• Greggs – EN-US written here

    Greggs logoIn recent days, pastry products purveyor Greggs suffered an IT outage that left shops unable to process certain types of payment, the BBC reported yesterday. The company has over 2,000 branches and employs 21,500 persons.

    Some shops were forced to close and posted notices saying they were closed for the day or could only accept certain payment types. Fans of hot pastry-based snacks took to social media, with some labelling it as bordering on a national emergency. One of the more interesting signs from an unidentified branch of Greggs is shown below.

    Notice reads Due to a system outage, we are CARD ONLY temporarily and our staff cant do math

    Yes, you did read that correctly: “Due to a system outage, we are CARD ONLY temporarily and our staff cant do math“.

    A system outage is not the only woe to beset this particular branch of Greggs. First of all, there’s a punctuation thief about, unless the staff cant is hypocritical and sanctimonious talk, typically of a moral, religious, or political nature from employees. Secondly, what is this math? Mathematics, the knowledge that includes the topics of numbers, formulas and related structures, shapes and the spaces in which they are contained, and quantities and their changes, is abbreviated differently by speakers of British and American English; the former with maths, the latter with math, as in the well-known US phrase, (you) do the math.

    Fears of the creeping Americanisation of British English have been doing the rounds for about a century already, but are becoming more prevalent due to the pervasiveness of US culture and a general lack of awareness of the distinctions between the two dialects. For instance, your ‘umble scribe would call something that ran his laptop a program, whilst something broadcast on the radio or TV would be a programme: some folk – quite possibly younger – would use program without distinction for both.

  • “Much lover,” my luvver?

    Further evidence arrives today of the continuing decline of journalistic standards at Reach plc titles – already a bar so low it’s in danger of touching the ground.

    The proof: the author of this piece in today’s Bristol (Evening) Post/Live cannot even spell one of the title’s favourite clichés – much-loved – opting for a Bristolian sounding but meaningless much lover instead.

    Headline - Tributes after much lover Antiques Roadshow expert Henry Sandon dies

    What is even more surprising is that the author is an award-winner within the journalistic trade.

    If the qualityu control for press articles is as low as that down at Bristol’s Temple Way Ministry of Truth, your ‘umble scribe wonders just how much lower it must be where gongs for hacks are involved… :-D.

  • Where’s that to?

    The Galleries shopping centre in Broadmead in Bristol opened in October 1991. Originally managed by managed by Capital & Regional and Aviva Investors, the complex is now in the hands of LaSalle Investment Management, whose registered office is in Chicago, IL in the United States.

    However, this has not stopped them from trying to appear a local company: note the phrase “Proud of our city

    However, despite their pride in our city, LaSalle still manages to fail miserably as shown in the photograph below.

    Shopping centre mural showing caption Bristol Suspension Bridge

    Last time I looked there was no Bristol Suspension Bridge. There are, however, a few suspension bridges around the city, but none of them is named after the city of their siting.

    Somehow a photograph of the world-famous Clifton Suspension Bridge designed by Brunel but not opened until after his death has been used in error.

    Ask any Bristolian its whereabouts and the answer is likely to be:”Bristle Suspension Bridge: where’s that to?”

  • Heron on the Danny

    On a walk into town on Sunday in bright sunshine, you ‘umble scribe encountered a visitor to the River Frome in the inner city (where it’s also known at the Danny. Ed.) near the Peel Street bridge – a juvenile grey heron.

    Heron in the Frome, BS5

    According to the RSPB, grey herons can be seen around any kind of water – garden ponds, lakes, rivers and even on estuaries.

    The one pictured above was seen in close proximity to a stretch of the Danny frequented by a small shoal of roach, so perhaps it was after one (or more) of them.

    In addition to fish, grey herons will also consume small birds such as ducklings, small mammals like voles and amphibians.

  • The tannery ghost?

    Wellington Road in St Judes runs along the west bank of the River Frome (aka the Danny in east Bristol. Ed.) offering views of the industrial buildings on the far bank.

    View of J. Scadding & Son's timber yard featuring brick remains of former tannery on the site
    The ghost of building past in the timber yard

    In front of the more modern timber sheds erected by current site occupants J. Scadding & Son, are some older structures of brick and stone, which appear to be nineteenth century industrial buildings. In the 19th century the banks of the Frome were densely crowded with industrial buildings, particularly for processes that required ready access to an abundant supply of water, such as brewers and tanners.

    A quick search through the vintage maps on Bristol City Council’s excellent Know Your Place website reveals that Scadding’s current site was occupied by the Earlsmead Tannery in the late 19th century, whilst Scadding’s website reveals the company only moved to the site in the mid-1950s..

    Late 19th century Earlsmead Tannery
    Site of Scadding’s timber yard in the late 19th century.

    Could those standing walls be Earlsmead Tannery’s remains?

