I was thinking about how easy it is to not remember something quite correctly and yet be convinced that what you do recall is absolutely right. This is what I wrote about remembering a few years ago:
I was writing to a friend and was saying something about being prepared for action (writing action, actually!) and having said ‘man the pumps‘ and ‘all hands on deck‘, I was going to add ‘ready aye ready‘ – meaning ready always ready, when I suddenly thought that it wasn’t quite right. The pumps and decks reference are navy slang – my friend was a sailor so I was making a bit of a jokey reference; but is ‘ready aye ready‘ correct? or is ‘ready boys/lads ready‘?
I looked it up: ‘aye ready‘ is Rangers Football Club, commonly known as just Glasgow Rangers, motto and apparently it’s sometimes shortened to just ‘ready’. The phrase also has a rather controversial connotation in Canada, in its quest for independence from Britain, and “became tainted with the feeling of a blind following of another country’s politics”:
It was a long road to being its own country and state:
Independence from the United Kingdom
- Confederation July 1, 1867
- Statute of Westminster December 11, 1931
- Patriation April 17, 1982
I continued to look for the phrase, and I think I have found why it seemed familiar to me. When my son was much younger he became a Sea Cadet, and their motto is… Ready Aye Ready! So that is how I knew it! And yes, there is a naval connection!
… oh, and I was probably also thinking of the song, Hearts of Oak which has the refrain ‘ready, boys ready, we’ll fight and we’ll conquer again and again!’
… or was ‘it steady, boys, stead,’?