Friday, 31 December 2010

114. Memorial Plaque Series (11). Clevedon Pier, Somerset

Quirky name for a dog perhaps?
Otherwise I can't for the life of me figure out
how a gerbil could annoy a postman...


Thursday, 30 December 2010

113. Christmas Chit-Chat 4, Bristol

Frank (left) and friend,
taken at Halloween last month.

Neighbour, woman (57):   (Bearing gift for Frank aged 4)  So Frank, are you going to stay up to see Santa?

Frank (4):  (Nodding vigorously) Yep.

Neighbour:  And are you sure you’re going to be able to stay awake to hear the sleigh on the roof?  I remember I used to try so hard but I never managed it…

Frank:  (loftily)  Oh yes, I’ve seen him lots of times.  I always see him.

(PS – neighbour looks forward to reminding Frank of this conversation in about 5 years’ time!)


Wednesday, 29 December 2010

112. Christmas Chit-Chat 3, Bristol

Scene:  Overheard from the Christmas table for the 8-10 year olds by the older folk at the “big” table.

Boy (11):  Bet you don’t know all the commandments.  I know ‘em.

(They start calling them out)

Girl (12):  I know one.  Thou shalt not admit adultery.


Tuesday, 28 December 2010

111. Christmas Chit-Chat 2, Bristol

Scene:  Standing around after midnight mass, temperature at -9° Celsius.

First woman (60):  … and then they found out he’d been married before and hadn’t got divorced.

Second woman (70):  Yeah, I’d heard he were a pigamist.

First woman (60):  (Turning to her husband)  Wossit called when you’ve only got one wife?  Oh I know (turning back, not giving him time to reply) – monotony, innit.


Sunday, 26 December 2010

109. Christmas Chit-Chat 1, Bristol

Scene:  Christmas lunch, everybody talking at once, then suddenly a gap in the conversation, and this is overheard.

Man (83):  … I normally have a shower every day

Wife (80):  Take no notice, he fell out with the soap years ago.  A rinse is what he has.


Saturday, 25 December 2010

108. School essay about Christmas, before proof-reading...

“In last year’s Christmas concert, Lindsay played the main prat.  I played one of the smaller prats and I would like to have a bigger prat this year.”


Friday, 24 December 2010

107. Cat Dictionary Series (14)

Scene:  The Christmas tree is up in the porch, with its delicate ornaments swinging gently and glinting all colours as the fairy lights go on and off.  The living Christmas card is abruptly ruined as in a flurry and a jangling of protesting baubles Rusty launches himself at one of them, triumphantly bringing it down in pieces.  Woman realises too late that she should have closed the porch door…

Translation:  They’re so ungrateful.  All I’m trying to do is save them from those shiny birds on the tree – they must have got in the house when I wasn’t looking.  I’m an expert, I can deal with it.  Close the door behind you please.


Thursday, 23 December 2010

106. Memorial Plaque Series (9). Clevedon Pier, Somerset

It's fun to speculate what could have prompted the comment.  After looking this up I have learned that it is a Geordie expression which I believe falls somewhere between tap-dancing down the lane and tottering down it none too sober.


Wednesday, 22 December 2010

105. Cat Dictionary Series (13)

Scene:  Night time.  The couple have just dropped off, but are awakened by the sound of a cat (Rusty) jumping up on the dressing table and blundering about, knocking items off.  He knows this sends the woman absolutely mental.  Sure enough, she jumps out of bed exclaiming “that bloody cat is on the dressing table again – I’ve told him off so many times.  Why does he still do it?”

Translation:  Because I can (doh…)

(PS: ... and I'm wide awake 'cos I've been sleeping all day)
(PPS:  ...and I'm bored)
(PPPS:  ...and I want attention)


Tuesday, 21 December 2010

104. Geography Lesson, UK

Mother (30):  So what did you learn in geography today?

Daughter (7):  We learned that countries with sea round them are islands and ones without sea are incontinents.


