Hazel McHaffie

On a roll

I’m buzzing!

Nine hours stuck on a train to London and back on Monday … could have been tedious. In fact it reaped rich rewards. On the way down it was four hours’ reading time. On the way back though, my mind went into overdrive and I got totally stuck into mapping out my next novel. Yep, the whole thing! The catering team plied me with drinks and food and smiles, my fellow passengers respected the rules of the Quiet Coach, and by 11.30pm my notebook was full.

Since then the old brain has been in sixth gear (or whatever it is that facilitates speed and efficiency), and a great big bit of me wants to escape to a remote island and just write. Life though, in all its humdrum-ness, can’t be shelved that easily, so I’m contenting myself with thinking and jotting whenever and wherever I can, empowered by that clear framework.

Rather than leave you high and dry though, I’m simply going to share some pearls gleaned from the latest Mslexia which appealed to the pedant in me. We all quote famous phrases at times, don’t we, but how often do we misquote, I wonder?

Which of these sayings do you think is accurate?

1. ‘Elementary, my dear Watson’ (Sherlock Holmes speaking)

2. ‘Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble’ (the 3 witches)

3. ‘Methinks the lady doth protest too much’ (Hamlet’s mother)

4. ‘Theirs but to do or die’ (The Light Brigade)

5. ‘A rose by any other name smells just as sweet’ (Juliet)

6. ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’ (Congreve)

7. ‘Please, sir, can I have some more?’ (Oliver)

How many did you rate as accurate? Below this picture of a beautiful tree currently blooming in our Japanese garden, are the results, so don’t look yet if you haven’t finished the exercise.

Spring blossomIn reality, every one of these is a misquote. Yes, really!  The correct versions are:

1. It doesn’t appear in any of Conan Doyle’s writings!

2. ‘Double, double, toil and trouble’

3. ‘The lady doth protest too much, methinks’

4. ‘Theirs but to do and die’

5. ‘That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet’

6. ‘Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned/ Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned’

7. ‘Please, sir, I want some more’

How did you fare?


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