I am currently having the problem with Duolingo French, you see, that it is trying to teach me the word for wallet, and the word it thinks means wallet is "le portefeuille". Which is all fine and good, as far as it goes, except
that the French word I know meaning wallet is, er, "das Portemonnaie". Because German, you see, or at least my
flavour of German, went through a phase (as did much of the rest of Europe) that can summarised, somewhat crudely, as You Know What's Really Sexy? French. French Is Really Sexy.
I have no idea whether Duolingo thinks le portemonnaie
is an acceptable translation, and I suppose I will find out next time I find myself learning how to talk about clothes in French. (I am dubious. Duolingo persists in not believing in potatoes, you see, even if it has
condescended to believe in priests.)
The University of Oxford Botanic Garden, meanwhile, have an attempt at Engaging Their Younger Visitors, as best I can tell, that consists of sticking a bunch of laminated Shakespeare quotes near plants mentioned in said quotes, which series is entitled Bill's Blooms.
I was delighted
to realise that one of these was taken from Much Ado About Nothing
The count is neither sad nor sick, nor merry nor well; but civil count, civil as an Orange, and something of that jealous complexion.
... except, to my slight consternation, it was attached to an example of Citrus madurensis, the Calamondin orange
I perambulated the remainder of the Conservatory, which contained a goodly set of Citrus
. (A fact of which I had not previously been aware: nobody knows what the fuck lemons are
. Citrus medica
x Citrus aurantifolia
, suggest Oxford, with which Wikipedia does not
agree.) Not represented, alas, was Citrus aurantium
, the bitter - or Seville - orange. Well, fair enough, thinks I; if they have no Seville, it is reasonable that the quotation not be attached to a Seville.
... they do so
have a bloody
Seville -- it's just over in the Palm House.
I have sent them an e-mail thanking them profusely for my lovely afternoon, and inquiring as to whether they just... don't think that joke's as funny as I do, then.
(It's okay! I was actually more polite than that, I promise.)
"Excuse me," I said to the woman in the charity shop, bent to peer at the bookcase, "could I trouble you to reach me down a book from the top shelf...? Oh, thank you so much -- second from the left, Americanah
find," she said, "I'm trying desperately to quickly find something to read, that looks like the only good thing on that shelf. But--" and here she brandished some Orhan Pamuk at me.
... and having thus Bonded over Literature, we went our separate ways, which at least in my case involved being briefly deeply embarrassed about What It Is I Have Become, as a result of which I knocked a shoe onto my head; it thonked pleasingly as it bounced, somewhat sadly, to the floor.