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Four Candles (The Two Ronnies) (dialectal)

A shopkeeper in a hardware shop becomes increasingly frustrated by a customer because he continuously misunderstands what he is requesting.. Both customer and shopkeeper have an accent, especially the customer. Read the explanations to understand the misunderstandings.

The Four Candles sketch, originally titled "The Hardware Shop" is a sketch from the BBC comedy "The Two Ronnies". Written by Ronnie Barker under the pseudonym of Gerald Wiley, it was first broadcast on Saturday, 18 September 1976 on BBC1. Word play and homophones exhibit Barker's fascination with the English language and are cleverly used to powerful comic effect in this sketch.

- Four Candles.
- Four Candles?… There you are, four candles.
- No, four candles!
- Well, there you are, four candles!
- No, fork 'andles! 'Andles for forks!


- Fork handles.
- Got any plugs?
- Plugs? (yeah) Plugs. What kind of plugs?
- A rubber one, bathroom.
- What size?
- Thirteen amp.

- It's electric plugs. Electric bathroom plugs, we call them, in the trade. Electric bathroom plugs!

- Right!


- Saw tips.
- Sore tips?


- What d'you want? Ointment, or something like that?
- No, saw tips for covering the saws… tips.
- Oh, haven't got any, haven't got any. Comin' in, but we haven' got any.
- Got any 'O's.
- 'O's?
- 'O's.



- No, 'O's!
-'O's! I thought you meant 'O's!
- O's
- O's. Say o's. You think you can say that?


- O's. It's o's, he meant o's...
- No, 'O's!
- O's? What a... Oh, you mean panty 'o's, panty 'o's!
- No, no, 'O's, 'O's! 'O's for a gate. Mon repos! 'O's! Letter O's!
- Letter O's



- How many d'you want?
- Two.
- Two...

- Alright…



- Yea, next?
- Got any P's?
- For Gawd's sake, why didnt you bleedin' tell me that while I was up there then? I'm up and down the shop already, it's up and down the bleedin' shop all the time. … [mumbling]


- How many did you want?
- No! Tins of peas. Four tins of peas!

- You're 'avin' me on, ain't ya? Yer 'avin' me on?
- I'm not!



- Here we are. Right!
- Pumps?
- Pumps?
- Pumps.
- 'And pumps or foot pumps? Come on!
- Foot pumps!
- Foot pumps. Foot pumps…


- See a foot pump? Tidy up in 'ere....


- Here we are


- No, pumps fer ya feet! Brown pumps, size nine!
- You are 'avin' me on, you are definitely 'avin' me on!
- No, no, I'm not! No.
- You are!



- Washers.
- What? windscreen washers, car washers, dishwashers, floor washers,  back scrubbers, lavatory cleaners? Floor washers?
- 'Alf inch washers!
- Oh, tap washers, tap washers? Look, I've had just about enough of this, give us that list. I'll get it all myself! What's this? What's that? Oh, that does it! That does have it! I have just about enough of this! Mr. Jones! You come out and serve this customer please, I have just about had enough of this. Look what 'e's got on there! Look what 'e's got on there!


- Right! How many would ya like? One or two? (showing a box of billhooks)

Both men speak with a dialectal accent, that's where some of the confusions come from, the others are caused by some words multiple meanings.. One of the most distinct things is that they don't pronounce the sound /h/, so in their speech, "harm" and "arm" sound the same.


CANDLES= (see picture)

FORK (H)ANDLES= The handle or shaft of a hey fork (see picture)

GOT ANY...?= Have you got any...?, Do you have any...?

PLUGS= It may be this (see picture) or this (see picture)

RUBBER= An elastic material similar to plastic but soft (terrible definition, better see picture)

AMP= (informal) an ampere, which is a unit of electric current in the meter-kilogram-second system. It is the steady current that when flowing in straight parallel wires of infinite length and negligible cross section, separated by a distance of one meter in free space, produces a force between the wires of 2 × 10-7 newtons per meter of length. (ha ha, there you go!)

THE TRADE= Our business environment.

SAW TIPS= /sɔ: tɪps/ The tips of a saw (see picture of a saw). Some kinds of electric saws have removable tips (the "teeth" of a saw) that can be changed (see picture of saw tips). But later he explains that saw tips are for covering the saws, so I'm not sure what he is really talking about here, I'm not an expert on saws.

