Wednesday, January 11, 2017
I was an Andy Pandy fan when I was a pre-schooler and one scene in particular sent me into fits of toddler giggles. Andy's companion Teddy (he's a bear, for the uninitiated) had a habit of standing in the middle of the set with his paws over his eyes. The ursine logic was wrong, but compelling (and funny - to me, at any rate. Teddy believed that he couldn't be seen by anyone because he couldn't see anything, even though he was 'standing in plain sight'. A simple device that caused me much childish mirth, but now our politicians seem to have fallen prey to the Teddy 'paws over eyes' syndrome - linguistically at least - by adopting the mantra 'I don't recognise' so-and-so to avoid having to answer questions based on facts that contradict their point of view. It was funny when Teddy did it way back then, it's pathetic now and devalues democracy.
Thursday, January 05, 2017
I was put rather firmly in my place recently while buying a couple of cinnamon buns at a well-known mass outlet bakery operation that begins with a G. On entering, I noticed cinnamon buns placed in the display incorrectly identified on the card as Belgian buns. In a moment of madness, as I now realise, the words 'two Belgian buns, please' tripped off my tongue, to which the shop assistant replied 'we haven't got any today'. Undeterred, I walked to the cinnamon/Belgian buns and pointed, at the same time asking for 'two of those'. Sensing the need to educate, the assistant looked quizzically at me and then enunciated slowly and deliberately 'those are cinnamon buns' - with added emphasis on the last two words. Suitably chastened, I paid and left the shop with the cinnamon buns in a paper bag. But then I remembered a similar incident many years ago in a Birmingham confectioners. I was attracted to a rectangular cake with cherries and a dusting of icing sugar, my request for 'one of those, please' was met with the decidedly superior reply 'that, is a paradise slice'. Are confectioners trained in the overarching need to teach customers the correct name for each and every one of their products?