some fascinating use of language evokes a thought for the Copywriter from Space - fred reads, watches television, gardens, ponders

We were at the nursery (garden centre) hoping to fill the flower boxes at Flintstone Manor without controversy and yet not with geraniums, when I looked across the rows of scrawny things with Latin names and saw:

POTTED ANIMALS
FOR BEDDING

Hopeful thoughts that the nursery had been purchased by the Animal House Guys (younger generation of Himself's old fraternity who bartend at the house during Reunion Week and are totally charming but have refused to come home with me) flashed through my bleary Sunday morning mind. 

Then it occurred to me - certain retail websites seem to have been trying a little harder lately. Could the Copywriter From Space have moved on? 

Well, I just checked, and I DON'T THINK SO.

So, back to the nursery: I had forgotten that I was wearing non-prescription sunglasses. The sign actually read "potted annuals."

Life is full of surprises.

The illustration above is shamelessly copied from a real book that was published in the UK and seems to be available on UK Kindle. I plan to take a close look at it this summer.

Meanwhile, I am re-reading An Officer and a Spy," which I described to my sister as "the book that's going to spoil Alan Furst for me."

I don't want to spoil An Officer and a Spy for you if you haven't read it, so no summary. Even though we know the ending before we even open the book, the "getting there" is gripping. The depiction of the narrator/protagonist, Col. Georges Picquart, is engrossing. He's a professional soldier, born in Alsace but refugee'd to Paris as a child in 1871, cares for his family, can't afford to marry ... and who does the right thing, not necessarily because he wants to, but because desperately and inevitably, in his stubborn soul, he has to. He's a funny kind of hero: the good soldier who is, in the end, the good guy.

In real life, after the events depicted in this book, Col. Picquart did receive promotion and ultimately became the French Minister of War. He died in January of 1914 after a fall from his horse. Later that year, shots were fired in Sarajevo... leaving us to wonder what turns history would have taken had a man who believed in good equipment, forthright communication and simple honest competence continued to serve.

At about the time I was reading An Officer and a Spy, I was watching television.
The second season of The Bletchley Circle has finished. I miss it already. I was transfixed by the first season, in which four women who worked together as code-breakers during World War II meet again in London, in the austere days of Britain's recovery from wartime. The women are bound by the Official Secrets Act, which means just what it sounds like: they can't discuss their war work with anyone. Their parents didn't know what they did, or thought they were clerk-typists or nurses, their husbands can't know... so finding one another and, before the first episode is half over, getting involved in solving a series of murders by using the skills they haven't forgotten, is really a blessing for them. And for viewers, seeing women taking action, solving problems... also a blessing. Mind you, they don't live alone and the early 1950's were not a female-friendly climate anywhere, and the realism of the setting obliges the viewer to judge these women in the context of their times.

Although it appears that the scripts for a third season had been written, there will not be a third season.

Have any of your senses - sight, hearing, touch - taken you down a rabbit hole of misinterpretation lately?

19 comments:

  1. Oh, I am glad there were no potted animals, wff!

    I, too, have reading glasses and going shopping without them is a disaster. Therefore I now keep a pair in my car, just in case.

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    1. hi, Rose, the "reading surprises" aren't frequent, but when they occur they are doozies! At least this latest was printable, which is usually not the case.

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  2. The potted animals does boggle the mind, my eyesight has gone overnight and I am always reading untoward stuff. have not got the eyebobs yet though. there is a great spy museum in Washington about Bletchley and the famous five guys (all gay) friends from Oxford, fascinating.

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    1. I find the whole Bletchley business fascinating, something about the collective willingness to dare won't let go of me.

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    2. Back again and the first line..We were at the nursery (garden centre) hoping to fill the flower boxes at Flintstone Manor without controversy and yet not with geraniums, when I looked across the rows of scrawny things with Latin names and saw:

      Does that mean your neighbors dictate what flowers you can have? I have heard of that happening before in New York. I know some friends who only plant white flowers. Our across the road neighbor has gone berzerko with her white roses, more arrived in a truck the other day and we are in a drought here in the Bay Area.