Monday, 20 December 2010

103. Cat Dictionary Series (12)

Scene:  She gets home from work, and before even taking off her coat, her first job is to feed the cats.  To pleading looks on upturned faces and tails snaking round her legs the bowls are filled and lowered to the floor.  They sniff at it uncertainly and hesitate.  “Nice food” she coaxes encouragingly – “come on boys…”.  They walk off, tails in the air.

Translation:  This food is freezing – she’s only just taken it out of the fridge.  Come on Banjo, the only way this is ever going to improve is if we boycott the food on the days she doesn’t open a new tin.  All for one and one for all!


Sunday, 19 December 2010

102. Memorial Plaque Series (9). Clevedon Pier, Somerset

We understand what they mean, but can't help wondering
 if Frank might have preferred this to be phrased differently...


Saturday, 18 December 2010

101. Cat Dictionary Series (11)

Scene:  It’s time for the 6-monthly visit to the vet.  The drama begins.  The cats - Banjo and Rusty - have only to hear a door closing in the lounge and to see the open cages to know their exit is being closed off for a good reason.  After much distress on both sides, they are finally lowered into the carrying cages, complaining vigorously.  They squirm and wriggle as they’re carried out to the waiting car, these normally quiet cats yowling for all their worth.

Translation:  Help! Somebody… help!  This cruel couple have kidnapped us and are selling us into slavery!  Can’t anybody hear us?!  They starve us all the time, and I’m sure I heard her say she wants to make a pair of gloves out of us!  There’ll be a man in a white coat with a needle!  HELP!


Friday, 17 December 2010

100. Geography exam (2), UK

“In Scandinavia the Danish people come from Denmark, the Norwegians come from Norway and the Lapdancers come from Lapland.”


Thursday, 16 December 2010

99. Cat Dictionary Series (10)

Scene:  The two boxer dogs next door are at the peak of their vim and vigour, and don’t suffer fools gladly.  They absolutely hate cats.  Sometimes the cat couple play with them while chatting to the neighbours, by throwing a rubber ball at them which the dogs bound after and catch, and return dripping with saliva.  However, the closed gate is always between them… 

The cats (Rusty and Banjo) suffer no such qualms.  They have been known to wander casually from the neighbours’ garden and into their kitchen through the open door on the lookout for titbits, fully aware from the smell and the snuffling sounds that the boxers are asleep in the next room, their ears twitching.  

The cats’ favourite place is to sit comfortably on the roof of the neighbours’ garage looking haughtily down at the apoplectic boxers below, who bark raucously, pawing the ground with fury.

Translation:  Go on Banjo, your turn to play chicken…


Wednesday, 15 December 2010

98. Memorial Plaque Series (8). Clevedon Pier, Somerset

At first glance this might seem a rather inappropriate comment, but having read so many memorial plaques since, I have concluded that it must have been a favourite saying of Mr Morrison himself.  It therefore seemed quirky enough to include in this blog.


Tuesday, 14 December 2010

97. Cat Dictionary Series (9)

Scene:  The man has gone up into the loft to bring down the Christmas decorations.  While his attention is elsewhere Rusty seizes the opportunity and climbs up the ladder, disappearing inside to explore.  Sometime later as the couple are wondering where he’s got to, an apparition cautiously descends the ladder, red fur all but concealed by cobwebs, and sneezing copiously.  His whiskers are double their normal length, and somehow seem wrapped around his ears, ending in a point somewhere over his head. 

Translation:  I shouldn’t bother Banjo, the only living thing up there is spiders.  Got me some extra whiskers though - should be useful for getting through the garage door.


Monday, 13 December 2010

96. One side of a mobile phone conversation, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Her mother’s daughter (42):
-     No, Mum, don’t put his sweatshirt on him, it’s too warm today.
-     No Mum, seriously...
-     Well OK, why not carry it over your arm for him, but don’t leave it with him at school, because he’ll lose it....
-     Yes Mum, if he wants cold milk, let him have it cold....
-     Well OK, Mum, warm it up if you must, but just a little...
-     No Mum, don’t make him wear his sweatshirt, I tell you it’s too warm today...
-     Honestly, I don’t know why you bother to ring me, you always do what you want afterwards...

