Category Archives: Funnies

Profanity

The brilliant ‘Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England‘ has been my bedtime reading of late. You can tell a good book by the number of corners that you illicitly turn down to mark passages that  simply cannot be enjoyed just once.

I’ve just got to the section about the basic essentials of day-to-day life, specifically language. Apparently they were a lot coarser in their speech back then:

If you find yourself speaking English with the locals do not be surprised if their language gets a little rough around the edges. Just as fourteenth-century place names are direct descriptions of localities (for instance: ‘Shitbrook Street’, ‘Pissing Alley’), so daily speech is equally straightforward and ribald. In telling his Canterbury Tales, Chaucer describes how one ardent lover pursued the married woman whom he fancied and ‘caught her by the cunt’. At another point in the same work, Chaucer has his host declare to him ‘your shithouse rhyming isn’t worth a turd’. Daily language is direct and to the point. So if someone slaps you on the back in a hearty way, and exclaims ‘your breeches and your very balls be blessed!’ do not take it amiss. It is a compliment.

By coincidence (or because I’m subconsciously searching out rude words?), I also this week came across an article on Time entitled ‘Nine Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Swear Words‘. It’s to coincide with the release of another wonderful-sounding book, Holy Shit: A Brief History of Swearing.

It’s interesting to note the root of our most charged swear words changes with social habits and acceptable behaviour. Most of our worst profanities in modern English are to do with genitals, poo or sexual orientation and their sophistication depends largely on how much of the Profanisaurus you have read. It was different back in the day:

“The sexual and excremental words were not charged, basically because people in the Middle Ages had much less privacy than we do,” Mohr explains, “so they had a much less advanced sense of shame.” Multiple people slept in the same beds or used privies at the same time, so people observed each other in the throes of their, er, natural functions much more frequently – which made mention of them less scandalous.

Society might have become more refined since medieval times and done away with the communal toilets, but modern folk less straight talking? The researcher clearly hasn’t ever been on a girls’ night out.

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Compliments slips

I’m an avid sender of postcards and letters and always have been. On a whim, a friend will get a little dispatch through the post.

My friend Bryan has been the lucky recipient of some of these but always used the excuse of me not having a permanent address as reason to not return any. When I informed him of the new shack, this arrived.

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It’s amazing. Mr Bingo and his Hate Mail are hilarious, so hilarious that every print run sells out within weeks.

“Now you owe me 70 postcards,” Bryan told me.

I’m no artist and could not hope to compete with the wit of Bingo, so instead I’ve opted for the polar extreme of badly-sketched compliments slips.

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Halloween dog parade in New York

It’s hard to pick my favourite of this year’s halloween dog parade costumes, but this Boxer dressed as Mr T is up there.

Halloween dog parade in New York – in pictures | Life and style | guardian.co.uk.

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No ta

Unnamed, middle-aged relative: “Laura, what’s a butt plug?”

Aunt: “I got about 25% of the way through it and then I stopped. Yes. Too much bumping and grinding.”

And that, my friends, is as much as I want to hear about Fifty Shades of Grey. Far too much already.

Fifty shades of filth

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Yo-yo

Edmund Burke was a prominent politician in the 18th century. His statue stands in the centre of Bristol because he was our illustrious MP from 1774-80. During that term he made a speech containing this ‘catchy’ sound-byte. It made him famous.

Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests; which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates; but parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole; where, not local purposes, not local prejudices ought to guide, but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole. You choose a member indeed; but when you have chosen him, he is not a member of Bristol, but he is a member of parliament.

He was fond of pontificating, as the bronze shows. To his dogmatic finger the current generation have recently bestowed further honour. In the form of a yo-yo.

I love British humour.

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Sauna Etiquette

I was invited for a sauna the other day and thought it was just the thing my aching legs needed. Up I rocked in my bikini, flung up the steamy door…and found all the other ladies naked as the day they were born.

I’m not a total sauna novice. I knew this happens. I know the scandis love to get naked in hot places. But I wasn’t prepared to join in. I might get my humps out, but the lady garden was out of the question. The memory of being stripped by some Greek grannies at a grotty little spa in Samothraki remains with me.

You can’t just take half the swimsuit off so I feigned blissful ignorance and kept the togs on. I know, I know. Not kosher. But I’m British!

