Belfast Telegraph

Shops' signage can be a funny business

By Frances Burscough

Waiting rooms are a great source of inspiration for a writer like me. Somewhere, hidden deep inside that mountain of ancient, dog-eared, once-glossy magazines, there will be an idea for a column waiting to be read.

I picked up the rather quaint Ulster Countrywoman: The Journal of the Women's Institute in Northern Ireland, dated June 2016, on a recent trip to the doctors. Alongside all the letters, recipes, minutes from meetings and photographs of fund-raisers, I found a column entitled Quirky Shop Signs, in which readers are encouraged to send in their favourite and funniest business names from around the province.

Now, it so happens that spotting these has been a favourite pastime of mine too, over the years. So now, with thanks to the good old WI for the idea, I can share them with you all, just for a bit of fun. Think of it this way: I've done the research so you don't have to. Prepare to cringe!

From the Chippies & Takeaways category we have: For Cod and Ulster; New Cod on the Block (Cod=Kid, get it?); Frying Nemo (in Bangor with a picture of the Disney cartoon fish from Finding Nemo. Tasteful!); The CodFather (with a picture of Don Corleone in the window); The Frying Squad (serving "Criminally Good Food"); Codfellas (with a picture of Ray Liotta in the window); Codrophenia (with a picture of a cod riding a scooter); Star Chip Enterprise (featuring pictures from Star Trek); Batter-Sea Cod's Home (in London); The Frying Scotsman (in Glasgow); The Plaice Station; Doner Trump (A new kebab shop in Bangor, featuring a cartoon of the American President); Jason Doner Van (mobile kebab van); Only Foods & Sauces (with a picture of Del Boy in the window); Wok this Way (Chinese takeaway); Thai Tanic (new Thai takeaway in Bangor. Tasteful!); Soon Fat Chinese Takeaway; Top Bun (sandwich shop, featuring Tom Cruise. Bun= Gun, get it?); Bap Man (as above but featuring a picture of Batman serving butties); and Lettuce Eat (vegetarian takeaway)

From the Hilarious Hairdressers category: Curl Up and Dye (on Ormeau Road and elsewhere in most cities!); British Hairways (with obligatory aeroplane picture); Hair Indoors (my mum's hairdressers in Preston. Mum never watched Minder, so she never got the joke); Val Does Hair (=Val d'Isère, get it?!?); The Million Hairs Club (=Millionaires, get it?); Herr Kutz (in Liverpool, with picture of generic German in window); Sweeny Todd's Barbers (tasteful!); From Hair to Eternity and the Mane Event.

From the Comedy Canine section: Hairy Pop-Ins (a dog walking company with picture of Mary Poppins surrounded by dogs); Woofs-a-Daisy (dog groomers); Indiana Bones and the Temple of Groom (temple of groan, more like!); Ulti-Mutt Dog Salon; Doggy Style (ahem... less of the s-mutt, please); and Paws for Thought (pet shop). In general, anything with the word "paws" (pause), "tail" (tale) and "fur" (fair) too.

From our Funny Florists and Gardening Giggles category: Back to the Fuchsia; Florist Gump; MowsArt: Classical Lawn Maintenance (=Mozart. Get it?!?); Teresa Green Landscape Gardener and BladeRunners (grass cutting).

And here are some from my miscellaneous section: Mission Inflatables (bouncy castle hire); Spruce Spring-clean (cleaning services); Our Soles (safety work-wear shoe shop. Imagine the embarrassment of the receptionist: "Hello, Our Soles?"); SellFridges (fridge shop in Liverpool); Bits & PCs (computer repair shop); Toad Haul (removals); Surelock Homes (locksmith); Cash 22 (pawn shop); Temple of Vroom (driving school); Planet of the Grapes (wine shop); Melon Cauli Greengrocers; Junk and Disorderly (antiques); Sofa So Good (furniture); Vinyl Frontier (record shop); Jean-Claud Van Man (odd jobs) and, my favourite of them all: To Finaghy and Beyond, a Belfast delivery company!

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