Mind Your Peas and Schmooze

sprouted peas

Sprouted peas under the trellis

Do you remember the expression “mind your Ps and Qs?”  A quick wiki search lead to several possible origins, each one plausible and fascinating.

One explanation suggests that “Ps and Qs” is short for “pleases” and “thank-yous.” Young children would pronounce them as Ps and Qs.  Here are a few more:

  • Another origin comes from English pubs and taverns of the seventeenth century. Bartenders would keep a watch on the alcohol consumption of the patrons; keeping an eye on the pints and quarts that were consumed. As a reminder to the patrons, the bartender would recommend they “mind their Ps and Qs”.
  • Another origin could be from sailors in the eighteenth century who were reminded to pay attention to their peas (pea coat) and queues (pony tail).
  • Another possible and viable theory is after the Norman Invasion of 1066 the courts, church, and establishment were becoming French-speaking and the English dialect of the 11th Century had no qs; so one must watch their usage in court or discourse with the French Norman conquers.
  • Another origin of the story of “mind your Ps and Qs” comes from early printing presses. Printers placed individual letters on a frame to print a page of text. The letters were reversed, making it easy to mistake lowercase ps and qs in setting the type. – Wikipedia

Where was I?

Oh yeah, peas…

I’m happy to report that under Mighty Mouse’s watchful eye, the garden peas are up! Hurray, hurray.

white cat

No squirrels over here.

I planted half the seeds, soaking them first for 48 hours to rehydrate them. I hold a reserve for what seems inevitable: the unceremonious removal by foraging squirrels. Apparently squirrels don’t like peas.  Score!!!

Not only did several come up in the curb garden, but at least half a dozen sprouted as well among the annuals on the other side of the lawn. As the annuals go to seed, the climbing peas will take their place.

Sprouted peas in the annual garden

Sprouted peas in the annual garden

It’s a happy day in the garden when seeds sprout and neighbor’s beloved kitty stops by to mind the peas and schmooze.

cat in the garden

The peas look okay

cat in the garden

The irrigation is in working order.

cat in the garden

Now scratch my ears!!!

11 thoughts on “Mind Your Peas and Schmooze

  1. Gosh – eddication with my morning coffee – well done Alys [and wikipedia] Most interesting forage around in p’s and q’s … any and all of them seem equally plausible to me. I had made an assumption in my mind that, as it was a phrase used to remind us of manners that ‘p’ stood for ‘please’ and ‘q’ stood for the sound made at the end of ‘thank-you’ [than-q] Perhaps I just overthought it [again] 🙂 Great to see Mighty Mouse on guard – wonderful to see those peas sprouting – your green fingers are doing really well!


    • Oh, I love that theory too: ‘q’ as in thank you! That also makes good sense. Isn’t it interesting how many theories all seem to sound reasonable?

      I’m glad you enjoyed Mouse. He’s never far from me when I’m in the garden. I adore him…in case it wasn’t obvious. 🙂


      • Oh, it’s pretty obvious 🙂 I just worry that your own cats might get a little green eyed – I know my boy does …. he gets all bristley and bustly when next doors cats get too interested in what I’m doing. But then, he is an only cat …..


        • We have three ‘indoor’ cats, with one caveat: they have the run of the back garden thanks to a wonderful product called The Cat FenceIn System. It looks like bird netting. You mount it to the top of the fence with hardware and bolts. It extends out and up. It keeps our cats safely *in* the yard, and is supposed to keep other cats out (so they don’t get into fights,etc.). Mouse knows how to cross over the gate from the neighbors side, and then from there he comes in through the cat door.

          He and Lindy are actually quite friendly. They ‘kiss’ and occasionally spar, but for the most part tolerate each other. The oldest, Beijing wants no part of him. I think it helps that our three are female. I think males tend to be more aggressive with other male cats, at least that has been my experience.

          I think your Orlando is a dish!


          • Mouse is very clever to have worked out a way to get into your abode – he obviously has ‘street smarts’ Orlando is mostly an in-door cat, his decision, as he doesn’t much like having to live in the inner suburbs…… he nags at me to go sit in the courtyard with him on sunny days and sulks if I don’t and takes himself off for a walk most evenings around 9pm for 15 – 30 minutes, depending on the weather and that’s about it. He’s a country boy at heart 🙂


  2. Loved learning all the ways P’s and Q”s could have originated. Always happy to learn something new. Peas and Kitty’s are good for a smile too. Glad the Peas are holding their own. Love, love, love fresh peas.


  3. What a fun post. I love hearing about how old sayings originated. I’m going with the English pub thing as I would think most things like that were carried over to ‘The New World’. They’re all plausible though so who knows.

    Mouse is so smart to walk on the wooden brace and not get his toes wet, so darn cute. I bet he just runs over when he see’s you 😀 Do you ever worry that his people will decide to move? You will have to catnap him on the down low.

    What colour will your sweet peas come in? I always planted the pastel mix and extra white because they looked good in any room. My gosh, I miss them. I just love the scent so much. I’ve also seen some peach ones too, which must be new.


    • I love that one, too. It’s amazing to me how these all make perfect sense.

      Yes, that Mouse is a clever one. If they decided to move, I would ask if we could keep him. Hands down.

      As for the peas, they are actually green peas that are sweet and not the flowering sweet peas. I realize now how confusing that was. They’re growing up nicely. You can see them up close in just a few days. Hurray!!!


  4. Pingback: Mind Your Ps and Qs – permission slips

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