(Gustavo's comment:  She calls because she’s a mother, you’ll be just the same with the sweatshirt wearer...)

Loosely translated from Blogudeces de la Vida Cotidiana, with thanks to Gustavo.


Sunday, 12 December 2010

95. Cat Dictionary Series (8)

Scene:  Tearing sounds are heard by the couple as they watch TV.  Banjo is sharpening his claws energetically on the delicate fabric of an armchair.  Woman jumps up shouting at him “How many times must I tell you that you do NOT sharpen your claws on the armchairs?”  Cat leaps away out of sight.  Man says “You know it means he wants to be let out.”  Woman says “Well he won’t get his way by doing that.  He’s ruining the armchairs!”  Sighing, man heaves himself off the sofa.

Translation:  The technique provokes a bit of an alarming reaction, but it works like a charm…


Saturday, 11 December 2010

94. Memorial Plaque Series (7). Clevedon Pier, Somerset

Transcription of top one:  "Annie Lord enjoyed life for 99 years until 1998.  Visited the pier on Saturday afternoons for the sea and air and wore her red hat."


Friday, 10 December 2010

93. Cat Dictionary Series (7)

Scene:  See photo of Rusty (a common sight)
Translation:  What one has to do in this hellhole to keep warm…


Thursday, 9 December 2010

92. Viagra Story – Valencia, Spain, 1990's

Background:  When Viagra first appeared on the market in a blaze of publicity, it was not available over the counter in the UK at first, but it was easily obtainable in Spanish chemists.

Father (78):  That Viagra stuff, I bought some at the chemist.

Daughter (45, embarrassed):  You WHAT?

Father:  It’s no bloody good.  I took one, waited a bit, had no effect, so I took another.  No bloody good.  Didn’t work.

Daughter (horrified):  That’s stuff could be bad for your heart, and you took TWO?

Father:  Well anyway, it didn’t work, so I went back to the chemist and he wouldn’t give me my money back.

Daughter (staring at him in amazement, while son-in-law sniggers in the background):  So have you thrown them away?

Father (looking slightly shocked):  Course not.  I posted them to X (his brother, 4 years older), see if he could use them.


Wednesday, 8 December 2010

91. Cat Dictionary Series (6)

Scene:  Late evening. She’s on the computer.  Banjo jumps on desk, papers fly in all directions.  He walks back and forth in front of the screen, stepping on the keyboard, tail in the air, purring.  Affectionate attention is given.  Papers are collected off the floor, errors caused by random hitting of keyboard are corrected, cat hunkers down on the in-tray or on top of the printer.  Peace is restored.

Translation:  What a palaver to have to go through just to queue for that chair.  Hope she doesn’t take too long.


Monday, 6 December 2010

89. Cat Dictionary Series (5)

Scene:  Cat Rusty is in the bathtub waiting patiently for someone to walk in.  When she eventually does, cat mews gently, and she asks solicitously whether he’s thirsty and wants some water, forthwith turning the cold bath tap on slightly.  Rusty sits there, watching the water flowing from the tap.

Translation:  Why does she always think I’m thirsty?  That’s what the dirty old pond outside is for.  I LIKE looking at water trickling down, watching it gather at the bottom in a little pool.  She’s looking at me puzzled cos I’m not drinking…. Well they go away sightseeing on holiday, never take us with them – so why shouldn’t I sightsee in the bathtub.  This is my Niagara Falls.  Now push off.


Sunday, 5 December 2010

88. Geography exam (1), UK

“The closest town to France is Dover.  You can get to France on a train or you can go on a fairy.”


Saturday, 4 December 2010

87. Cat Dictionary Series (4)

Sunday Ritual

Scene:  The couple are having their Sunday bacon and eggs.  Banjo is curled up on a spare chair beside them.  Every so often he puts a gentle paw on their lap.  They think this is so sweet and affectionate.

Translation:  If I don’t get any bacon snippets soon the velvet paw bit is gonna get replaced with claws.  Like now.


