Readers’ wildlife photos

February 21, 2023 • 8:15 am

Only if you construe wildlife as “productions of H. sapiens” can this fall under the heading above. But so I construe, and so it does. Athayde Tonhasca sends us a series of signs that he found amusing or instructive; click to enlarge the photos. His captions re indented.

Here’s something for a quiet day: a leisurely reading of signs in Scotland and beyond.

Turn left for the cafe. The other left.

Sign from the UK’s government Circumlocution Office, who are paid by the number of words.

This timely citation was hijacked by British anti-vaxxers, although the quote itself is not Orwell‘s. Truth, as we learned from George Santos and the whining spare royal, is a subjective concept.

Hard-core mindfulness.

A sign from the Department of the Bleeding Obvious in our gym’s shower room for people who identify as prostate bearers. A futile pushback to ‘no-win-no-fee’ claims, another unfortunate American import.

A couple of supportive Scousers.

UK’s Official Table of Drops to calculate the appropriate length of rope for hangings. This handy, detailed guide is from Belfast’s Crumlin Road Gaol (‘the Crum’), today a museum well worth visiting. Seventeen inmates were hanged in the prison, the last one in 1961. Two of them were sent off by Albert Pierrepoint (1905-1992). Britain’s busiest hangman: he dispatched over 400 souls, including German spies, US servicemen court-martialled for capital crimes in England, Nazi war criminals, and aristocratic traitors such as Lord Haw-Haw.

Somewhere along a trail in Perth, a message from Love on the Rocks.

Some sensible and useful advice.

A document that would send men running for the hills: a warrant to impress men for the Navy, issued in 1771. At the time of the Napoleonic Wars, the Impress Service, or Press Gang, was a common method of recruiting ‘volunteers’ for the British Navy. The Gang was authorised to press into service any able-bodied man they could lay their hands on, using force if necessary (which they did with abandon). The seafaring men of coastal settlements were an obvious target, so many fled into hiding at the approach of a navy vessel. They were not keen on the Royal Navy traditions of ‘rum, sodomy and the lash’ (one of the many quotes wrongly attributed to Churchill).

The Press-Gang, art by Luke Clennell (1781-1840). Wikimedia Commons.

A Public Service Announcement in Dundee:

You know you’ve made it big when you become a Royal Mail stamp.

Message in a bottle found at sea by fishermen from Ferryden (a village in Angus, Scotland) in 1857. It reads: “On board ye brig Ellen of Whitby 7th November, 1849. Long. 3.40 Lat. 5.47. Blowing a hurricane lying to with close-reefed main topsails ship waterlogged. Cargo wood from Quebec. No water on board, provisions all gone. Eat the dog yesterday. Three men left alive. Lord have mercy on our souls. Amen. Thomas Jackson, Chief Mate.”

Leave it be, people.

I drove through this chicane point for years until one day the heavens parted like scrolls being rolled up: the origin of ‘chicanery’ was revealed to me.

In Montrose, one of 3,000 public libraries created throughout Britain, the United States, Canada and other English-speaking countries with money donated by Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), the steel magnate, ruthless robber baron, union-basher, visionary industrialist, a rags-to-riches protagonist, and possibly the greatest philanthropist ever (‘the man who dies thus rich dies disgraced”). David Nasaw’s biography is an excellent examination of the complex Scotsman.

Weather report in Liverpool’s Western Approaches Command, an underground control bunker in charge of tracking U-boats, aircraft and surface warships during WWII. The sea areas are recognizable even for British landlubbers thanks to the Shipping Forecast, a national and cultural institution.

An infrequent expression from the Scottish silent majority. For the significant and vocal minority, breaking up the British union trumps everything else; as the Three Blind Mice in the opposition (Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats) can’t get their acts together, the ruling Scottish National Party and their Green minions get away with murder. Maybe not murder, but with bad records on education, health, transport, economy, transparency, freedom of speech, and more. Reader JezGrove (Hili dialogue comment no. 8, 15 Feb) had more to say about SNP’s incompetence. Support for the party has slumped, partly thanks to the case of the woman-who-raped-two-females-with-her-penis sent to a woman’s prison. Most Scots are tolerant, but nonsense has a limit.

10 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Ever since we saw the TV series Little Dorritt years ago (Masterpiece Theatre? – don’t remember), my family integrated “Circumlocution Office” into our regular vocabulary. 🙂

  2. FWIW, by memory the actual total of Carnegie Libraries worldwide is 2509, and Wikipedia agrees. There ought to be a total given by country, but since there isn’t, the two that I know offhand are US: 1,679 and Ireland: 66.

  3. Oh I dunno, breaking up the union seems to have taken a back seat to installing an autogynephile in every women’s prison… Can’t even get their core mission right.

  4. regarding the sign for the Earn Coffee Shop, the directions given make perfect sense.
    It states that you turn right for the shop which is then 250 yards on the left.

    1. Yeah, It made complete sense to me. Maybe we just give directions differently this side of the pond. Never been to the US, if I ever do, I hope I don’t get lost.

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