Outwitted by Words #1

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Have I mentioned that I adore words? Specifically English ones. (I’m sure words in other languages are equally wondrous, but I don’t know any of them thus I’m naturally biased.) You can do anything with words: excuse, pretend, explain, enlighten, deceive, emote … Words have the power to create whole new worlds, if you want them to.

They also have the power to make people look like total pillocks when they get words wrong. I love it when this happens. So I thought I’d share.

Today’s offerings of people being outwitted by words are:

1) On the Wikipedia Page for Hatfield House, I saw today that somebody has written:

“The Queen Elizabeth Oak on the grounds of the estate is said to be the location where Elizabeth was told she was Queen following Mary’s death, but is considered unlikely as Mary died in November.”

I was left wondering, whilst sniggering uncharitably into my coffee, whether the tree went elsewhere in November. I have added to my bucket list a desire to go to Hatfield House at midnight on 31st October to see if the tree disappears.

2) In the leaflet my son’s school provided me in preparation for his first residential trip, somebody wrote:

“We try not to let the weather prevent us from ruining any activity at Burwell House, so please make sure your children have appropriate clothing with them.”

I admit, I indulged in quite a lengthy process of deliberation as to what, exactly, would be considered appropriate clothing for activities that are purposefully sabotaged, whatever the weather. It was a moot point: my son refuses to wear anything but shorts and a t-shirt, even in sub-zero temperatures. I packed two pairs of shorts, a pair of wellies, and a flannel. That would have to do.

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