Thursday, 2 December 2010

85. Word Wobble (13) Geometry Exam

Question:  Describe the types of angles you see in the drawing below.

Male Pupil (8):  …..(fragment)  If it is less than 90 degrees it is a cute angel.


Wednesday, 1 December 2010

84. Care Home, Bristol

Scene:  An old lady is being interviewed by a clinical researcher to find out her drinking habits – not of the alcoholic variety, just how she keeps herself properly hydrated during the day.  Being a member of that special British generation that lived through World War II, tea plays a very great part in her daily drinking routines.  She’s clearly enjoying being asked to talk, and gets quite animated.

Researcher (female, 50):  So you take your tea in a mug – is it a special one?

Care Home resident (96):  Oh yes, I love me tea.

Researcher:  Is it a china mug?

Care Home resident:  Definitely, it says underneath “Made in China”.


Tuesday, 30 November 2010

83. Cat Dictionary Series (3)

Morning Ritual

Scene:  It’s 6 a.m., the couple are blissfully asleep – the alarm won’t go off for another hour.  Suddenly the peace is shattered by the sound of claws being sharpened on the side of the mattress, which vibrates with the treatment.

Translation:  Wakey wakey… I need a pee.  (They know I don’t like the litter tray first thing in the morning.  And I don’t want her, she expects me to use the catflap.  He’ll get up and open the back door if I carry on for a while.)


Sunday, 28 November 2010

81. Cat Dictionary Series (2)

Evening Ritual

Scene:  The couple are sitting on the sofa watching TV, cat (Banjo) comes up and sits between them on the carpet, looking up at them in Princess Diana style – chin down, eyes up.  No amount of persuasion will get him to climb up and settle down between them.  Sweet talk, patting the space … nothing works.  He gazes fixedly at one of them.

Translation:  Don’t you baby talk me, I won’t have second best.  That’s MY seat and you’re in it.  MOVE!


Saturday, 27 November 2010

80. Word Wobble (12). School Essay, UK

“Helicopters are cleverer than planes.  Not only can they fly through the air they can also hoover”.


Friday, 26 November 2010

79. Cat Dictionary Series (1)

Spoilt Cat Ritual

Scene:  Cat stands by catflap indoors, tail waving gently up in the air, mewing plaintively.

Translation:  Yes I know the catflap is open, but it’s a pain to drag myself through it.  If I look cute enough, you’ll come and open the door for me.


Wednesday, 24 November 2010

77. Out of the mouths of babes… (4). Hospital, Lomas de Zamora, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1958

Scene:  The hospital is run by nuns who wear imposing black habits and veils.  Older sister aged 10 is recovering from a hernia operation, being visited by her mother and younger sister.  The Mother Superior is present, exchanging pleasantries with mother, while the child stares at her up and down. The Mother Superior pauses long enough to draw breath…

Younger sister, chipping in (5):  Why do you wear men’s shoes?

(With thanks to elder sister Sylvia, who doesn’t remember what the poor nun replied…)


Tuesday, 23 November 2010

76. Out of the mouths of babes… (3). Central Buenos Aires, 1950’s

Scene:  Mother and daughter out shopping, daughter runs ahead and presently mother sees her stop and gaze up at a man who is talking to someone, so absorbed in her staring that she is still at it when embarrassed mother hastily catches up with her.

Daughter (6):  (In loud, carrying voice, looking up at him and pointing)  That man’s got no hair on his head.


Monday, 22 November 2010

75. Out of the mouths of babes… (2). Estancia El Manzano, Córdoba, Argentina, in the 1930’s

Venerable old gentleman, guest (75):  (Enchanted by young child with gold ringlets) Hello little lass!

Miss Gold Ringlets, daughter of the house (8):  (Scowling)  You big ass!


Saturday, 20 November 2010

73. Millie the Budgie, Tewkesbury

Builder (30):  (To his wife)  I’ve had strange instructions form clients in me time, but this one beats them all.

Wife (29):  What was that?

Builder:  The owner of the house left as soon as I arrived, and she told me to talk to her budgie…

Wife:  WHAT?