SORE TIPS= /sɔ: tɪps/ (same pronunciation as "saw tips") The tips of something (for example your fingers) when they are inflamed (swallen up) and hurting (see picture of sore finger tips)

D'YOU= (informal) "Do you" or "Did you".

OINTMENT=  A highly viscous or semisolid substance used on the skin as a cosmetic, emollient, or medicament; a salve (see picture)

FOR COVERING= We use the construction FOR + -ING to talk about general purpose, to give a definition of what something is made for. We use the construction TO + Verb to talk about a particular purpose:
- Keys are for opening doors (general purpose; definition of key)
- I need your key to open the door (specifical purpose, particular situation)

COMIN' IN= They're comin in. A shop keeper uses this expression to say that he hasn't got that product but he has ordered it and he will soon have it.

O'S= /əʊz/ It may be the plural of the letter O / a dialectal pronunciation of the word HOSE (see picture) / a dialectal pronunciation of OARS (standard /ɔ:*z/) (see picture)/ or short for PANTY HOSE: a kind of long stockings reaching up to the waist (see picture)

PANTY 'O'S= (see O'S)

O'S FOR A GATE. MON REPOS= He has a gate (see picture) in front of his house or farm and wants to have it decorated with the name of his house/farm, which is "Mon Repos", so he needs two letters O for that name (mOn repOs). The name "Mon Repos" (French for "my rest") is a popular name used for many palaces, hotels and villas.

P'S= The shop-keeper thinks he is asking for one letter P to write the name "mon rePos". But later we will find out that he's not talking about letter P's but about PEAS (see picture)

GAWD= /gɔ:d/an euphemism for God /gɒd/ (or a dialecta pronunciation). FOR GOD'S SAKE literally means to do something "thinking of God" or "for God's benefit or respect". It is an expression used to show exasperation (when you feel frustrated and annoyed).

BLEEDING= A mild swear word used to give emphasis (= bloody).

MUMBLING= Speaking in an unclear way, with your voice low, so it is not possible to understand.

TINS OF PEAS= Tins of food containing peas (see picture)

YOU'RE 'AVING ME ON= You are having me on = You are pulling my leg, mocking me, laughing at me, making a fool of me, tricking me...

AIN'T YA?= (dialectal) Aren't you?

YER= (dialectal) You are, you're.

PUMPS= A device for pushing air into a wheel (see picture of a bicycle pump).

'AND PUMPS= Hand pumps = A pump (see above) designed to be operated with your hands, as opposed to FOOT PUMPS, which are operated with your feet (by stepping down on them).

'ERE= Here.

HERE WE ARE= (conversational) Here it is, you can have it.

PUMPS FER YA FEET= (coll.) Pumps for your feet = PUMP is also a type of shoe with a rubber sole, used in games such as tennis (see picture)

SIZE NINE= A shoe size (about 26 cms long, European size: 43)

WINDSCREEN= The big glass in front of a driver in a car (see picture)

DISHWASHER= A machine to wash dishes (see picture)

BACK SCRUBBERS= A kind of brush or similar device designed to scrub (wash by rubbing strongly) your back to wash it (see picture)

LAVATORY CLEANER= A product to clean the toilet (see picture)

'ALF INCH WASHER= A washer which is half an inch wide. This washer he is talking about is not for washing anything, it is a flat disk, as of metal, plastic, rubber, or leather, placed beneath a nut or at an axle bearing or a joint to relieve friction, prevent leakage, or distribute pressure (see picture)

TAP (BrE) = Faucet (AmE) a valve and spout used to regulate delivery of a fluid at the end of a pipe (see picture)

GIVE US= (coll.) Give me. In colloquial English we sometimes use US when we mean ME.
- Give us a kiss, darling (= Give me a kiss)

THAT DOES IT!= That's enough, that's more than I can take, that's the last straw, I'm tired of this.

THAT DOES HAVE IT!= That does it (see above)

YOU COME OUT= Come out. (This is an imperative but we use the subject YOU when we want to be emphatic)

'E'S= He's.

YA= (coll.) /jə/ You.

BILLHOOKS= (a tool) A cutting tool with a wooden handle and a curved blade terminating in a hook at its tip, used for pruning, chopping, etc (see picture). The final joke is that the shopkeeper got so angry because he misread the word "billhooks" and thought it was "bollocks" (a rude word), which means "testicles" or "nonsense".

6:45            
 
 
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