I back away in some concern. All I was after was some semi-skimmed milk.

The Village Shop Lady storms out through the door. I follow at a safe distance. There is a thunderous silence as she examines the new sign, a propped-up one that sits on the roadside to attract custom.

After a while I decide I should speak. “I’m sorry – I thought somebody would have already pointed it out.”

She glares at me and my milk.

“‘Pastries’ – you see – it doesn’t have an extra ‘e’ in the middle,” I say.

“I’m going to kill him,” she mutters again. If there is any reassurance in that sentence, it is that she is speaking of a third party (as yet unknown.) However her expression does little to allay my concern. There appears to be a risk that she may be looking for a surrogate person to kill.

“I should pay for my milk now,” I offer, in a soothing calm-down type voice.

We head back to the shop. “The other thing,” I mention, “is that where the sign talks about the ‘deli,’ actually – well, um, well he has done it like in the city in India.” I make sure to continue using my soothing voice so that this cannot possibly upset her any more.

“What?!? I’m going to kill him!!!” she shouts, running back to the sign.

I stand there with my semi-skimmed milk. I am in a bit of a hurry, as there is some important media work to do when I get home. But at least I am not a signwriter in fear of my life.

17 thoughts on ““I’m going to kill him!” she shouts.

  1. Really, Jonny – what did you expect? Anyone with brains enough to spell has generally learnt by the age of 6 never to use their uncanny powers of grammar and punctuation to correct other people’s signs. The inevitable result is humiliation and resentment, wherein the deliverer of the bad news receives his traditional reward.

    If you haven’t figured that out by now, I can only assume it’s because writing in any form is still more or less unknown to the troglodytes of East Anglia. All the same, learn your lesson before you’re tempted to criticize the weave on their sacrificial Wicker Men next – they always leave room for one more victim just in case…

  2. Megan says:

    peastries… paestries…pasetries…pasteries… just wondering.

    Should your signwriter need a new identity in a hurry you might suggest ‘American university undergraduate’ as a cover. Spelling, grammar, understanding of that mysterious and exotic creature the comma – none of that is required, expected, or even desirable.

  3. Eunoia says:

    Grocers’ apostrophe anyone?

  4. josephine says:

    I think the signwriter should resign.

  5. john malpas says:

    With women like that
    – there always will be an England.

  6. Jayne says:

    Ahh Jonny – spreading happiness and serenity where ever you go I see.

  7. Jennifer H-J says:

    I’m presuming that this wasn’t just chalk on a blackboard then?

  8. JonnyB says:

    Alas no, Jennifer. It’s a really nicely done sign.

  9. Brennig says:

    Semi-skimmed milk? You had a semi? (sorry, I’ll get me coat)

  10. guyana gyal says:

    That pasteries lady in delhi was so happie until you poynted out the mistaks. Why, Mr. B, why? Ya better run in case you’re the object of her non-affections.

  11. Debster says:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/grangeb7/4805567692/ There’s a lot of it about.

    There are pictures of chickens on my photostream as well.

  12. john malpas says:

    Did not some pubs once have deliberately mis spelled signs to attract attention.

  13. “peastries… paestries…pasetries…pasteries… just wondering.”

    Haha, exactly the same thought processes in this head here. Sometimes I wonder if Megan is in fact me, and I am what people used to think schizophrenic was (it isn’t).

  14. ajb1605 says:

    I wonder if there’s a poor little woman in India, wondering why the signwriter in England has sent her a mis-spelt sign for her Pasteries?

  15. I miss signing & now miss this missigning.

    My pet bugaboo high- horse is people who say ‘Ye’ as in ‘I went to that quaint village and had a lovely pastrey from Ye olde worlde bakery.

    ‘Ye’ was never ever pronounced ‘Ye’ (to rhyme with he) it was a short form of ‘The’ as Y and Th were similar to print.

    “ORIGIN graphic variant; in late Middle English þ (see thorn ) came to be written identically with y, so that the could be written ye. This spelling (usually y e) was kept as a convenient abbreviation in handwriting until the 19th cent., and in printers’ types during the 15th and 16th cent., but it was never pronounced as “ye.”

    …Oh hang on I’ve just come over all Lynne Truss!*

    *Not literally obviously that would be grammatically wrong

  16. Hannah Jade says:

    Presumably this is the same signwriter than penned the “Drive Dead Slow” sign at Norwich bus station…

Comments are closed.