Posts tagged food

Fishy business

When it comes to advertising, your correspondent shares George Orwell’s opinion as expressed in 1936 in “Keep the Aspidistra Flying“, i.e.:

The public are swine; advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill-bucket

However, I’ll make an exception for a local fishmonger’s van seen on Good Friday in Fouesnant market in Brittany and depicted below.

Fish van seen in Fouesnant market. Brittany

Click on the image for the full version

Billing themselves as a hard-working/responsible/serious company (Maison sérieuse), Poissonnerie Cabioch & Fils’ signwriter clearly has a humorous streak when it comes to advertising her/his client’s common items of trade.

For those not well versed in French, the bounties of the sea shown on the side of the van are listed below with their equivalents in English. Some also have slang meanings in French. Each link in the list leads to the relevant Wikipedia page in the respective language for the species concerned.

Talking of fishy things, it’s very nearly April Fools’ Day, or for the French “Poisson d’avril“. For children, “Poisson d’avril” consists of sticking a paper fish on the backs of people they wish to make fun of.

The earliest known occurrence of “Poisson d’avril” in French is found in the “ Doctrinal du temps présent” by the 15th century French poet and priest Pierre Michault, dating from 1466. However, its use to describe a traditional trick played on 1st April is only confirmed in the 17th century, when its earliest known occurrence is found in “La Vie de Charles V, duc de Lorraine” by historian Jean de Labrune published in 1691. It is first recorded in the dictionary of the Académie française, the guardians of the French language, in 1718.

Fish fingers going over a weir

A fish-fingery April Fools’ prank. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Finally fish – in this case rotten fish – also come into play in French if one wants to call someone every name under the sun; the equivalent French expression is “engueuler comme du poisson pourri“.

Sexy shellfish?

Many press organisations have sacked sub-editors and dispensed with proofreading in recent years as a means of saving money.

Alabama’s Times Daily in the USA seems to have been part of this movement, as is apparent from the following photo of its front page today on the unfolding story of former Alabama state judge and Republican politician Roy Moore‘s past sexual indiscretions.

Headline reads party divided over sex clams

If one were dining out, what would be the right wine to accompany sex clams? 😉

Hat tip: Dr Ray Schestowitz.

Real tripe from Florence

Today Theresa May, a woman who does Prime Minister impressions, will descend on the Italian city of Florence to make a speech. She will have with her a full supporting cast of cabinet ministers, plus hangers-on from the British mainstream media.

The speech, all about Brexit, is being talked up by the British media as an attempt to prompt progress in the stalled negotiations on the UK’s exit from the European Union.

However, no senior figures from the EU will be in attendance at May’s speech at the church of Sant Maria Novella (conveniently situated opposite the main railway station for a quick getaway. Ed.).

However, for true lovers of tripe, this blog has a better recommendation: ignore Theresa’s speech altogether and go for Lampredotto instead.

Lampredotto sandwich

Picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

This typical Florentine dish is made from the abomasum, the fourth and final stomach of the cow.

Lampredotto” is derived from the Italian word for lamprey eels, lampreda, as the tripe resembles a lamprey in both shape and colour. Lampredotto is typically chopped, slow-cooked in a vegetable broth, seasoned with herbs and served on a bread roll; in addition, it is sometimes topped with either a piquant or green sauce.

One final point: Florence was once a leading financial centre – a status it may soon be sharing with a post-Brexit City of London.

Railway Path work day this weekend

Work Day posterThis coming Saturday 23rd September, Up Our Street will be organising a work day on the Bristol and Bath Railway Path from 10am to 3pm.

Up Our Street will be testing a ‘Play Zone’ on the Bristol and Bath Railway Path for four weeks to see if small interventions can improve the experience of the path for all users.

Volunteers are needed to get involved with painting and stencilling, cutting back vegetation, litter picking and making a sculpture. Ideas for further possible improvements will also be welcome.

In return volunteers will be offered lunch, tea and a rewarding day in return. This project is supported by URBACT and is part of a community research project with the University of Bristol.

To take part, please come to Owen Square Park (map).

For further details or express your interest, contact Celia on community [at] or telephone 0117 954 2834.

Mr Gove pays a visit

Yesterday the BBC reported on the visit of DEFRA Minister Michael Gove (the man who, when Education Secretary, wanted all schools to be “above average”. Ed.) to the Antrim Show in the company of DUP MPs Paul Girvan and Ian Paisley.

