Posted by David FG on January 05, 2006
In Reply to: Fall asleep on a clothes line posted by Brian from Shawnee on January 04, 2006
: : : 'I could fall asleep on a clothes line' or 'I could go to sleep on a clother line' is a phrase that I have used and I do, I think, sort of know the origin. Many years ago in hostels or places for the homeless one could lean on a clothes line to sleep?
: : : What is the exact phrase as I can't find it anywhere and is this more or less the correct origin.
: : I beleive that it just implies that someone is so tired that they could fall asleep anywhere, even a place as unstable and uncomfortable as a clothes line. The saying was certainly in established UK use when I was a boy - 60+ years ago!
: Believe it or not, this has been discussed before! There were apparently places where indigent Londoners could sleep for 2p back in the 1930's, where they would sit on a bench and lean on a rope or clothes line. At 5 in the morning the "valet" would wake everybody up by cutting the rope. The link below provides details from George Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London.
I hate to nitpick, but it would have been 2d - these were the days before the UK adopted the decimal currency system.