Ailz comes across this mantra in a novel she's reading where the narrator speaks of it having "religious connotations".
"Religious connotations?" She turns to me.
I know the phrase as the refrain of a poem by some author who's name I forget. I'd thought he'd originated it. Apparently not; it seems to be something they say in Yorkshire.
But religious connotations?
An idea begins to dawn- and I stand up to try it out- with sweeping hand movements, pointing to the items in turn.
Spectacles, testicles, watch and wallet.
It's a mnemonic for making the sign of the cross.
Go on, try it yourself....