The DUP are of course the minority Conservative government’s new best friends, having bribed them with £1.5 bn. from the “magic money tree” (© Prime Minister Theresa May) to prop it up in crucial parliamentary votes.

Whilst courting his party’s new best pals in the DUP, Gove managed at the same time to snub half of the Northern Irish electorate by pulling out of a meeting with Sinn Féin at the last minute.

However, the BBC fails to make mention of the sterling groundwork done by DEFRA civil servants in communicating the pre-visit wisdom of the Minister to the local media. In this context we should be grateful to Belfast freelance journalist Amanda Ferguson for posting the following on her Twitter account.

shot of Defra statement for Gove's Antrim visit mentioning Welsh lamb

No, you didn’t misread the above. Gove mentioned Welsh lamb, a product with a protected food name, the implication of this being that he believes this fine product from west of Offa’s Dyke actually comes from even further west from over the Irish Sea.

One has to wonder whether Mr Gove could find his backside with both hands with such a poor grasp of geography. It was evidently not a subject at which he excelled at Aberdeen’s independent Robert Gordon’s Academy, to which he won a scholarship.

For your ‘umble scribe this is yet further proof that the government in Westminster and their sidekicks, the mandarins in Whitehall, care little for anywhere in the country outside the M25 and the metropolitan commuter belt and tend to view the devolved regions of the United Kingdom and the English regions too as little more than colonies of London and therefore ripe for exploitation and patronising treatment.

Trip Advisor under fire over Welsh reviews

Trip Advisor, the world’s largest travel site, is under fire from Welsh speakers for refusing to publish reviews in Welsh, the Daily Post reports.

Welsh flag

Tour guide Emrys Llewelyn had posted a bilingual review of Caernarfon‘s Blas restaurant, but was told by Trip Advisor it wouldn’t be published because it wasn’t one of the site’s current 28 languages, which include Finnish, Serbian, Slovak and Vietnamese.

According to the Daily Post, Mr Llewelyn said: “Trip Advisor’s attitude is disgusting. They do not recognise our language nor culture.”

In response Trip Advisor stated the company was looking at expanding the number of languages used on the site, but added the following:

Unfortunately, the process of adding new languages to Trip Advisor is one that does take a significant amount of time and investment – it is not simply a ‘flick of the switch’ process. The reason for this is that, in order to maintain the integrity of our site, we must ensure that every language in which we operate is fully integrated into our moderation and fraud detection tools and processes.

Another dodgy Bing translation

As this blog has pointed out previously, Microsoft’s Bing is not very good at translating (posts passim).

This view was further reinforced today, as shown in the screenshot below.

another fine Bing mistranslation

A more accurate translation of Mr Grote’s little rhyme is as follows:

Whoever grills a sausage for another
Has a sausage grilling device.

Read all about the sausage grilling robot.

And Bing: do try and keep up! 🙂

Christmas Market in St Werburghs this Friday

A Christmas Market is taking place at St Werburghs Community Centre this coming Friday, 4th December from 5.00 to 8.00 pm.

2015 Christmas market poster

The Christmas Market is yet another very popular community-led event hosted by St Werburghs Community Centre.

Join us on Friday for a festive feast of all things creative and buy original arts and crafts from the best local artists and makers. There are always plenty of wonderful stalls booked filled with personal, handmade and unique gifts for your family and friends.

The following items will be on sale:

  • Paintings, photography, prints, stained glass, pottery & ceramics;
  • Handmade crafts, knitted baby clothing and home accessories;
  • Natural, organic and fairtrade skincare products;
  • Wooden toys and wood carvings;
  • Fairtrade gifts and jewellery;
  • Locally produced and grown food, honey, chocolate and beer;
  • Bric-a-brac; and
  • Indian and Tibetan gifts.

If those items fail to tempt you through the door, the Christmas Market will also feature:

  • Live performance;
  • Café with home-made food and cakes;
  • Children’s activities; and
  • Massage and relaxation therapies.
  • If you need any more convincing to come along, here’s a short video from last year’s event.

    For more information, please contact the Centre on 0117 955 1351 or e-mail on office [at]

Turnip tops = clitoris; Google Translate strikes again!

Today’s Guardian reports that organisers of the “Feira do grelo” food festival in As Pontes in Galicia were shocked when their event celebrating the culinary delights of turnips tops, a traditional staple turned out to be celebrating a rude part of the female anatomy.

