Sunday, July 27, 2008

Poshitty (needless)

We spent most of our day today in Cambridge, where, among other things, we had drinks in a popular al fresco eating place of some intellectual historical significance. A booklet distributed by the management provides a long list of famous (or at one point famous-to-be) visitors taking their cream tea underneath the humble apple and pear trees there while talking iambic pentameter and the double helix. Rupert Brooke, apparently, yearned for The Orchard during an unhappy spell in boring Berlin (on not so boring Berlin, see here).

And I agree: it is indeed rather nice there.

Now of all cream tea joints in the world it was here that I had to discover the greatest linguistic inanity of this trip yet.

On a laminated note (oh, lamination, that other English vice) pinned to a wall by the food counter, I was forced to read the following syntactic aggregate of disturbing ambiguity:

Deckchairs - please ensure that your deckchair is securely erected before being seated.
Am I the only one who finds the sound of this polite reminder - apart from irritatingly contorted - a trifle naughty?

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