How's your belly off for spots?

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How's your belly off for spots?

Postby rp272 » Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:27 pm

In ‘I Shall Wear Midnight’ Nanny Ogg addresses Tiffany Aching thus:
‘Watcha, Tiff! How’s your belly off for spots!’

I am intrigued to find the source of this phrase.

For the latter part of WW2 my father was based at Athi River in Kenya and told me that the phrase “How’s your belly off for spots?” was the proper response to the challenge “Legs All Hairy!”

I am almost positive that Nanny Ogg was never an ‘official’ part of the British Army in East Africa but may of course just been visiting to keep up the men’s morale. She certainly has that sort of reputation.

TP is much too young to have been at Athi River himself (he was born the same year that I was). Perhaps our fathers new each other!
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Re: How's your belly off for spots?

Postby spideyGirl » Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:41 pm

Welcome rp722! :D

I'm none the wiser as to what either of those sayings mean? :think:
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Re: How's your belly off for spots?

Postby Who's Wee Dug » Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:13 pm

Actually dam fine splendid old chap, and welcome to the forum rp722. :mrgreen:
He willnae tak' a drink! I think he's deid! , on the other hand though A Midgie in yir hand is worth twa up yir kilt.
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Re: How's your belly off for spots?

Postby Tonyblack » Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:17 pm

Welcome from me too! :D

Terry is very well read and has often admitted that he doesn't remember where he got a phrase or a name from (Rincewind being a good example). Chances are he read it somewhere.

Interestingly, I just Googled the phrase and Urban Dictionary says it's a Northern English phrase, while another site says it's Kentish. :lol:
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Re: How's your belly off for spots?

Postby Dotsie » Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:14 am

Hi rp272 :D

Perhaps your dad encountered this phrase for the first time in WW2, when in some counties they'd been saying it for years. People can be weird like that ;)
What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!
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Re: How's your belly off for spots?

Postby Oberon » Sat Jan 28, 2012 10:05 am

I'd never heard the phrase before I Shall Wear Midnight so can't help I'm afraid. Welcome to the site rp272.
“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.” (Terry Pratchett).
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Re: How's your belly off for spots?

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sat Jan 28, 2012 2:05 pm

I can remember my parents using it when I was v. small. Definitely a services 'saying' and I'm pretty sure it must have been used on the older radio comedy shows like ITMA (It's that Man Again) or the Navy Lark in a medical exam type scenario? :lol:
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Re: How's your belly off for spots?

Postby deldaisy » Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:46 pm

What language are you people talking?

:lol: :lol: :lol: It made me laugh that someone that thinks "Legs all hairy!" is a perfectly reasonable phrase but "Hows your belly for spots?" is a confusing phrase.

Anyone want to enlighten me to either?
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Re: How's your belly off for spots?

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:11 pm

Erm - I think it's military health check territory... :shifty:

Anything from prickly heat to rampant gangrene on areas not usually open to casual 'kit' inspection :whistle: Also not confined to the belly region when stationed in 'forn' climes where ladies were not known for their personal hygiene when negotiating their affection :angelic-innocent:
"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” George Bernard Shaw
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Re: How's your belly off for spots?

Postby rp272 » Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:47 pm

My father's regiment were in Kenya to protect 'resources' should Rommel's Afrika Korp penetrate that far South. Fortunately Monty stopped him.

If one of the soldiers heard someone lurking in the bush, he would challenge with the phrase 'Legs All Hairy'. If the response was 'Hows Your Belly Off For Spots?" it would indicate a friend. Otherwise they discharged their weapon in the general vicinity of the noise, or 'legged it' back to camp, or both. I understood that a few 'accident' of mistaken identity did occur...
He used to tell the story (several times) of how when the appropriate response was not forthcoming the whole patrol on a word of command each threw a hand grenade into the bush surrounding a watering hole and blew up a hippopotamus!

I'm sure that Terry could easily work this into one of his stories, but it might seem rather too far fetched even for DiscWorld!
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