Walking out of the Co-Op supermarket coveting a carrier bag of reduced price items with the possessiveness of a police dog hanging by its teeth to a robber’s arm, I stop to look at the notice board and am bemused by the simple human errors and misapprehensions that must cause considerable confusion. I am initially struck by the spelling mistakes. For example there’s one where the local church advertise their ‘heeling service’ and I’m left wondering if people with broken stilettos are forming an orderly queue at the altar rail. Then there’s a plethora of grammatical errors…like the guy trying to sell his cleaning skills with the tag line - ‘tired of cleaning yourself…then let me do it for you.’ (I was tempted, but would have needed a photo of said cleaner to convince me to pick up the phone).
Of course when you’re abroad you expect to see the wrong words slotted into what would otherwise be innocuous sentences. The Tanzanian hotel where I stayed in February was obviously touting for a Conservative Party Conference booking as the notice on the back of my door advised ‘please leave your values at reception on arrival’. While my local pub seems to very politely target its pregnant customer’s with a notice advising ‘Ladies are requested not to have children in the Bar’. Presumably the local maternity unit is preferable.
However I digress, back to the Co-Op. The notice that caught my attention read - ‘Renaissance walk in Bath - £63’. It was tempting; right up my street, but it seemed a bit steep. Bath is a beautiful city, but sixty three pounds! A ghost walk in Swindon’s Old Town last summer was only three pounds and there was tea and cake in the Masonic Hall and extra biscuits if you knew the dodgy handshake; a wiggle of my left index finger wangled me a custard cream and half a Garibaldi.
For £63 I imagined a Renaissance walk would include a dip (Roman Bath’s not Mexican hummus), a finger buffet at Jamie Oliver’s and free shots at Revolution! So, later on when I got home I called the number and an elderly man answered the phone.
“I’m interested in the Renaissance walk in Bath.” I said. “What exactly do I get for £63?”
“Well it has gold plated taps a new door seal and there’s filigree work on the soap tray.” He heaved a sigh of resignation and added “but someone’s already bought it love. It’s gone.”
“Oh” I uttered as comprehension dawned.
“My mate’s got an Edwardian one if you’re interested?” He offered.
“No thanks. I’ve already got the Edwardian one…I needed the Renaissance to make up the set.” I could hear the penny dropping with the keen eared attentiveness of a sea front lavatory assistant. I hung up.
My experience has ensured I’ll consider the wording carefully when I try to sell the old desk jobby that’s been sat in the garage for the last five years. Now let me see…
For Sale: Antique desk - Suitable for lady - with thick legs and big drawers!