Monday, 30 December 2013

Further truths behind British-isms

Although a 'Londoner' of some twenty-three years standing now, I am still - as my beloved OH is wont to point out - a 'nomad'.

Which is pretty rich coming from a Welshman who has been here longer than I have.

Never mind, I digress.

What amuses me no end, however, are the subtle nuances that come with the English language, and the misunderstandings - intentional or not - which arise when others (read: non-British natives) misinterpret the true mean of certain expressions.

Here are some of the ones that have done the rounds of the internet in recent months:

A funny exchange with a friend and fellow blogger about this got me thinking: what about all the other conversations you have where certain meanings are either entirely misunderstood or even taken at face value?

Let's see what we've got. The adapted LCM version, of course.
(click to enlarge - and that is not a euphemism)

And there are many others, but I must be off.
Nothing to be miffed about either, innit.


Friday, 20 December 2013

The annual circular letter, 2013 version

Dear friends/family/neighbours/acquaintances/plebs/whatevs (delete as appropriate)

Once more I find myself at the tail end of another year and wonder: WTF happened?


Given my renown penchant for early rising and an increasingly busy training schedule ("training for what?" I hear you ask, yes, exactly, details here), coupled with sporadic business meetings, a myriad of rugby-related engagements, increasing involvement in school governorship, and the growing concern that my eldest child will soon be taller than me (VERY SOON), I suddenly realised yesterday morning that the year is nearly over.

Or, to quote Kath and Kim, "It's ovah! O. V. A. H."

I then remembered that my realisation probably had more to do with the lengthy wine-tasting event I had attended the night before with my business partners and selected clients, which resulted in missing the last tube home*, getting to bed at some ungodly hour and then waking up wondering why a) my head was still spinning, and b) I had a sock in place of a tongue in my mouth.

It's also called getting older. And lack of sleep. Never mind, I digress, as ever.

Anyway. So, 2013. What of it then?

The good stuff:
- holidays
- training
- friends
- family
- business
- ridiculous autocorrect 'spellings'
- this
- and this

The mediocre stuff:
- needless paperwork
- wasting time on social media
- tolerating fools
- manually correcting autocorrect 'spellings'

The stuff-that-has-me-rolling-my-eyes:
- laundry
- OH's snoring
- muddy rugby boots (yes, I know, I know)
- autocorrect that persists in autocorrecting 'spellings'

And yes, there is lots more.

But if I wrote it all down it would not only take me half way in to 2014, I would also have to seek a(nother) alternative identity. Needs must and all that. 'Tis the time to be cheerful, or so the radio jingles advertisements happy clappy bunnies they keep reminding me.

I have done my usual and vetoed the Christmas card malarky because I am not in to the 'Look how many cards we've got this year!' competition, plus I figured out the kids get enough to make up any shortfall, and anyway they all end up in recycling on January 1st.

Xmas - 0, LCM - 1.

I capitulated regarding the tree though. Apparently after two hours of pestering, OH gave in to the offspring and came back with a three-foot high, live, potted, Nordic fir. Suffice to say my military instructions to the cherubs were stern enough ("less is more, no gold tinsel, and avoid the lop-sided look") and I have not had to spend a further two hours dismantling and re-uphostering the festive shrub.

Xmas - 1, LCM - 2.

And presents. Yup, sorted. Although this year I have bought mine on behalf of OH and even wrapped it for myself. Why? Because if I end up with one more hoodie top as a gift from him I will revert to being a true teenager, start wearing my jeans below my bum, and sulk around saying everything is 'boring'. There is only so much you can tolerate.

Xmas - 1, LCM - 3.

Enjoy the festivities everyone.
See you on the other side.


(c) Scott Adams

* If you saw some random woman remonstrating with a TfL guard about getting access to a tube station very late at night, I trust you listened carefully. She was merely querying - albeit loudly - why all the 'workers' have matching day-glo outfits and hardhats for what should be a relatively easy commute. As you do, after a few *ahem* drinks. At half past midnight.

(I did also ask whether the headgear and power tools were optional extras so they could avoid idle chit-chat with fellow travellers. It still did not get me access.)


Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Crisis? What crisis?

Having just returned from (another) long weekend in Italy to see friends and family, I can officially state that Berlusconi *pulls face* was right: there is apparently NO crisis in Italy.

Everything is fine, absolutely dandy, sweet-as-they-come, she'll-be-right-on-the-night fabulously okay. "Positive thinking", as the plastic fantastic perma-tanned bunga-bunga short-arsed idiot was wont of saying, can fix anything.

People still walk around looking as smart and polished as ever. The new cars on the road are aplenty, the traffic jams undiminished. The streets abound with locals doing the 'passeggiata', the shops appear busy. The restaurants are bustling.

Except that nobody is buying - the lack of visible shopping bags being ample proof - and solely the affluent Chinese are making purchases in the elegant Via Montenapoleone. The only outward sign really that times are tight, very tight.

As my lovely friend Donatella (not the Versace one, but far more talented and untainted by surgical manipulations) commented:

"In Italy there is this perception that something, some miracle, will always save us at the last minute."

That minute came and went some time ago. But in Italy life continues regardless, as if someone, somewhere, will come to the rescue and replenish the (totally depleted) public coffers, sort out the bureaucracy, place the economy back on track, and put the country on the global map for the right reasons (Belusconi not being one of them).

She continued:

"Italians are very good at ignoring the obvious and pretending nothing has changed, right until the shit is up to their necks."


The 'ma che ci vuoi fare?' attitude (lit. trans: 'what do you expect me to do about it?') is pretty legendary and - to me, at least - infuriating.

However, when everything around you is capitulating - the economy, the justice system, the public sector, the stalwarts of industry - you can almost accept that there is little any one individual can do to change the tide.

The difference this time round is that the shit is not just reaching their necks.
It is up to their top lip and there is a distinct air of 'fed up-ness' wafting about.

I am half hoping this might, might, just be the momentum needed for my paternal country to get its arse in to gear, pull itself up by the bootstraps and get stuck in to shovelling the shit away. By whatever means possible.

If for no other reason than there is no white knight on the horizon.

And shit stinks, no matter how long you ignore it.

Donatella's solution


Yadda yadda yadda...