Living in a magical house that lets you be who you really are and protects you from the troubles of the rest of the world can have its price. Small one though, don’t you think? “Stone the crows” is a British expression of surprise or annoyance; Sheila probably got it from her parents, who also taught her the “chitty” (Cockney rhyming slang), although the phrase is also used in Australia. There’s no clear etymology for the it; other such expressions include some you may have heard of — I’ll go to the foot of our stairs, strike me pink, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle, or if that don’t take the rag off the bush. None of these have any sensible literal meaning and stone the crows is another to add to that list. We know how phrases like Shut the front door and Back the truck up have come to be, but “stone the crows” doesn’t seem to rhyme with much, so substitution isn’t necessarily right either. Anyway… something new for you to put into conversation!

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