01 February, 2009


English as she is spoke

The odds-and-sods shop in Greenwich that advertises Stationary in its window is pretty unremarkable these days, though it is comforting to be explicitly reassured that the premises will not be wandering around the streets of South London menacing pedestrians.

Yesterday I was travelling through the centre of the Metrollops in a Number 15 Omnibus. Many of these vehicles now sport a display advertising the name of the next stop. Some travellers find the accompanying recorded announcement irritating, but in practice you learn to "background" it quite quickly. And then we approached a stop called, according to the display,
Regent Street / Charles 11 Street
(Read that carefully.) Unsurprisingly, the nice lady who tirelessly announces the stops was not fooled and called out "Regent Street, Charles the Second Street". As any fule kno, even if Prince Big Ears does eventually ascend the throne, he will be no more than the third King Charles.

All grist to the mill, but I was nearly flummoxed by a sign in a shop in Welling recently. The shop apparently dealt in bathroom fittings. Among its offerings, it proudly announced "Sanitary Wear". For a few seconds I found myself marvelling at this outpost of the indoor building trade that had found it necessary to develop a sideline in selling tampons. An ingenious response to competition from all those Poles, perhaps?

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