An idiom that appears to have gone out of use but was prevalent in the English north Midlands of Staffordshire, Cheshire and Derbyshire from at least the turn of the 20th century until the early 1950s or so. The idiom's meaning is literally something said or written that is unbelievable, rumor, over embellished, the result of malicious village gossip etc.
A person who is as bent as a nine bob note is dishonest. The reference comes from pre-decimalisation in UK (1971), when a ten shilling (bob) note was valid currency but no such note as nine shillings existed.
The idiom "cat fur and kitty britches" reminded me of this saying that my granny used when asked what was for dinner, and was her way too of saying you get what you're given! This was in Gloucestershire, UK and in the first part of the 20th century.
People, especially couples, who argue in front of others or involve others in their personal problems and crises, are said to be washing their dirty laundry in public; making public things that are best left private. (In American English, 'don't air your dirty laundry in public' is used.)
If something is as dull as ditchwater, it is incredibly boring. A ditch is a long narrow hole or trench dug to contain water, which is normally a dark, dirty colour and stagnant (when water turns a funny colour and starts to smell bad). (In American English,'things are 'dull as dishwater'.)
A large surplus of anything:
We've got enough coffee to cobble dogs with.
A cobblestone is a cut stone with a curved surface. These were set together to create road surfaces, in the days before the widespread use of asphalt. The image the phrase contains is that, even after all the roads have been cobbled, there are so many cobblestones left over that things that don’t need cobbling – such as dogs – could still be cobbled.
A cobbler repairs shoes, so if you have enough leather to cobble an animal with four feet or that doesn't need shoes, you have a surplus.
If someone is trying to convince people to do or feel something without any hope of succeeding, they're flogging a dead horse.
This is used when someone is trying to raise interest in an issue that no-one supports anymore; beating a dead horse will not make it do any more work.
This is a cliched way of telling the driver of a vehicle to start driving. It is supposed to be an order to a chauffeur (a privately employed driver). The full phrase is 'Home, James, and don't spare the horses'.
If you look after the pennies, the pounds will look after themselves, meaning that if someone takes care not to waste small amounts of money, they will accumulate capital.
('Look after the pence and the pounds will look after themselves' is an alternative form of this idiom.)
'A nod's as good as a wink' is a way of saying you have understood something that someone has said, even though it was not said directly. The full phrase (sometimes used in the UK ) is 'a nod's as good as a wink to a blind horse'.
When a horse runs, its head moves backwards and forwards alternately - in horse racing, if 2 horses cross the line together the one whose head happens to be going forward often wins and is said to win 'on the nod'.
If you over-egg the pudding, you spoil something by trying to improve it excessively. It is also used nowadays with the meaning of making something look bigger or more important than it really is. ('Over-egg' alone is often used in this sense.)
An idiom primarily used by those from the North East of England, used to emphasize the fact that children who fail to ask for something (usually from an older person) probably won't succeed in obtaining it. (bairn = child, nowt = nothing)