Oddities

A very special bus service

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One of the phrases guaranteed to dismay every regular user of Britain’s chaotic and overpriced railway network is rail replacement service. This involves taking the scheduled service off the rails (usually for engineering works at busy holiday periods when everyone either wants to get away and/or visit friends and loved ones. Ed.) and substituting the rolling stock with buses, with the inevitable increased journey times and a reduction in passenger comfort.

However, these rail replacement services do not serve Stapleton Road railway station, where the sign shown below is affixed to the Frome viaduct wing wall on the station approach.

Sign title reads rail replacementment buses

As the station is under the management of First Great Western, an alleged train operating company, you ‘umble scribe assumes it was their staff who designed, wrote and approved the final signage.

For any passing First Great Western signage design drones, here’s a wee tip: a spellchecker now comes as a standard feature of all popular office productivity suites. 😀

Thank you Viz

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When Viz comic first emerged onto the British media scene in 1979 its content was based on parodying British children’s comics, notably The Beano and The Dandy (both of which your ‘umble scribe read as a child. Ed.) – of the post-war period with the extensive use of obscenity, toilet humour, black comedy, surreal humour and generally sexual or violent storylines.

It is therefore no surprise that Viz has been taking aim at – and having fun with – part-time alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and his government of high-functioning imbeciles (the only funny-bone ticklers having a hard job mocking Bozo and his clowns are the satirists. Ed.).

Viz's targeting uses as its vehicle the long-running classic British Carry On film franchise series.

Spoof cinema poster for Carry On Covid

Nevertheless, there seems to have been some mis-casting in the Viz version: Sid James has more competence in his little finger than Bozo the Clown has in his whole anatomy, whilst Priti Patel is more noted for her lack of humanity than an ability to deliver a double entendre.

Only one resident at a time

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The flats at Combfactory Court in Easton have a capacious car park with at least 6 or 8 spaces.

However, owing to stringent restrictions imposed on its use – as shown below on the notice on its railings – only one resident is allowed to park at any one time.

Notice reads Resident's Only Parking

Resident’s only? Not a chance for greengrocer’s then!

Whoever is in charge of the car park has contributed to public view a textbook example of the greengrocer’s apostrophe. This is an informal term in British English for the non-standard use of an apostrophe before the final -s in the plural. It would appear the efforts of examinations body the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority since 2006 have been in vain.

Ambiguity corner – latest

For the second time this week, Reach plc’s Wales Online title graces this blog with its presence due to its journalists’ failure to understand the word ambiguity, let alone recognise what it means and how avoiding it is crucial for members of the fourth estate.

Today sees a classic ambiguous headline for this story.

Headline reads; Boy, 15, approached woman in woods armed with log and said 'give me all your stuff'

Who was armed with the log? Take your pick!

Amongst other things, the Guardian and Observer style guide states that ambiguity is a common problem in headlines”.

Welsh sheepdog lives to 89?

Another day, another confusing headline from a Reach plc title, this time the Daily Post/North Wales Live, with this story about an 89 year-old sheepdog, an 89 year-old man with werewolf proclivities or something else, which escapes your ‘umble scribe’s imagination for the time being.

Headline reads: 89-year-old who caught Covid has just made the Welsh national sheepdog team

For a sheepdog, he looks remarkably human!

I’m perplexed!

However, there is one upside to the policy of Reach titles to cram the whole story into the headline, i.e. one normally doesn’t have to waste time reading the article.

~Are Reach titles operating on the TL:DR principle?

Answers in the comments please!

Priti good new stencil art

A new piece of stencil art has turned up on recent days on a wall at the junction of Russelltown Avenue and Whitehall Road in east Bristol on the building with the ever-changing messages (posts passim).

Merely as a matter of coincidence, it depicts one of those residents of Whitehall, SW1, namely one Priti Patel, an Estuary English elocution expert inexplicably elevated to the position of Home Secretary by part-time alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, after she had previously been forced to resign in 2017 as International Development Minister for breaking the ministerial code by having secret meetings with Israeli officials while serving under Theresa May.

stencil art of Priti Patel holding hammer with the word vandals and the Conservative Party oak tree logo beneath

Since her return to high public office, the permanently smirking Patel has been accused of bullying her staff, resulting in the resignation of Home Office boss Sir Philip Putnam.

