Oh, I see! moments
Travel Cultures Language

An Idiom Abroad

by Joyce McGreevy on January 3, 2017

The statue of the Duke of Wellington in Glasgow shows that Scotland's fashions go beyond the wordplay of clothing idioms. (Image © Joyce McGreevy)

Trafficking in high fashion, Glasgow style. 
The Duke of Wellington monument at the Gallery of Modern Art.
© Joyce McGreevy

A Wordplay Stitch in Time

Sew, a funny thing happened on the way to a textile exhibition. One morning in Glasgow, I stopped at a café to write. The assignment: draft a column  about the wordplay of clothing idioms.

I’m no smarty pants, but I hoped to leave readers in stitches so I put on my thinking cap, booted up my laptop, and buckled down to work.  As cellphone users aired their dirty linen in public, I felt hampered and wished they would put a sock in it.

Wordplay: Wit and Wisdom in Public Spaces

by Joyce McGreevy on August 16, 2016

A hair salon in Glasgow, Scotland typifies the wit and wordplay of signage in public spaces. Image © Joyce McGreevy

Hair-salon puns, like this one in Glasgow, Scotland, are permanent highlights of signage.
© Joyce McGreevy

Reading the Language of Signs Worldwide

Maybe it’s a sign, you think. You mean that literally. It’s Day 1 in Sofia, Bulgaria, and you’re staring at a wall of words that may signify the name of the street. Or a local ordinance. Or the route to Romania.

You know this much: it’s definitely in Cyrillic. Suddenly, you’re back in the pre-literacy of early childhood, experiencing the world as a dense forest of language whose mysteries you’re not yet able to penetrate.

Oh, I see: Signs are an indispensable element of our public spaces.

Wordplay and Watercolor: Edward Lear in Gozo

by Joyce McGreevy on February 8, 2016

Edward Lear's watercolor painting of Gozo, Malta, a place he visited with a traveler's wanderlust and one that inspired his wordplay. (Image by Edward Lear, public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

A tireless traveler, Edward Lear expressed the magnificence of Gozo, Malta,
through delicate watercolor paintings and colorful wordplay.
Edward Lear [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Wanderlust on My Lear-ical Visit to Malta

It’s winter in Malta, 1862. Edward Lear, lover of wordplay and watercolor, is writing a letter. His phrasing echoes the rhythm of Mediterranean tides against this tiny archipelago:

“I draw constantly on the Barracca point; meaning to paint a picture thereof one day; and I wander up and down the beautiful streets of Valletta and Senglea; and rejoice in the delightful heat and the blue sky; and watch the thousand little boats skimming across the harbor at sunset.”

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