mixed messages

Visitor to UK adaptor

The issue of foreigners in the UK is one that is almost guaranteed to set Brits arguing.

If the subject crops up during a social gathering, perhaps the best that can be hoped for is that most British of compromises “we’ll agree to differ” – an unsatisfactory acknowledgment that there are no easy answers.

The photo, taken in the local housewares store, suggests that one reason answers are difficult is that we haven’t agreed on what the question is: do we want foreign visitors to adapt, or do we want to get rid of them all together?

it’s unique

A couple of days ago, I travelled on an Iberia flight for the first time in years. It was a little more up-market than the discount airlines I’ve flown with recently and even in tourist class those who bought snacks from the trolley were provided with individual place mats for the fold-down tables.

When I declined to give mine up as rubbish, I suppose the steward thought I wanted a souvenir. In fact I wanted to add it to my collection of bad advertising and extraneous apostrophes.

Coke ad text: Enjoy it's unique taste, hydration is already included
I can’t believe that Coca Cola and Iberia can’t afford to pay a proof reader, so maybe I’ll send off my CV on spec as they appear to have a vacancy.

putting the tail before the bull

In Spanish it’s RABO de TORO estofado; in French it’s RAGOÛT de QUEUE de taureau. And in English it’s:

packaging labelled "tail's bull stew"

en un lugar de la mancha

Vino de la Mancha
I’m sure I’ve said before that one of the joys of living in Spain is being able to buy quite drinkable wine at ridiculously low prices. (I wonder what would happen if the taxes on alcoholic drinks here were like they are in the UK.)

The list of denominaciones de origen for Spanish wines is long and impressive, featuring such famous names as Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Rueda and Valdepeñas. The label in the photo is not from one of these, though. It’s a wine from la Mancha, and presumably the skinny little figure in red is Don Quijote himself.

There’s a huge difference between un vino de la Mancha and una mancha de vino, of course, but seeing the label made me wonder whether there are any vineyards around Staines.

of maths and chocolates

This labelling on a box of ‘chocolates and toffees’ makes me want to reach for a pen and paper and start drawing Venn diagrams:

chocolate package label

Continue reading “of maths and chocolates”