I can’t help speculating if the hammer in Patel’s hand was one of the reasons for Sir Philip’s departure.

At the foot of the stencil art the Tory Party oak tree logo and the word Vandals appear.

I have lived most of my life under Tory governments and for the majority of that time, particularly with effect from the election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979, the Conservatives have not conserved anything. Indeed they’ve destroyed important ones like manufacturing industry (which used to provide millions of skilled, well-paid jobs. Ed.) and the trade union movement, whilst flogging state assets to their rich friends and supporters.

Given the party’s record of destruction, perhaps the claw hammer in Patel’s hand should have been replaced by a sledge hammer instead. 😀

How to confuse the reader

The output of the English Empire’s free and fearless press has in recent decades undergone several changes: and so it should; they are working with something that is dynamic and ever-changing – language.

One of the most recent of these changes appears to be to attempt to get all the salient facts of a story crammed into its headline. This could have the saving grace of readers being spared plodding through paragraphs of more dreadful prose.

Which brings us neatly to yesterday’s Daily Mail and the fine example below of an overstuffed headline.

Headline reads: Christine Lampard is left in hysterics as Dr Amir Khan's mother calls him while he's live on Lorraine... before a fly shoots up his nose as he drinks Victoria Beckham 'moon water'

Are you sure you didn’t leave out any minor detail that could still have been crammed into the headline, Mail Online? 😉

Trump in Bristol

Yesterday while walking through Riverside Park into town, your ‘umble scribe encountered some street art which immediately reminded him of Donald J. Trump, a tax dodger and serial sexual predator who was inexplicably elected as 45th President of the United States of America.

Grafitti on street furniture in Riverside Park

Your correspondent believes it is flattering to its subject as is shown by a comparison with a photograph of the Orange One captured in a typical denigratory pose.

The Orange One courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Do you agree? Have your say in the comments below.

Whitehall BS5 sends a message to Whitehall SW1

This blog has written before about the changing messages that appear on a garage wall at the apex of the junction of Russelltown Avenue, Cannon Street and Whitehall Road (posts passim).

The message has now changed again and reads as per the photo below.

Text in photograph reads Boris is a big bumbahole

According to Urban Dictionary, bumbahole is a synonym of arsehole in British English and asshole in American English.

One can safely assume that the Boris being referenced is none other than the superannuated Billy Bunter-like figure of one certain Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, who has been inexplicably promoted beyond his competence to the office of Prime Minister of the English Empire, a job he fulfils to his own satisfaction on a part time basis.

Among the less favourable characteristics of Bunter’s personality are gluttony, laziness, racism, deceit, sloth, self-importance and conceit, all of which have been extensively documented down the decades by others more eloquent than your ‘umble scribe (e.g. his former employer Max Hastings) as also being present in the part-time alleged prime minister’s character.

Boats grow legs

Since the widespread dismissal from newsrooms of sub-editors, the very people who would have spotted and corrected any inaccuracies and/or anomalies, many more hidden exclusives are being reported nowadays by our free and inaccurate press, provided one knows where to look and reads carefully.

Last week, the Shropshire Star had a hidden exclusive buried deeply in a piece on towpath repairs to the Shropshire Union Canal and local traders’ fear of loss of footfall in my home town of Market Drayton.

Shropshire Union canal in Market Drayton

Betton Mill on the Shropshire Union Canal in Market Drayton. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Canal & River Trust, which manages the waterway, is planning to close the towpath through Market Drayton for repairs lasting two months. This will also entail a loss of moorings during the works.

The fact that is has chosen do these works in the ten weeks from July 5 to September 10 hasn’t gone down too well with the director of one local boatyard, who is quoted as intimating that the closure would be a hammer blow to the summer trade, preventing visitors from mooring in the town and visiting shops and restaurants.

In a quotation in the report, she said the following:

It is basically the full length of the canal that goes through the town. Boats that would normally moor up and walk round the town, they won’t be able to do that.

Boats that would normally moor up and walk around town?

These two actions surely would be consecutive and not concurrent?

When did boats evolve the means of locomotion to be able to walk round the town?

Why have the national and international media not picked up the Star’s exclusive? After all, it is not every day that aquatic craft evolve enough to generate limbs.

If you have an answer to any of the above questions, please leave them in the comments below. 😀

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