Musical Advertising

Over the past few days I’ve come across two street signs advertising products using lyrics from popular songs. The first was a clever play on words for a housing/rental company.


And just in case you didn’t quite get the reference there’s a nod to the band at the end.

The other one is another play on words, however not as subtle, but extra points for the image added to the advert.


No points for guessing what number 2 is selling. (Not sure how legal this is but it’s funny nonetheless)

Signs London

During a recent trip to the UK I spotted some signs in London that made me smile and so thought I’d share them with you all.


The first one is quite boastful claiming they serve ‘’delectable’ ‘tantalizing’ (oh dear with a z) and ‘sumptuous’ food. Isn’t this rather setting themselves up for a fall? I was a little confused by their claim to serve Indian Chinese and the list of countries.


Another food related sign, this restaurant claims to be specialists in out door caterers not outdoor, and surely if you have a hall isn’t that really indoor catering? And do you think it should have read, we have a specialised outdoor..?


Apologies if anyone finds this one in poor taste, but there’s a show at London’s Olympia that I’m hoping no one forgets to attend.


Finally, heaven forbid you’d need these lawyers. I can forgive them the over use of capitals but the spelling mistake means, sorry but if it was down to me I’d be saying, you’re fired.

Signs Italy

As you know I’ve neglected my blog due to my heavy workload, but I have been collecting odd signs to show you, and this post is some of the ones I’ve spotted here in Italy.



The first one made me chuckle as it advertises a special service from Luca. I’m not sure what that service could be.



This one translates as, house of cheese. Maybe not as appealing as the gingerbread house, so I can’t see Hansel and Gretel dropping by soon.




This one is so clever. Here the shop owners have substituted the Italian word for shoe, scarpe into the well-known Latin aphorism carpe diem, that’s usually translated as, seize the day.




This one found in the town of Orsogna is just odd. I’m assuming it’s meant to tell passers by that the hair salon caters for all members of the family.




My final one is my favourite. It’s stuck up on the wall of a bar in the town of Palombaro, and clearly states that Ping Pong is €2 an hour. Ask yourselves, is Ping Pong a diminutive lady who’s travelled to Italy from Thailand, and if so, what do you get for your two euro that lasts an hour?


One thing that’s definitely different about being here in Italy is the abundance of flowers in January. Down the lane roses that have become naturalised are in bloom, they have no scent but none-the-less brighten up this drab month. Tiny orange marigolds are holding their heads up and there’s a few bluey-purple periwinkles popping up. Sarah’s house has some tiny white flowers outside that look as if they could be made of delicate china and a frothy yellow flower dances in the breeze down by Antonio’s house on the corner near the war memorial. Further down the road is a house with a huge pot filled with bright yellow daisy type flowers and the last of the woodland cyclamen are packing away their pink and purple bonnets.


My mind has been on preparing the orto for this years’ produce, as I had a limited space last year I’m ready to get on with growing on a similar scale to when I had my allotment back in the UK. This said, it’s tricky getting your head around sowing and planting times when you’re used to the UK seasons. Last year I was sowing my tomato seeds in March when everyone around me was starting to plant out their plants, so I’ve calculated that I need to start off around 8 to 10 weeks earlier depending upon the plants. I’ve already got a tray of fava beans started off and as soon as they get several true leaves they’ll be transplanted into the orto, and I’ll sow a second lot for a later crop. I have sweet peas sown for cut flowers this summer and will be looking at buying some bedding as soon as it becomes available around March. My pumpkin seeds are in a pot, as I always find they do much better if started early and are allowed to establish themselves as healthy plants before they go mad and spread out ready to fruit.


Last year was a good year for chillies and this year I’ll be growing habanero and Thai birds eye varieties, the habanero need to be started off now so they’re now sown and I reckon two plants should give us enough hot chillies for the year with a good proportion to dry and store for the winter months. I’m also looking forward to growing some new things, like cucumbers, peppers and fennel which I’ve never attempted before. I’ll even be having a bash at growing some Brussels sprouts, as they grow cabbage over here quite successfully so I imagine they’ll do okay.

I’ve just got back from spending a week over in the UK, and while I was there my bezzie mate, Glo who knows I love crazy signs, gave me a calendar with unusual signs pictured for each day, and I promised to post the sign that corresponds with the blog posting, so here’s today’s which appropriately is an Italian one. (Apologies for the poor quality photo, I’m not organised yet.)


More Signs

Welcome to 2014, to start off, here’s another selection of signs I’ve spotted recently.The first was on a water fountain where you bring a bottle and for five-cents you can get ice cold mineral water, still or sparkling. This fountain in town claims to have happy water, although what unhappy or downright miserable water is like I don’t have a clue.


