a couple of ants short of a picnic/ tiles short of a bathroom
The list goes on and on.
better an empty house than a bad tenant
[“Pardon me”, my grandmother would say, “but like it said on the tombstone;
‘Where’re you be let your wind go free, for that were the death of me.’ ”]
couldn’t organise a %&$* in a brothel with a fist full of fivers
Ripleys: that was one of my grandmother’s favourites!
don’t shXX where you eat
Plain good sense; a metaphor appropriate to any number of situations.
not the full quid/ brightest crayon in the box
another endless list
dark as a dog’s guts
Alternatively, reference could be made to Jack Johnson’s bum. No idea who he is/was – I’m pretty sure his bum must have been dark.
a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock
Some years ago I met an Irish lass who was working for a huge horse agistment in the Strathbogie Shire. A lot of backpackers who know horses take these jobs, the average stay being about 3 months. She was convinced they were pulling her leg when explaining the morning’s first job was to chase the kangaroos from the [property’s] top paddock. They were, however, serious. The property is in a perfect location for anyone wanting to see koalas, ‘roos, owls and whatnots in their natural environment.
you look like you’ve lost a pound and found a sixpence
The modern equivalent would be “you look like you’ve lost $200 and found a fiver”. If you are struggling with the concept, you possibly have a champagne taste and a beer income.
my mouth is like the floor of a cocky’s cage
The standard response to this is “You’ve tasted the floor of a cocky’s cage ?!”
But seriously, unless a cocky has been penned up for years and would be vulnerable if set free, no cocky should be in a cage at all. Can’t blame them if they tell someone what they think of the accommodation.
Not just a remote outback station, the never-never was a direct reference to Hire Purchase, a usurious device used by retailers to screw people with champagne tastes but only beer incomes.
‘Twas said, of my grandmother, “If a man came to the door selling sacks of cowshit for thruppence down and a penny a week, [she] would take six”. People can be so unkind. Especially when the cow had just croaked after being fed rhubarb leaves by my mother, then a child, and who was to prove forever besotted with any form of life other than human.
better to be sick than waste it
A depression era mentality which can only lead to a big fat depression in these days of huge, massive, ‘value-for-money’, all-you-can-eat meals. A motto like this, if taken seriously, could leave any woman ‘as wide as an axe handle’. Waste is in the mind of the beholder, whose eyes are sometimes too big for their belly. Closely related to the parental guilt trip “you should eat up, there are plenty of children in Africa/
India/ who would be glad to have boiled cabbage”, the appropriate response [and often the first sign of a child’s independent spirit] being “here, send it to’em”. China
a personality like a cross between a pit-bull and a lemon tree
Fans of pit bulls should feel free to change the breed. Incidentally, scientific studies have shown anyone able to suck fresh lemons or eat grapefruit has a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock.
air pie with no crust
A traditional response used by mothers everywhere to that question repeatedly asked by children “What’s for dinner?”. Someone I know, who did not grow up in Frankston invariably received a warning in reply “Shit with sugar on it – and you’ll eat it!”
silly as a wheel
Why is a wheel silly? Beats me.
useful as a hole in a pocket
Well, that’s what I say now as my previous preferred “useful” expression is no longer PC… nonetheless I urge you to consider the imagery of “useful as an ashtray on a motorbike”
mad as a two bob watch
Watches of the analogue kind were once expensive, and a good one made a great 21st birthday present. If a watch only cost two bob [20 cents] it was bound to be a dud, with the time it told a dead cert to be unreliable if not downright crazy. Now, of course, watches are digital and dirt cheap – a ten dollar watch will keep good time and, when the battery dies, it’s cheaper to buy a new watch than replace the battery. ,
all over the place like a mad woman’s breakfast
My grandmother used her own word for “breakfast”. What can I say? She had a colourful turn of phrase, but I loved her.
the wind will change and your face will stay like that
It never did.
Any child’s greatest revenge on an adult, especially used ad nauseam without any other word or weapon. Oh, except for ‘hurry up, I need to go to the toilet now’.