For future reference and to avoid uncomfortable surprises, here are the basic rules of Estonian saunas:

  • Eyes forward:  Maintain eye contact, not in a psycho way just don’t look down. When you approach the brink of appearing sane, look at the ceiling, look at the floor, look at the stove. Whatever you do, don’t look at the poon. Or the fun cushions, no matter how misshaped, droopy or curious. Not even when you’re invited. Hell, especially not when you’re invited cos that’s plain weird.
  • Get whipped: If someone asks you if you want to be beaten, say yes. It means being lightly whipped with a bunch of appropriate leafy twigs loaded with hot water. The saps are excellent for your skin and it feels good.
  • Take a towel: No matter how liberal-minded, no-one wants to sit in any bodily juices you leave behind.
  • Gossip: The sauna is where all the important girl-talk is imparted. Listen up, gossip on.
  • No competitions: It’s not big or clever to wind up in a sauna-induced coma. Unless you’re a macho Finn or Russian.
  • Don’t be shy: Let it all hang out. Shake (no, don’t shake) what your Mama gave ya. If you can’t beat them, you may as well join them.

Don’t sit like that, love. Especially if you’ve ‘gone native’.

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This is war

This part of the world is a veritable doily of lakes and swamps, meaning that in summertime mosquitoes are endemic.

I did not know that.

I do now.

Mosquitoes always like my blood the most out of anyone in any given group and here was no exception. When outside one day after a rainstorm and in the lea of the wind, I thought I was safely wrapped up in jeans, boots, long sleeves and a scarf. I was wrong.  Any uncovered area was a target. Any covered area was a target. I was bitten all over the face, in the hair, on the tantalising chink of love handle revealed between jeans and jumper when you bend over, on the larynx, in the nostril, on the pancreas.

Look at that sad angry face, covered in bites that are about to become electrified with allergic reaction. 1, 2, 3, aaaaahh.

I’ve got a rather seductive picture of my bite-riddled arse for posterity (anticipating the posterior joke, I give you a ‘ba dum dum chhh’) but I’ll spare you that one.

Instead of complaining relentlessly and showing my swollen bites to anyone who will look as in years gone by, I sought to take preventative action. On day two I thought I’d ‘double bag’ and try the leggings under jeans trick. They bit through. I don’t know what they make the dogged mozzies of here but the army should look into it as some sort of bio-weapon. Perhaps it is sheer volume, but I get the sense that these are a Chuck Norris variant.

This meant war. And donkey-grade antihistamines.

If you could do something worse to mosquitoes than squashing them, I would do it. Instead I enjoyed myself killing as many as I could, chasing them down if necessary. Buddha, turn away now for you will not like what you are about to see.

The desired effect

When I was on the bus one day I looked around to notice that the windows, handles, poles and floor were all covered in the smears of former bugs. I do not wage the war alone.

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Useful Russian phrases

He will pay for everything

My hovercraft is full of eels

My Token Valentine

Ha! Cheers Bec.

Small things

Say it with a French accent. Tickled me.

Cheers guys

As if. Slander.

Feedback

You should all know how much I love a good letter of complaint. Marco recently showed me this one that one of his colleagues sent to Nestle back in 2005. Too good.

Smarties and the answer

Freakshow

Thanks for your message, Eric. Feel free to prank call him, y’all.

No. Let's not.

Sim card collection

Growing sim card collection.

You can never have too many sim cards. I’m sure US customs will see it that way too.

Snorers

Horror of a night’s sleep last night on account of two dudes in the dorm Dolby-Surround snoring, one infinitely worse than the other.

And when I say snoring, I mean the man sounded like a rock fall; like a bear ripping through a marquee; just a snore amplification cavity and fat to boot (as they so often are, but don’t get me started on that). Both pillow and duvet over my head did nothing to dull the sound. At 3.30am, after three and a half hours listening, I wanted him to choke to death. The girl in the next bed was also awake, unable even to drown him out with an iPod and declared she’d never heard anything like it. I was hoping one would hit the wrong resonant note and shatter like a crystal glass at the opera. Would anyone miss him, I wondered? Could I smother him?

Almost certainly quieter

Stay still...

What is the etiquette? Can you wake a snorer this bad? Are knowing snorers obliged to get private room? Should hostels provide snorer dorms so they can all disturb each other?

Answers on a postcard.

FAQs

Cos you’re all nosy and keep asking…

– How long are you travelling for?

Til I get bored, pregnant or the money runs out.

– Where is the money coming from?

Contrary to popular speculation, I am not on the game, a spy or a drugs mule. I have a small stash of dinero from when I was in the oil lands, aided and abetted by no tax and generous rental rates (cheers Berk and DP!). I do a little bit of work here and there for pocket money along the way. 

Plus, to all those coupled up and be-familied, I am on my lonesome which means my cash is mine, all mine. No requirement to spend it on anniversary presents, romantic weekends, apology flowers or school uniforms. Unlucky punks. 

– Do you ever get scared travelling on your own?

No. Got a bit more street sense now so it’s fairly easy to flag stupid situations. As a single, white female lots of friendly, generous people are always keen to see you right – almost enough to restore your faith in humankind. Course, there are the freaks too but they follow me everywhere.

– Is this Eat, Pray, Love?

No.