Builder:  Yeh – apparently it’s a female and she’s pining for her mate who died last week, and she thinks I could be a substitute.

Wife:  For goodness sake.  So what did you do?

Builder:  What do you think?  I said “Hello Millie”.

Wife:  Yep, that certainly sounds like your chat-up line.

(With thanks to Marie, the owner of the house)


Friday, 19 November 2010

72. Doner kebab take-away, Bristol

Doner Kebab on a rotating spit (Google image)

Scene:  Three young people going into a takeaway establishment late on Saturday night - a Bristolian student and his French girlfriend, the third another French girl, friend of the first.

French Girl 1, visitor (20)(Pointing to the doner meat on the spit)  Qu'est-ce que c'est ça là-bas? (1)

French Girl 2, resident (20)C'est la jambe d'un éléphant.  C'est bien délicieux! (2)

French Girl 1(disbelieving)  C'est QUOI ??? (3)

French Girl 2:  (ernestly) Oui, vraiment... je t'assure... (4)

French Girl 1 turns enquiringly to the Bristolian student, her friend's boyfriend, and notices him clutching his sides, silently convulsed with laughter.  French Girl 2 (the girlfriend) realises she's been had - for some time - and storms out of the shop.

(With thanks to Nick, and to Michèle for checking my French...)
(1)  What's that over there?
(2)  It's an elephant leg - delicious!
(3)  A what???
(4)  Yes, honestly...


Thursday, 18 November 2010

71. Careers Advice.

Little boy (8): 
(Telling his parents about a chat on careers advice at school that day).
I would like to be an accountant but you have to know a lot about maths.


Tuesday, 16 November 2010

69. Hospital Stories II, Bristol

Scene:  Hospital-based doctors who specialise in urology often own or have on permanent loan, male and female latex prosthetic lower torsos for training purposes…  or they know where to find them.  These unlovely but expensive dummies are essential for teaching students the rudiments of inserting urinary catheters before they are let loose on real patients.  From time to time they get borrowed anonymously, a cause of singular annoyance...

Consultant Urological Surgeon (male, 38) in a high temper, striding down the corridor and shouting at near the top of his voice, to the stunned amazement of those lining the way: 
Where’s my rubber arse?  Where the hell’s my rubber arse? 


Monday, 15 November 2010

68. Hairdressers (IV), Bristol. Saturday morning

Hair salon proprietor (30):  (Surprised) Good morning – your appointment isn’t today, is it?

Client (female 40):  Yes, it’s at 11.15

Hair salon proprietor:  But your husband rang earlier to make an appointment for you, next Tuesday at 10:00....

Client: (puzzled)  My husband would never do that.

Hair salon proprietor:  Yes, his name was Martin.

Client:  My husband’s name is Bob.

Hair salon proprietor:  No it's not - oh - er - are you sure?

(With thanks to Karen)


Sunday, 14 November 2010

67. At home with Gustavo and his family, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Wife (30):  Are you coughing again?

Son (7):  Yes, it’s when I put my socks on.

Wife (30):  When you bend over to put them on?

Son (7):  No, it’s my socks that make me cough.  When I put them on I cough.

(Gustavo’s comment:  It’s a rather straaange explanation…)

Loosely translated from Gustavo’s blog, Blugudeces de la Vida Cotidiana - with thanks.


Saturday, 13 November 2010

66. Hospital Stories I, Bristol

Scene:  Two Consultant Urological Surgeons, looking for something to eat from an assortment of fruit in a bowl.

Surgeon 1 (62):  How about an apple?

Surgeon 2 (40):  Mmm – not sure about this one, it’s got a scrotal feel to it.


Friday, 12 November 2010

65. Word Wobble (11). School Essay, UK

The children were asked to write about a TV wildlife documentary they had seen recently.

“...Crabs and creatures like them all belong to a family of crushed Asians.”


Thursday, 11 November 2010

64. Word Wobble (10). After Nativity Play rehearsal.

Granny (70):  So what happens after the Baby Jesus is born, what do you do next?

