home page

Strawberry Tarts to sit in

♦ Why the funny title?

Having successfully completed my previous attempt at cataloguing some of the weird and wonderful twists and turns of language in She smokes like a fish. I have been casting about for ages for the title for a follow-up volume. There was no shortage of content material left over from the first book and new material was assailing my senses at every turn. But I was in need of an eye-catching title which at least measured up to that of the first volume. Then one day, in the small town near to where we live in Scotland, I was parking the car outside the fish and chip shop (which keeps on winning prizes), when I saw an A-board on the pavement in the square opposite one of the town’s coffee shops bearing the splendid legend ‘Strawberry tarts to sit in or take away’. My search for a title was over:

The book is currently nearing completion and will be for sale on Amazon.

Two sample passages coming up.

♦ First sample from the book

From the US national song which, strictly speaking, isn’t a hymn but has a strong religious feel about it, comes this masterpiece of twisted meaning: He is trampling on the vineyard where the great giraffe is stored. (He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.) That is a line from ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’, and the twisted version has to be an improvement on the original, as it has all the qualities of a Surrealist image just waiting for Salvador Dali or René Magritte to paint. The phrase ‘grapes of wrath’ refers to a call for God to bring justice to the world, and John Steinbeck borrowed it as the title of one of his best-known novels. A propos of nothing, the giraffe reminds me of the best put-down to a chat-up line I have heard (not personally, I hasten to add). When asked by a hopeless suitor if she would like to come up to his hotel room, the lady replied: I would rather dive naked into a vat of warm giraffe vomit.

♦ Second sample from the book

Here is a fine selection of these unfortunate headlines. The first had me really puzzled – I didn’t realise that there were lady and gentleman mushrooms. Now I understand what that strange woodland scent is on a misty evening, it’s tobacco smoke:

Lung cancer in women mushrooms
Iraq head seeks arms
Kids make nutritious snacks
Red tape holds up new bridge
City unsure why sewer smells
BBC 6 news flash: Sharp increase in knife crime.

And, from the never-ending succession of weekend supplements in the newspapers, here is an excellent piece of advice if you are at a loss as to what to do with the little ones. It is from the Baking Guide section:

What to make with the kids during the holidays.

top of page
top of page