdict: It's probably true that there is more than one way to skin a cat, but maybe the cat needs to be anaesthetised to stop it putting up a fight or, better still, it should be dead.

You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.

Unfortunately The Spoof wouldn't pay for us to rent a horse for this research, so once again we enlisted the assistance of Tiddles by not giving him any milk or water for a couple of days, or it might have been a week, we're not quite sure. Anyway, we took Tiddles to the pond on Tooting Bec Common and the little bugger absolutely refused to drink from it, no matter how much he was encouraged. Eventually, in frustration we threw him in and now the RSPCA have removed him from the premises under their cat protection programme. Heathens.

Our verdict: It could be true, but a horse would have made all the difference.

All roads lead to Rome.

The best way to test this one was to get out on the road. From Balham, our nearest motorway is the M4 so we jumped into Old Smokey, our trusty 1980s Trabant, and put our foot down, reaching its top speed after five minutes of hard acceleration. At 35 mph the world seems like a different place, going past in a blur, and in what seemed like no time at all but was actually 13 hours, we reached the end of the M4 and found ourselves in….bloody Wales.

Our verdict: False. The Romans must have lost their map and compass, who wants to go to Wales after all?

Don't spoil the ship for a ha'porth of tar.

We had to give this one a miss. There are plenty of ships in the River Thames but where the hell can you get a ha'porth of tar these days?

Our verdict: Search me.

Too many cooks spoil the broth.

It was easy to test this one, we called respected celebrity chef Mr. Gordon Ramsay at his new restaurant "The Swearing Idiot" and explained our task. His response was as follows:

"Nobody interferes with my cooking, now fuck off."

Our verdict: Probably true, we're not going to argue.

You can't put those down a bidet.

This is a fairly recent proverb, invented when yours truly was sharing a freezing flat in Willesden with some old school friends in the 1970s during Ted Heath's programme for economic recovery, otherwise known as the Three Day Week. It was quoted as the result of a horrendous fart from "Brammo" during a heated discussion on the merits of French plumbing, to which our token northerner Crossley riposted with the now infamous words "you can't put those down a bidet". Testing this theory meant a surreptitious visit to our local B&Q near Wandsworth Bridge after a heavy lunch of beans on toast. While in the bathroom section and when no-one was looking I quickly dropped my trolleys and let rip in the nearest bidet.

Our verdict: False. You can indeed put those down a bidet, but don't let the shop assistants grab you and escort you from the premises.

The funny story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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