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What You Lose on the Roundabout May 7, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Balance, Word Play.

When I first saw Sidey’s weekend theme ~ Swings and Roundabout ~ I didn’t know what she was on about.

So I decided to sit this one out.

Reading Col’s post, A Really Awful Spin on a Pendulum, gave me a glimmer of an inkling.

He shared an expression that no one had ever expressed or uttered before in my presence:

“What you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabout.”

As it turns out, the expression, and its vice versa, is British/Australian.

Here, in the USA, we tend to say, “you win some, you lose some.”

However you express the thought, it’s all about maintaining balance (and our sense of humor) in the face of life’s inevitable twists and turns.

A swing roundabout Google led me to an intriguing book, What You Lose on the Roundabout, written by a 57-year-old Brit misdiagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease who did just that ~ maintained her sense of humor (and got a tattoo!).

Did ya hear that Rosie? . . . she got a tattoo!  😛

Aah . . . that’s better!


1. aawwa - May 7, 2013

…and take the bitter with the sweet 🙂

nrhatch - May 7, 2013

Yes. Life rarely sprinkles on the sweet without a bit of bitters on the side.

2. Pix Under the Oaks - May 7, 2013

I am all for balance and humor! I would love a tattoo but I am skeered to do it..

nrhatch - May 7, 2013

Humor is like those long poles used by aerialists for balance!

She got the tattoo, on her wrist, to help spread her message, without requiring her to be nekked. :mrgreen:

It’s at the end of the excerpt you can read on Amazaon, and says, “Think Clone. Think Cure” with little stick figures ~ one in a wheelchair and one doing a happy dance.

3. suzicate - May 7, 2013

Col. has a way of putting things in perspective with his awesome sense of humor.
Sounds like a great book by a spirited woman!
Amazing the things we run across when we start googling. How did we manage before google? I suppose just fine, but google simplified the process and made the search more interesting!

nrhatch - May 7, 2013

He does, Suzi! The internet sure has changed the way we entertain ourselves, eh? From youtube to FB to blogs to on-line hunting and shopping.

4. ericjbaker - May 7, 2013

The roundabout gives me motion sickness!

I would have been awesome before metalurgy.

nrhatch - May 7, 2013

The first “roundabout” I went on had wooden benches facing in to the center. We could push with our feet if there wasn’t an adult around to really give us some velocity. I love that DIZZY feeling . . . whee!!!

5. Don - May 7, 2013

I think humour is the lubricant of life.

nrhatch - May 7, 2013

Those without a sense of humor are always a bit rusty and crusty. :mrgreen:

6. adeeyoyo - May 7, 2013

I think we need to feel opposite emotions throughout life… maybe.

nrhatch - May 7, 2013

I expect that it is impossible to feel JOY without its contrast.

7. Andra Watkins - May 7, 2013

I’ve never heard that saying.

nrhatch - May 7, 2013

Sounds like most of the Americans reading this post have not heard the expression before while those in South Africa, Australia, and (maybe) the UK have run across the swings and roundabout before. Colloquial expressions are quite exquisite.

8. Three Well Beings - May 7, 2013

This is just marvelous! I need to learn to quote that wonderful saying, which is totally new to me, too! I think I might even enjoy that book. What a super expression of encouragement as the week just barely gets underway. We really do need to keep our sense of humor! 🙂

nrhatch - May 7, 2013

I read the first chapter of the book on Amazon and she’s a good writer . . . drawing readers in to her tale from the outset.

Maintaining our sense of humor keeps us from getting too DIZZY. :mrgreen:

9. dearrosie - May 7, 2013

“She maintained her sense of humor – and got a tattoo!”
I love that part
but not the “misdiagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease” part. Good lord she must’ve been given a cabinet full of drugs she didn’t need.
I also love that she wrote a book!

I’ve seen some tattoos on the wrist that are very sensitively done and look good!
I too haven’t heard that expression before. Australian English has some of the best expressions.

nrhatch - May 7, 2013

As soon as I read the chapter on the tattoo . . . I knew I had to share it with you! Her tattoo didn’t make me want one of my own, but I got WHY she got it.

Colloquial expressions are quite exquisite. Love learning new ones.

