Happy as a sand boy
Although this expression evokes images of happy children playing in beach sand, that is nor where the expression comes from. Sand boys were employed to deliver sand to taverns and public houses during the 18th and 19th centuries. Sand served much the same purpose as sawdust, which gave rise to the expression spit and sawdust used to describe establishments where sawdust was put down to absorb patrons’ spillages and spitting. Sand boys were invariably intoxicated and seemingly happy during the course of their work and happy as a sand boy is first cited from the early 19th century.