  • Peel Street meets the Globe

    A piece of artwork has appeared on the parched grass of Peel Street Green Space, which occupies the ground between Pennywell Road and Riverside Park on the far side of Peel Street Bridge over the Frome (aka the Danny in east Bristol. Ed.).

    Globe artwork at Peel Street

    Its arrival seems to have pre-empted the Bristol Post, which today wrote:

    A new public art trail reflecting on colonial histories and the impact of the slave trade is coming to Bristol.
    More than 100 artist-designed globe sculptures will appear in seven cities across the UK from Saturday and will be free to view by the public until October 31.

    The project, which is organised by The World Reimagined, aims to explore the UK’s relationship with the Transatlantic slave trade, its impact on society and how action can be taken to make racial justice a reality. The designs of the globes produced by the commissioned artists explore themes such as the culture of Africa before the slave trade and an ode to the Windrush generation.

    The World Reimagined has sited 103 unique Globes across the 10 trails in 7 host cities across the UK – Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London and Swansea. All the trails will be connected to a digital platform that enables visitors to explore the collection and the history it reflects.

    The Peel Street globe is entitled Like The Sun and was created by Felix ‘FLX’ Braun, a Bristol-based a contemporary fine artist and muralist

    The site of the globe.
    © OpenStreetMap contributors

    The Bristol trail is handily shown on a map by The World Reimagined on which the globe installations are termed ‘Learning Globes‘.

    Bristol trail
    Click on image for full-sized map
  • The half a million pound Pom

    The news is full of stories of inflation, which has now reached its highest level for many years, not only in the English Empire (which some still called the United Kingdom, Ed.) but around the world.

    Liz TrussNeedless to say, the travel and transport sector has not escaped inflationary pressures; and there is one particularly egregious example of this in the latest junket by one Elizabeth Mary Truss, inexplicably promoted to the post of Foreign Secretary in party-time alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s talent-free Cabinet.

    Liz is not exactly frugal where the expenditure of public funds in concerned. A previous junket she took to Japan when Trade Secretary cost the taxpayer a cool £2,080 in food and drink over 3 days for her and her civil service minders, despite these expenses being initially declared as £182 by the DIT.

    This prompted Opposition front bencher Emily Thornberry to remark as follows:

    There is a clear pattern of behaviour emerging here with Liz Truss, which raises serious questions about her character, because if her instinct is to hide the truth and hope that no one asks questions even over these expenses claims, what else is she willing to do that about?

    On her latest jolly (for which read trade mission. Ed.) to Australia, Ms Truss has managed to rack up a bill of a cool £500,000, mainly due to the using the government’s Airbus A321neo aircraft with special flag-shagger livery for the trip despite the same itinerary being able to be covered by scheduled flights at a far cheaper cost.

    The round trip to Australia and back burnt an estimated 150 tonnes of fuel and generated nearly 500 tonnes of CO2, according to The Independent.

    Truss’ entourage for the flight comprised 14 persons, not counting the 2 sets of flight crew needed for the trip.

    One of the excuses given for such profligacy was that of “security considerations“, including the fear that other passengers might have overheard conversations between Truss and her officials. Well, Liz and her garrulous staff are all supposed to be grown-ups, so isn’t it about time they learnt there are times when one keeps one’s mouth shut?

    Justifying her decision, The Independent quotes Ms Truss as saying the following:

    I used the Government plane – that is why we have a Government plane: to enable Government ministers to conduct Government business, and that’s what I flew to Australia in.

    In former times, Truss could have got to Australia for as little as 10 of your English pounds as part of the Assisted Passage Migration Scheme and been a so-called Ten Pound Pom instead of a half a million quid one, but then again she’s a woman in a hurry, especially when it comes to spending money that doesn’t belong to her. Bearing that in mind, a single trip costing £250,000 on Flag-Shagger Airways would have been great value for money in ridding the country of a particularly useless cabinet minister.

  • 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. 😀

  • Bristol on the buses

    Buses are Bristol’s major mode of public transport and as your ‘umble scribe is now in possession of a geriatric’s bus pass, he might actually get around to exploring their possibilities.

    One linguistic peculiarity of using the city’s buses which must be perplexing to outsiders and visitors is the use of the term drive to denote the person in charge of the vehicle. This normally takes the form of the grateful form of address “Cheers Drive” as passengers get off at their intended stops.

    This phrase was last year used to name a new street in the BS5 postcode area, as reported at the time by BBC News.

    Bus destination board sign reads: Sorry me babbers. I'm not in serviceIt now seems that the buses themselves have also taken to addressing potential passengers in dialect, as per this photo courtesy of the WeLoveKeynsham Twitter account.

    Of course, it’s not always been a smooth ride on the city’s buses.

    Back in 1963, there was a boycott of the city’s buses led by youth worker Paul Stephenson and others over the Bristol Omnibus Company’s shameful and discriminatory refusal to employ black or Asian people.

    Furthermore, the reliability of quality of services has been a perennial problem and formed the subject of Fred Wedlock’s song, Bristol Buses.

    Cheers drive!

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