10. jannatwrites - May 7, 2013

I’m glad you translated – I hadn’t heard of that one!
I couldn’t imagine being misdiagnosed with Parkinson’s. You’d have to have a sense of humor to come through that one 🙂

nrhatch - May 7, 2013

Sounds like all of us in the US haven’t bumped into the swings and roundabout quote before. That’ what I expected when I saw Col’s post ~ it’s an Australian/Brit saying. I wonder if it’s where we got “what goes around, comes around.” 😉

11. Catherine Johnson - May 7, 2013

I’ve never heard that but it sounds similar to It’s all swings and roundabouts meaning much the same. They look different but same result.

nrhatch - May 7, 2013

Yes, that sounds like a related expression . . . the UPS and DOWNS and ROUNDABOUTS of life keep us from getting bored.

12. kateshrewsday - May 7, 2013

How interesting, Nancy! It never occured to me that you might not understand the term used by Sidey. I waited a long while for different reasons. Our bank holiday put everything back rather.
The book looks great!

nrhatch - May 7, 2013

Apparently the expression isn’t a common one on this side of the Atlantic . . . until NOW! 😀

13. diannegray - May 7, 2013

I’ve heard that saying (but I am an Aussie after all) 😉 I didn’t realise it was only an Aussie/Brit saying but it makes sense (particularly when you’re playing in the park 😉

The book sounds great and definitely one to put on my TBR list 😀

nrhatch - May 7, 2013

I expect that there are lots of expressions that I view as “universal” that are common only in “my small corner of the universe.” That’s the way of the world of words. 😉

What I read of the book shows that she can write. But I only read Chapter 1. It does sound intriguing and may be on my TBR list too.

14. judithhb - May 8, 2013

It’s a well known and well used phrase in our part of the world. Mother used to say it when we were sad little girls because something wasn’t going our way. And thanks for the recommendation Nancy. I will see if I can find that book

nrhatch - May 8, 2013

It’s lovely the way that expressions swing roundabout the globe. The book is available as an e-book on Amazon, Judith. No shipping!

Judith - May 8, 2013

Thanks Nancy – ordering it now.

nrhatch - May 8, 2013

Cool! The speed of on-line shopping for e-books and iTunes is WONDERFUL. Enjoy.

Judith - May 9, 2013

And Nancy – a friend just said about something she missed out on “Oh well, swings and roundabouts”.

nrhatch - May 9, 2013

That’s great! Thanks, Judith. Now I’ll know just what is meant by it . . . and maybe I’ll introduce it into my own speech.

15. SidevieW - May 8, 2013

oi, you left out us South Africans…..

Yes it’s a saying we use in many situations. bujt of course there is just the playground to visit, or the traffic circles as did Kate

nrhatch - May 8, 2013

That’s how I started my inquiry . . . by asking Col if the expression was South African. He replied:

“I thought it was universally English – but it must have come to us in SA from UK. I have known it in the ‘what you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabouts’ form. Apparently it is common in UK and Australia.”

As for your other suggestions, we don’t call our traffic circles “roundabouts” . . . we call them traffic circles. And, on the playground, we have swings, slides, see saws, and merry-go-rounds. 😀

When I saw the theme, I figured I would learn something new this week. And I did. Yay!

SidevieW - May 9, 2013


16. colonialist - May 8, 2013

Glad you got glimmered!

nrhatch - May 9, 2013

It’s always a relief when the mental lightbulb flickers. 💡

17. Grannymar - May 9, 2013

I live in a world or roundabouts and they sure help the traffic swing my way! 😉 The funfair variety are due to arrive in my town in a couple of weeks to the delight of all the children.

nrhatch - May 9, 2013

Roundabouts and Merry-Go-Rounds keep things twirling along nicely. Whee! 😀

18. Pocket Perspectives - May 10, 2013

Loved Judith’s addition….”oh well, swings and roundabouts!” …for those special moments…. 😉

nrhatch - May 10, 2013

The expression is growing on me . . . much more picturesque than “you win some, you lose some.” 😀

19. Eileen - August 31, 2015

For every goodie there’s a baddie and for every baddie there’s a goodie. The balance of life. Grace comes only for the present moment, but it is available in the dark moments as much(if not more) in the bright moments. Embracing the grace in each moment transforms them.

nrhatch - August 31, 2015

And often only time allows us to discern the “too bad” from the “that’s great!”

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