Grandson who has just learned to read (7):  At the end of the show we all sing Away in a Manager.


Wednesday, 10 November 2010

63. Word Wobble (9). After Church, Sunday.

Mother (20’s):  How was Sunday School?

Daughter (7):  OK.  But why do we have to say ‘old men’ at the end of prayers?  Do they mean grandpa?

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

62. Word Wobble (8). School Essay – somewhere...

“Sometimes in the war they take prisners and keep them as ostriges until the war is over.”


Monday, 8 November 2010

61. Word Wobble (7). School Essay, US

“The total is when you add up all the numbers and a remainder is an animal that pulls Santa Claus on his slay.”


Sunday, 7 November 2010

60. Word Wobble (6). School Essay, UK

"In wartime children who lived in big cities had to be evaporated because it was safer in the country.”


Saturday, 6 November 2010

59. Red Poppy Blues

Janet (60) to Poppy Appeal local organiser:  I’m quite pleased with my long list of volunteers for the Poppy Appeal, I’ll just go and run it off from my PC.
(Said just prior to switching it on and finding out that she had forgotten to save the file).

Janet (60):  Oh... well, I’ll just get the paper copy.

(Said just prior to remembering that, mindful of data protection issues, she had conscientiously shredded the lot after uploading it onto her PC.)
Janet (60):  (Expletive deleted.)


Friday, 5 November 2010

58. Wine Tasting Notes (4). Bristol, a Friday evening in October 2010

Visiting winegrower hosting the tasting (male, 50’s):  You’ll love this one, it’s a blend of cabernet sauvignon (or cab sav as we call it) and merlot.  Just smell that oaky vanilla and crushed raspberries – you feel it going to your head just from smelling the bouquet...  It’s difficult to explain how I feel about this one...

Wine taster (83), the alcohol clearly increasing the cynicism level in his blood:  
You’re in heaven?

Visiting winegrower... etc (smiling):  Well put, I feel in heaven.

Wine taster (83):  No, that’s not how I would spell it.

(Personally overheard by Lonicera...)


Thursday, 4 November 2010

57. Wine Tasting Notes (3). Bristol, a Friday evening in October 2010

Woman, way past her bedtime (85+):  (On being offered a tray with a choice of the wines which had just been sampled to have with her baguette, selection of cheeses, chutneys, ripe figs, cherry tomatoes and other crudités, thoughtfully provided by the venue to complement the tasting) 
Glass of water please.

(Personally overheard by Lonicera...)


Wednesday, 3 November 2010

56. Wine Tasting Notes (2). Bristol, a Friday evening in October 2010

Wine taster, male – new to this type of malarkey (65): This one’s much too dry for me, I...

Visiting winegrower hosting the tasting (male, 50’s):  Really?  We find that it’s quite popular, and it goes very well with shellfish.  Perhaps if you were to serve it really chilled...

Wine taster (65):  No, I was just about to say that I wouldn’t waste it:   if it’s too dry, I just pop in a couple of saccharine pills.

Visiting winegrower... etc:  (Sound of spluttering into his glass.)

(Personally overheard by Lonicera...)


Tuesday, 2 November 2010

55. Wine Tasting Notes (1). Bristol, a Friday evening in October 2010

Visiting winegrower hosting the tasting (male, 50’s):  Just swirl your glass around a bit to let out the bouquet.  That’s it, now smell that lovely aroma of apple with overtones of vanilla.  Isn’t it refreshing?

Woman, way past her bedtime (85+):  (In clear, carrying voice) Apple?  Has this stuff got apple in it?

Visiting winegrower.. etc:  (slightly nonplussed) Oh No, it’s just a suggestion in the bouquet, a way of distinguishing it…

Woman (85+):  Yes well, I mean to say....

PS:  Personally overheard by which I would also add that the venue’s (charming) cuckoo clock chose this exact moment to chime, and the cuckoo shuttled noisily in and out of its cubbyhole 8 times while this exchange was taking place.  There wasn’t a dry eye at the table that had witnessed both these events.