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More Tea, Vicar?

An Embarrassment of Domestic Catchphrases

Nigel Rees

National Trust


ISBN: 9781905400744

Price: £7.99

Publication date: 9 April 2009

Category: Humour

Nigel Rees presents a hilarious, and sometimes rude, but always nostalgic guide to domestic catchphrases – including the familiar and the not so familiar. Following his hugely popular survey of individual family sayings, ”As We Say in Our House”, Rees returns with a closer look at domestic catchphrases in general. ‘More Tea Vicar?’ is a fascinating examination of those familiar phrases that we tend to trot out unthinkingly as a way of dealing with life”s little difficulties and embarrassments. As well as presenting examples of usage contributed by thousands of listeners to his ”Quote…Unquote” radio programme, Nigel Rees attempts to explain how and from where these colourful sayings have become the off-the-peg language of countless households. You’ll find numerous fobbing-off phrases used by parents to deal with children’s questions (”Why?” ”Y’s a crooked letter), mangled words (”semi-skilled milk”), nannyisms (”back in the knife box, Miss Sharp”), homely proverbs (”custard boiled is custard spoiled”) and above all, scores of loophemisms (”I’m just going to turn the vicar”s bike around”). It’s a treasure of informal speech and provides a warm and nostalgic record of an important part of family life.


Nigel Rees is an outstanding author whose many books have mostly been concerned with the popular use of the English language and especially the humour that derives from it. As a broadcaster, he is best known as deviser and presenter of BBC Radio’s Quote…Unquote programme, which has been delighting audiences for over 25 years. He lives in London. He is the author of More Tea, Vicar? (ISBN 9781905400744)