My second sign is from a signpost at the beach at Ortona Port, I love the idea of people choosing holiday destinations that care for their ‘environmental’ or could that be mental environment? while enjoying the ‘nature’ of their beach: there’s a beach not far away where they literally enjoy the nature, or rather it’s often inundated with naturists.


In town a new American diner has opened and they’ve erected an enormous menu board outside, here’s a selection of their fare. Peppers or poppers, that could have caused a few problems back in those eighties high-energy discos, lots of moustachioed men sniffing peppers as they dance.


Have a splendid 2014 everyone.

Not Allowed

There’s a new sign been put up in our local bank. Is it not advertising a new interest rate or even mortgage services?

No. It’s a list of all the things you are not allowed to take into the banking hall.

In Italy before you can go into the bank you have to step into a Tardis type ante-chamber, where undecipherable electronic words are barked at you as I imagine you are scanned to see if you’re concealing anything about your person. Once satisfied the door opens and you can enter. As only one person at a time is allowed in the Tardis and it means the flow of visitors is controlled by the staff at the counters. We did once cause much consternation at our bank, when two of us went into the scanning chamber at the same time.

This new sign is in a prominent position beside the Tardis and it tells the passing observer that they can enter the bank carrying keys. However there is list of banned items that are not permitted to be taken inside. These prohibited items are cameras, briefcases, umbrellas and guns.

Now I’m not one who casually walks about town wielding a firearm, but surely it stands to reason that guns wouldn’t be allowed and anyone walking into a bank carrying one would instantly be assumed to be about to commit a felony.

In Pescara last weekend I saw another sign, this was in a shop window and consisted of two lines of text that made me smile:


The sign reads, Opening hours, every day. Except it was closed with the shutters pulled down on the day I walked past, so the shop is obviously not open every day.

Out and About Observations

As you know I like signs with spelling mistakes and other observed oddities, so here’s a few more for your pleasure. The first is from a car park in Casoli, it’s a piece of graffiti on the wall, sadly you’d have thought that the person who sprayed this red and blue tag, would have positioned it in a better place than have half of it obscured by a concrete post.


The next comes from a menu board outside a restaurant in Pescara, I guess English isn’t the owners native language, but you would expect the translation to be double-checked before investing in an expensive ‘A’ board. So if you pop in for a meal enjoy those praw[n]s I also like the idea of a wanton, by definition is this a battered and deep fried sexually immodest or promiscuous woman?


The nest sign is the name of a shop that sells clothing. Would you really want to buy fashion items that are, ‘So, Last Year’?


Finally, and this is my favourite. I found a leaflet advertising job vacancies, and the translation is roughly,’We’re not interested in how you dress as we are a call centre’.


More Italian Signs

As a non-native speaker of Italian I am not able to find as many spelling mistakes and unusual signs here as I did back in England, so here’s a few that I’ve been collecting for this post. The first is a sign that has appeared on the toilet wall in our local bar and is in both Italian and English.


The second sign is from a car-park notice in San Vito Chietino, the misspelling of, ticket made me smile as I imagine all the English drivers wondering how to ‘expose’ a dense group of bushes inside the vehicle.


Finally, for this selection of signs I think the last one is self explanatory, possibly intentional but wasted on the non-English speakers in our town.



The sun is shining, the egg is in the breakfast pan and, Well Worn Hand, one of my favourite tracks by, the Editors, shuffles on the iPod. All is good with the world this morning, but hang about, what’s that shadow? I look outside and there’s a woman wandering down the side of my house, she has a carrier bag in her hand so I assume she’s foraging. The pan comes off the heat and I’m outside with the swiftness I can muster this early on, senza caffe. I try to explain that this land is private property now, but she can’t seem to grasp what I’m saying. I gesticulate, waving my arms like a windmill in a gale and point, “Proprieta privata,” I say, “proprieta mia.” I’m jabbing myself in the chest, hoping it’ll lend some gravitas to my statement. She looks at me with a watery, aged eye and points to my land. “Si,” I say, “ casa é terra.” She shakes her head and asks if all the land is mine. I point to where mine starts and ends and she shrugs her shoulders and shuffles away.

