Thursday, 20 April 2017

Overheard in North Norfolk

Where do you stand on listening in to other people's conversations?

I don't mean a glass against a wall, or tapping into somebody's phone or voicemail - that's a whole heap of wrongness.

I mean just casually tuning in to what other people are saying when you're in a café, pub or shop?

I have to be honest, this is something I tend to do, as it's often where you hear the most interesting things.

Some recent examples, from my annual pilgrimage to the seaside, which I will call 'Overheard in North Norfolk' - I was in a bookshop, browsing the latest titles whilst also bagging a bargain in their closing down sale (due to retirement, not the relentless onslaught of online retailers, or so they said).

One assistant said to the other "Gold shouldn't rust should it?", to which the other replied "No, I don't think so."  The first lady then said "Well I don't think these earrings are gold then, as they've gone rusty and made my ears go funny" - it was honestly like being an extra in a Victoria Wood sketch.

Then in a hostelry in Holt, I happened upon a conversation about Engelbert Humperdinck, as you do.

A couple were discussing the crooner, and talking about a man who looked like him only to discover it actually was him as he lives somewhere near Leicester.

They had a discussion about his songs, except they couldn't remember what he sang apart from 'Release Me', and then they were asking each other what his real name was.

I'm afraid to say it was at this point I joined in and helped them out - and told them it was Gerry Dorsey and he also sang 'The Last Waltz'.  I'd had a glass of wine at the time, and I did tell them I wasn't entirely sure that was correct so not to quote me.

I've subsequently discovered his birth name was Arnold George Dorsey but he did sing as Gerry Dorsey, so I'd just like to give the couple from Oakham the correct information!

Thursday, 6 April 2017

'Hazardous' clothing

"Your clothes are hazardous!" screamed the headline on the news report I was reading, or at least words to that effect.

As I looked down at my ensemble and checked the evidence, I thought this a little harsh assessment of my hoodie and joggers combo which I wear for housework/exercise (OK, housework is my exercise). 

I read on - it listed clothing apparently hazardous to our health, including skinny jeans, parka coats and high heels.

Now I can't comment on skinny jeans as I've never worn them - I'm more of a flare or a boot-cut person myself, adhering to the rules of fashion gurus such as Trinny and Susannah and more latterly Gok Wan.

Parkas likewise don't form part of my repertoire - but I do remember my brother having one in the 70s, complete with faux-fur trimmed hood.  This could indeed have been a hazard - with the hood zip done right up it formed a 'snorkel' and meant when you turned your head while crossing the road, for example, you just looked inside your own hood instead of at potential dangers.

Which leads me to my nemesis - high heels.  Thank goodness for 'grunge' in the early 90s which meant I could happily live in ten-hole Doc Martens for about five years.

But I can report that high heels can indeed be dangerous - I remember my primary school friend telling me about an accident which befell her older sister.  She used to don a particularly fetching pair of platform espadrilles, with ribbons lacing up her legs - don't judge her too harshly, this was the 1970s.

She used to repeatedly fall off them, and in the end she sprained her ankle quite badly.

This was the final straw for her father, who was fed up of the injuries inflicted on his teenage daughter by the evil espadrilles of doom, and he promptly seized them and threw them into the Rayburn, where they smouldered for three days - at least that's the story we were told, our version of an urban myth, perhaps a rural rumour?!

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The Apostrophiser - a new kind of superhero...

As a general rule I'm not an advocate of vigilantism.  However, when it comes to the grammar vigilante roaming the streets of Bristol - The Apostrophiser - I think he's got a point, but maybe not the best superhero name or power.

In case you're unfamiliar with the story, this chap alters signs on shops etc and corrects crimes against grammar and punctuation.

One particular example - Amys Nail's - I thought was beyond redemption.  But no, he took his trusty apostrophe-altering gadget and added in the correct one whilst removing the rogue item, thus transforming it into the far more appealing Amy's Nails.

With admirable attention to detail, he even colour matches the patches used to mask the unwanted punctuation marks, so it's not really criminal damage either is it?

He's been labelled the Banksy of grammar, mainly because his identity remains a secret to all but close members of his family.  I think he probably had to tell them what was going on, as I'd have been a bit suspicious too if my husband kept disappearing during the night carrying a large wooden pole and a trestle table.

When you think about it, as I have at length, it's a form of art - he's taking an ugly, grammatically incorrect eyesore which causes people like him and me physical pain, and makes it all better, literally by sticking a band-aid on it.

Yes, time to come clean - I too suffer from this affliction, and have the urge to correct crimes against the English language wherever I see them.  I draw the line at roaming the streets at night, however; I'm obviously not that committed.

It does make walking around a traditional market virtually impossible though, as I just can't stand all the signs reading 'tomato's, potato's' and the like.  Similarly, some of the English I see on websites also makes me cringe - does nobody proof-read anything anymore?

I just hope that The Apostrophiser isn't on social media - some of the misuses of grammar and punctuation on there are beyond even his superpowers!