Friday, October 16, 2009

If I don't see you through the week, I'll see you through a window

Originally uploaded by

Google Analytics is great fun. I use it to spy on my blog for me! As well as being reassured that people are visiting at all, I love looking at the map to see where they are visiting from. (Hello to anyone reading in India, Japan, Turkey, Finland, New Zealand, Brazil, South Africa, Venezuela, Argentina, Norway, Ireland, Singapore, Sweden, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, France, Australia, USA, UK, United Arab Emirates, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Spain, Netherlands... It was so nice of you to stop by this month! Hello to anyone else reading this too!)

Even better than the visitors map is the list of terms people have typed into a search engine before being directed to my blog. Here are some of this month's highlights: "central african republic pointless" (yay!), "viking animals", "Frank Butcher polo tie", "hairy single babie", "how do you spell yeeha!", "yee ha or yee haw", "how to spell yee ha" [see - it's not just me who wonders!], "simon rimmer bald", "swinger holiday", "swinger muriel", "what kind of spider has a smiley face on its back"...

But for the last year or so, by far the most popular search has been this post's title - if I don't see you through the week I'll see you through a window - which I previously used as the title for a post about the stained glass in Glasgow cathedral.

I know that a lot of people are typing this into search engines to find out where the expression comes from. They leave subtle clues, like typing in, "where does the expression if I don't see you through the week I'll see you through a window come from?"! I have done the same thing myself to no avail... Now, I don't have the answer but I thought (to try to ease the frustration/curiosity of these searchers!) I should share the little (very little) that I do know about the expression.

As far as I am aware, the term comes from Bill Fortsyth's film, Gregory's Girl. Steve, shown here in the dapper white jacket, has left school and got a job as a window cleaner. His little catchphrase as he departs is: "If I don't see you through the week, I'll see you through a window!" I don't know if this was the first use of the phrase, or if it was in common use long before this, but I thought I would set the ball rolling by sharing my little tuppence worth. It kind of makes sense it would start with a window cleaner who would literally see people through a window... Does anybody have any other ideas or insights? If so, please share your knowledge by leaving a comment!

Update: it seems fairly certain (see comments) that this saying pre-dates Gregory's Girl. We need your insight! Where does it originate from?

If you have randomly found my blog through trying to find out about this expression's origins, I hope this gives you some hope in your linguistic quest... If you make any further progress, please be sure to come back and let us know. Oh, and don't forget to look at the lovely crafty gubbins while you're here - it would be rude not to! :)


  1. I think it must have been in use before then. My grandparents used to say this when we left their house and pretty sure neither of them would have a) seen Gregory's Girl or b) changed their speech habits to accommodate new street lingo at their ages!

    Every time I hear the phrase it reminds me of them :)

  2. Its become a much more popular saying now since the actor that does Keith Lemon signs off by saying it at the end of every celebrity juice... also the first time Ive heard it was on that show...

  3. And I always thought it was the invention of my Uncle Ken! He would say it after every visit followed by "If I don't see you soon, how are you?!" He was such a lively fellow :-)

  4. I'm a window cleaner, and was told ages ago that it was a window cleaners saying... to each other.Don't know how true..

  5. Hi, Im affraid I cant help with the saying but wanted to say thanks for linking to my Flickr set as a load of my traffic seems to arrive via Dropstitchblog.

    I grew up loving Gregory's girl and that saying always stuck in my mind.

    Hope you like my pics and all the best,

    Dave (

  6. My pleasure, Dave. I get a lot of traffic via this post, so thank YOU for having a photo I could use :)

  7. Years ago (late '60's, early '70's) in South Africa, before the advent of TV there used to be a funny American series on the radio called TAXI - it featured the hilarious daily happenings to a NY Cabby named Red Kowalski. The catch phrase of the series was "If I don't see you through the week, I'll see you through the window"!
    Kind regards,

    1. Ah-ha, the plot thickens!

      Thanks for your comment, Peter :)

  8. Looking for this video clip too to no avil! I remember a dizzy ginger women with glasses working in a factory on a conveyer belt. She said it to her fellow work mates!?? Does that ring a bell? Cheers, russ

    1. Ringing no bells with me, I'm afraid, but perhaps someone will read these comments and experience a wee eureka moment?! :)


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