"Comedy always works best when it is mean-spirited" - John Cleese

Author John Corby also writes as "Bulldogge" for the British Canadian newspaper.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Tales From the Trip: #11 Double Double Trouble

When a Canadian walks into a donut shop and orders a "double double" he generally expects to get a cup of coffee with double cream and double sugar. When I walked into a fish & chip shop in Northumberland and ordered "fish & chips twice" I might have inadvertently ordered more than I expected.

Fish & Chips Twice
"Fish & chips twice", as I recall from living in the United Queendom twenty eight years ago, was a way of saying "could I have two orders of fish and chips please". I wanted one order for myself and another for senior management (She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed).

Ski School
To my astonishment, what I received was two very large pieces of cod and a mound of chips so big that Canadians would call it a ski hill. Twice. Yes, that's one small school of fish and a ski hill for me and the same again for my wife.

It was a very good meal too. But do the people of Northumberland usually eat such huge meals or did I miss some nuance of the local dialect and order a double-double fish & chips?

A Double Blow for Mary
SWMBO and I toured several cathedrals during our visit to the Land of Hope and Glory. Peterborough Cathedral is one of the smaller cathedrals, but a very interesting building all the same. We came across the former burial place of Mary Queen of Scots.

Following her execution at Fotheringay Castle in 1587, Mary was interred in Peterborough Cathedral. She was exhumed when her son James I came to the throne and re-buried in Westminster Abbey near her sister Elizabeth I who had signed her death warrant.

A sign in the cathedral simply noted that Mary died on the second blow of the executioner's axe. "Ouch" I thought and wanted to know more. I had always thought that royal beheadings were neat, clean deaths. Not so, it seems.

Sorry, I Missed
The headsman's first blow caught Mary on the back of the head. His second blow severed her head from her body but for one strand of sinew that he cut by sawing at it with the axe blade. How horrible.

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