08 March 2011


Extracts from A Gentleman Publisher’s Commonplace Book by John G Murray


‘Sex has become a serious international problem for which a solution hasn’t yet been found.’
(Introduction to a The Truth about Sex submitted by A M Macrae 1968)

‘The girl was beheaded, chopped into pieces and placed in a trunk but was not interfered with.’
(From a Fleet Street report)

‘What has one wheel and flies?’
‘A wheelbarrow full of manure!’
(A riddle from John Piper)

‘What is funny about legs?’
‘The bottom is at the top!’
(A riddle from a lady of 92)

‘I’m afraid,’ said a woman on entering a shoe shop, ‘that one of my feet is larger than the other.’
‘Oh no, madam,’ exclaimed the salesman, ‘if anything one is smaller.’

‘Exclusive universal Tailors.’

‘Sole joint agents.’
(Sign outside a house)

Tattooed lady wishes to meet gentleman with similar views.’
(Advertisement from the agony column of the Observer)

‘Ears pierced while you wait’
(Notice in a Cork jeweller’s window)

‘St Margaret’s School of the Immaculate Conception for Girls’
and underneath
‘Preparatory for Boys’
(Sign outside a school in Berkshire)

Q. ‘What’s the difference between a snowman and a snow woman?’
A. ‘Snowballs.’
(Riddle from Anne Ridler)

A warden in the dark outside an air raid shelter during the war asked, ‘Are there any pregnant women here?’
A young cockney shouted, ‘Give us a chance, guv’, we’ve only been ‘ere ten minutes.’

Hotel notice: ‘If requiring breakfast please hang on door knob before 7am.’

‘Due to staff shortage the automatic ticket machines are not in use.’
(Notice in Farringdon Underground Station)

Wording on a form sent out by a Government department in 1962:
‘Separate departments on the same premises are treated as separate premises for this purpose where separate branches of work which are commonly carried on as separate business in separate premises are carried on in separate departments of the same premises’

‘Baths may be had (by arrangement) with the manageress only.’
(Notice in a Southport hotel)

‘Horse manure bagged 25p. Do it yourself 10p.’
(Advertisement outside a Sussex farm)


  1. "St Margaret’s School of the Immaculate Conception for Girls’
    and underneath

    ‘Preparatory for Boys’"


    Thanks for the laughs, Valerie!

  2. haha...thanks for the early afternoon chuckles to help me make it through the day...

  3. LOL I so enjoyed those Valerie.

  4. Highly amusing, Val. Thanks for the smiles.

  5. I was having one of those 'got out the wrong side of the bed this morning' days - until I read your blog. Now I will be thinking about some of those Delightful Oddities all day and having a chuckle, thanks Valerie.

  6. Very funny Valerie. I particularly like the one about the ticket machine in Farringdon Station.

  7. I liked the wheelbarrow and snowballs ones the most. Thanks for sharing, Val, these are awesome. Have a good one.


If you're new to A Mixed Bag you might find something to interest you, a bit of mirth, a story or two, or some pictures. I'm so pleased you popped in, do leave a comment if you have time.