04 July, 2011


Out of the mouths of ... people working their notice?

I am not, shall we say, 100% convinced that this, brought to us by Max Farquar, was the result of your genuine accidental typo,

Probably a pissed-off employee working his ticket or his notice? Mind you, speaking as someone who has actually had occasion to have to read not only the Grocer (imaged above) but also the Draper's Record in his time and managed to do so without falling asleep, you never can tell.

The cutting brings to mind the strange case of the missing settlement of Bolaks. In the late 1970s, international direct dialling access to the Continong and to the wider world was spreading in a fairly patchy, incremental way. There were often perfectly sound technical reasons why the whole of a country could not be opened up to inward direct dialling in one fell swoop. So, as engineering improvements at the "distant end" made additional area codes accessible, BT would update and re-issue per-country area code pamphlets to interested commercial customers. One such that came into my hands somewhere in the period 1977 to 1980 was for Finland, and included a dialling code for a place called Bolaks. I thought nothing of it initially, apart from chuckling at the double entendre of the name.

Then four years doing a general linguistics degree finally proved its worth when it occurred to me that Finnish does not normally use the letter 'B', and certainly not in native place names. This is why the Finnish for 'bank', probably a loanword from the Swedish, is pankki rather than bankki. (OK, I checked. Hankkipankki actually scores six hits on Google but regrettably none of them are for real.) A quick check of the gazetteer confirmed my suspicions. I wonder if the prankster was ever found out. Knowing BT, he's probably just retired from a directorship.

And yes, I do wish I'd kept that booklet. Sigh.

why not:)

Hey, I liked Draper's Record. There were pictures of women in nice undies in it.

(Well, you have to take your pleasures where you can when young and impressionable)

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