I was wondering how common this expression (= to make a mess of it = to make a mess of things) is. A friend of mine here in London recently used it with the meaning I am giving here. A web search does not return many entries at all, most of them in relation to food (literally, "making porridge"). Here is one (The Independent newspaper, 1992 report on cricket):- http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/...ourists-ragged-to-win-the-series-1541609.html "... there are two ways to go against a total of 363: make a fist of it and fail, or make a porridge of it and fail." Comments welcome. Thanks.