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    3. No, any sameness in landscaping is because people tend to plant what deer don't eat I understand that there are only 4 approved shrubs on Nantucket - we're not that fancy. The geranium dispute is between me and Himself, he loves them and I'm bored with them.

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  3. Oh God, I can't see a thing without my glasses and that is getting me into big trouble when I take them off these days. I would have been all Harry Potter about the potted annuals - whenever we buy celeriac we think of those poor screechers in the greenhouse, which while cute, are bloody annoying...

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    1. ha, I'm just back from the eye doctor, with a prescription for glasses to be used when driving and doing distance work... that might be it for creative reading of signs and posters.

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  4. The Bletchley Park series sounds v. interesting... I'll have to see if we can get it here. My Great Uncle- in- Law (follow that?) was a Mathematics Professor at Oxford University, and I asked him about Bletchley Park - I think the 50 year Secrets thing had just expired and it was all through the media at the time. He hadn't actually been recruited to Bletchley, but a lot of his friends from Cambridge (where he was a student at the time) had been code breakers there, and of course he'd only just found out. He ended up with other roles in the Army - they went straight to the Universities to pick up the promising students for all those code/ logistics etc roles when war broke out.

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    1. That fascinates me! An elderly friend of the family came to the US from England after WW2 and had trouble getting a visa because she couldn't disclose where she'd worked during the war. Thinking back, no wonder she drank.

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  5. Potted animals! I too have found the CFS elsewhere, could it be that he/she is ubiquitous?
    I am terribly nearsighted and engage in some creative reading myself. Together in a car we could have us a fun party, WFF!

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    1. you just gave me a fun idea for a post, collecting everyone's misread signs and flyers! Watch for it!

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  6. I enjoyed the BCircle series, too; disappointing there won't be more. I loathe police shows in general, but really like the PBS Scott and Bailey series featuring 2 women detectives and their professional and personal challenges. Interesting Manchester accents, too. Send me up some of those potted animals, if you don't mind, as they might make good company for weeding sessions.

    Have a nice holiday weekend! Anniversary time up here.

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    1. Happy Anniversary, Lane!
      The opening of BCircle's first episode reminded me of a scene in a play where someone's daughter comes into a room, dressed up for a date. Her mom and some other women are there, and they admire her outfit, shoes, hair, purse.
      And one says "I had shoes like that when I was single," and one says "I could wear that color lipstick when I was your age," and on and on like that until the girl leaves and the women get up to walk her to the door and stand and wave. All but one, who goes over to the drinks table, and says "I used to be like that. When I was alive."

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  7. Ha, misinterpretation! That happens daily between husby and me, guess that's what makes our relationship unpredictable umm interesting after all these years.

    I haven't heard of The Bletchley Circle and if accents don't throw me so much, would be watching. Shame that good television is rare and not continued too often. We watched two episodes of The Assets and learned there would be no more. The Americans just finished for the season and I miss it already as well.

    So in addition to fuzzy eyes I also have fuzzy memory and thus cannot remember the funny thing I recently misread to report here.

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    1. I'm smiling like a crazy lady, tr!

      Most of the Bletchley Circle accents were easy, not particularly regional which I find the most confusing.

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  8. Well I have a good one now!-but its a deficiency of my thinking and not of my vision: reading through your comments I wondered why so many were expressing themselves in such an emphatic manner until I realized wff is not wtf.....

    Mr Bebe and I enjoyed Bletchley Park. The first season rather more than the second but I am sorry to hear they are not making a third.

    I am putting An Officer and a Spy on my reading list

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    1. Truly an immortal misreading, Bebe.

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  9. I was intrigued by Bletchley and am sorry it is not renewed. I have become quietly entertained by "Call the Midwife", but can't seem to rouse any enthusiasm for starting Mr. Selfridge.

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