Now part of me feels a little sad that the lady can no longer forage on my land, it’s not that at the moment it’s anything more than may hundred square metres of untamed wilderness, but; and here’s where I stand on the issue. First when I’ve cultivated it, do I want all and sundry thinking it’s a free-for-all in my cabbage patch. – No, and second, these unwelcome visitors always come down the steps onto what will upon completion be our patio and outdoor space. Now I for one don’t want to be having a shower with some old lady popping her head around the window. Or there’s the (remote) possibility I may have the outside door open and be engaged in some bedroom gymnastics, and no unsuspecting field forager wants to see that in the early hours.

So there’s nothing for it, I have to buy a sign. The Italians love their signs, they have them all over the place. Beware of the dog, for sale, for rent, you name it and the houses are plastered with them. So with iPod installed, and Linkin Park, playing With You, I set off for Lanciano, a mere 20km away. I take the scenic route, rather than the direct route as I like the views as the car climbs upwards revealing the lush fields below. I read somewhere that Abruzzo is often referred to as the lungs of Italy. In fact the header photograph to this blog was taken from the road up to Castelfrentano, and later Lanciano.


We reach Ikasa, part of a company called Brico, a sort of hardware cum electrical cum you name it we sell it store. My OH, Dutch heads off to look at wooden kitchen surfaces and I hone in on the signs that are rotating in a display. I flick the carousel round until I come across three signs. One is an A4 piece of plastic with a red no entry symbol and large black letters that shout out Private Property, another is an A4 landscape, blue and white one that simply says Private with a blue no entry sign. I dismiss this one immediately as being too passive. The final one is just 6 inches long by 3 inches wide. It simply says Private and has a small no entry sign. “So, what do you think?” Dutch says, when I walk over, signs clutched in my hand. “Pine or not?” I give him one of my bemused, or quite frankly gormless looks. “For the kitchen.” I’m non-committal, Kitchen surfaces can wait for another day, today is all about a private property sign. I hold up the two I have and ask which he thinks we should get. I’m favouring the bigger one that screams, ‘this is my land so bugger off’, Dutch just points to the small one and says, “This one.” I’m about to protest when he informs me that he thinks the smaller one is more dignified. “But,” I mumble, “the big one will fit on the post and stand out, I’ll have to trim down the smaller one to fit on the post box.” He nods and says, “Exactly,” then turns his attention back to the work surfaces on show.


Back home and with the self adhesive sign trimmed and in position, I mumble to myself as I walk the few metres back to the house, “Just one more unwelcome visitor and I’m going straight back for the big bloody sign, and it’s not up for discussion.”

Man in a Can

As a writer myself, one piece of advice I always give fledgling writers is, read. Read what you have written carefully, read it aloud, put it away for a day or so and read it again. You need to be sure before you submit anything that you have ironed out an imperfections, corrected grammar and given the spelling a good going over. If only in my day to day life I followed my own advice. We’re surrounded by signs, and being in a foreign country you’d think I’d take extra care while reading them. Not a chance.

Now bear with me while I explain the title for today’s entry. There are many foods that can be purchased in a can and cooked within it. Sponges pudding and those dreadful pies in a tin. Today because I didn’t pay attention I came close to discovering just how that steak and onion pie feels inside its tin prison.

A few days back I commented on how the locals are regular visitors to the car wash nearby. So today I thought it’s about time I washed the sand off my car, so It can shine in the sun as I’m pootling down to the supermarket or builders’ merchant. So I’m driving back from Eurospin, the iPod is playing Shangri-La by Nightmares in Wax (Pete Burns, pre-Dead or Alive guise) a song that I always feel has 41 seconds of unnecessary shenanigans at the end, when I pass the car wash. I pull in and glance at the bays, one is taken by a young man who’s power washing his car, another is free and so is a conventional drive in one, designed for the lazier driver. As it’s sunny I opt for the conventional drive in one, thinking I can’t be bothered wielding a shampoo brush and pressure washer in this heat. I glance at the board telling what’s on offer, but I don’t read what’s written I just look at the range of prices. “Ahh,” I say to myself, “Two euro, must be quick wash.” I drive in, the red lights asks me to stop, I insert a coin and press the button, then wait.

The machine rumbled into life and began moving towards me and I waited for the water, only it didn’t come. The lad across the way looked up and shook his head and then went back to his pressure washing. The machine moved over the car with me inside but instead of washing it was blowing hot air, I’d only set it to dry mode. So I sat inside my car on a hot day with an industrial sized hair-dryer above me increasing the temperature inside making me feel like a pie in a tin inside an oven. Next time I’ll take my own advice and read everything carefully.

Needless to say after the young man had left and the dryer had completed it’s actions I drove into a bay and did what I should have done in the first place, grabbed the shampoo brush and did the job by hand.


Macchina senza sabbia