The ‘man ‘ is a South Africanism. My English born father spoke his language impeccably as only a Shakespearean actor and Radio announcer ( English Service , RSA) can. He adopted this common SA expression during his time in that country. He used the expression over in SA , and here also. I think being dad he liked to feel he had adapted to his new culture, and then it became a habitual expression. The appendage “ man” usually tagged onto the end of sentences is commonly used to convey emotions from amazement to anger or puzzlement , depending on the inflection .

So he used it when slightly frustrated with my mother. She tripped often. All her life she was in a hurry and as she got older her dashes across roads wearing glasses that she maintained didn’t work resulted in many injuries . She just moved her head both ways quickly and scuttled across, believing that cars would stop . By the time she realised they couldn’t, she braked, lost her balance and fell.

In the beginning she was prey to minor scratches and bruises, until the day came when she was too scared to move , even with a Zimmer frame ( resisted for ages) or sulky daughter by her side. My father, despite his language , was always affectionate to her, even if exasperated at her stubbornness.

With the Zimmer frame she was still prone to accidents, ploughing into people’s ankles and banging into their tables as she headed for the door or the table. Inevitably, when she did sit , she parked the frame as a sort of block. No one could get up and move to the door or counter without asking the sweet old lady to shift it . Looking back she just didn’t have a sense of space and that combined with a blind faith in her invulnerability and the goodness of people lead to the knocks and hurts .

Mum and my favourite aunt out for lunch with the dreaded frame

So why do I write of this now ? Because I reckon I’m prone to the same injuries. Maybe not for the same reasons and, at the moment, not the same injuries . But I don’t see the edges of objects . For example , I bang my already injured shoulder against a doorway;I catch my foot on the crossbar of my bike; I trip over those uneven Freo pavements , bloody council!

This afternoon I turned up at the Physio with a plaster stuck at the back of my leg . Late. So he wasn’t interested in my explanation .

I just happened to graze the leg on the pedal of my bike as I dragged it out the door down the steps . Bloody kids. If they didn’t leave stuff hanging around in the hallway and at the front door I wouldn’t have nicked myself

So I’ll lift my arse, slow up. Slow up . Lift your arse, woman . Sounds pretty rude with the ‘ woman ‘? But that’s another blog ,