To quote The Guardian’s piece:

But for the past few months, the small town was marketing a very different kind of festival after it used Google Translate to put the Galician word grelo into Castilian Spanish, ending up with it inviting people to take part in a “clitoris festival”.

And quoting yet again:

It meant the town’s “Feria [sic] do grelo” or rapini festival – held every February with tastings and awards for the best grelos – became “Feria clítoris” in Spanish.

image of rapini or turnip tops

Clitoris? Yes, according to Google Translate!

Furthermore, The Independent adds that the error was not discovered until Castilian-speaking rapini fans visited the site to read about the upcoming festival and found themselves reading about a local clitoris festival instead of the benefits of the local vegetable.

The humorous consequences were fully reported in The Local.

The Castilian Spanish version of the town council’s website’s content about the festival included such howlers as “The clitoris is one of the typical products of Galician cuisine,” and “Since 1981, the festival has made the clitoris one of the star products of the local gastronomy.

The reason for this embarrassing howler is that Google Translate mistakes the Galician grelo for the Portuguese word grelo – which is both the word for the vegetable as well archaic slang for clitoris.

“It’s a very serious error on the part of Google and we are thinking about making an official complaint for Google to properly recognise the Galician language so this kind of thing doesn’t happen again,” said town hall spokeswoman Montserrat Garcia.

Along with Spanish, Galician is an official language in Spain’s north-western region of Galicia, where over 2.4 million people speak the regional tongue.

Hat tip: ashleyrpz.

BarnCamp burns the nerd gag

Last weekend saw the staging of BarnCamp 2015 (in which Bristol Wireless’ volunteers have been involved since its inception. Ed.). Running from Friday 19th June to Sunday 21st, BarnCamp was as usual a low-cost rural DIY skillsharing event open to everyone, including UK activists, campaigners, people involved in social and community groups and anybody else with an interest in technology and how to subvert it to put it to good use.

According to the sales pitch: “All skill levels are invited and we promise that workshops are not too geeky due to our infamous nerd gag” (of which more later. Ed.).

Once again we were the guests of Highbury Farm, a housing co-operative set in some 30 acres of unimproved but rather steep grassland at Redbrook in the beautiful Wye Valley south of Monmouth.

Looking north towards Monmouth from Highbury Farm

Looking north towards Monmouth from Highbury Farm

Your correspondent formed part of the forward crew who went to site on Wednesday to set up the event. This year a few more of us were on hand to ensure that all the essential infrastructure – large tents for workshops, signage, kitchen, other refreshment facilities, camp fire, showers and the like – was all in place for the first arrivals. Indeed it was more or less complete by lunchtime on Thursday. Well done all!

Once into the event proper, each day started with breakfast, followed by a plenary session, then workshops, lunch, more workshops and concluding with supper and socialising.

The workshops this year had the usual variety: an introduction to satellite communications, basic electronics, using WordPress and OpenStreetMap, to mention but a few. There were even sessions on basic self defence, whilst Ben’s ever-popular wild food walk took place on no fewer than 3 occasions.

Your correspondent was in charge of building the nightly campfire, a duty that occasionally involved some sheltering of the previous night’s embers from the rain, whilst even the woodpile showed its geeky side.

sign on woodpile reading session locked; enter password

The pyromaniac’s equivalent of the locked screen

The woodpile geeking out wasn’t the only bit of strangeness occurring on site during BarnCamp. There was also the the intriguing sounding shamanic laptop massage that happened somewhere in the surrounding woodland, for which scant photographic evidence exists.

Shamanic laptop massage montage

Shamanic laptop massage

What’s happened to the nerd gag? And what is it in the first place? This was a standard implemented some years ago to stop the less technical becoming too intimidated to the use of too much jargon by the more technically adept. Workshop presenters are encouraged to explain things properly if anyone so asks; this year there was even a space on the information wall where BarnCampers could share the jargon they had just acquired.

BarnCamp jargon buster

The jargon buster

Nevertheless, there was one workshop – Sunday morning’s session on server optimisation – that not only ripped off the nerd gag, but set light to it and threw it away! (And that was just with the first slide of the presentation! That one slide contained more technical acronyms than the rest of the programme put together. Ed.) However, this was perhaps the most jargon-laden session of the weekend and the most geeky, but it did come with lots of laughs… as long as you could get the jokes.

I hope all my fellow BarnCampers had as good a weekend as I did and once again my thanks go out to the good folk at Highbury Farm for their friendliness and hospitality. See you at the next one! 🙂

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