You Tube Transcription #7 Four Candles
One of the most famous sketches on British television by The Two Ronnies in 1976.
Customer: “Four candles”.
Shopkeeper: Four candles? There you are.
C: No, “four candles”.
S: There you are; four candles.
C: No, “fork ‘andles”. ‘Andles for forks. (‘andle=handle)
Er, got any plugs?
S: Plugs? Plugs? What kind of plugs.
C: Rubber ones, bathroom.
S: What size?
C: 13 amp.
S: That’s electric plug, ‘electric bathroom plugs’, you call them, in the trade.
C: “Sore tips?
S: Sore tips? What do you want? Ointment or something like that?
C: No “saw tips” for covering the saws.
S: Oh, no we haven’t got any.
C: Got any ” ‘oes”? (plural of ‘hoe’, a harden tool).
C: No, ” ‘ose”. ( ‘ose=hose)
S: ” ‘ose”? I thought you meant ” ‘oes”. ‘Ose. When you said ” ‘oes” you should’ve said ” ‘ose”.
C: No, “Os”. (plural of the letter O)
S: “Os”? Oh, you mean “pantyhose”.
C: No, no, “Os”, “Os” for the gate: “Mon Repose”(House name sign), “Os”. Letter Os.
S: Letter Os!
How many do you want?
S: Two… alright?
C: Got any “Ps”?
S: For gawd’s sake, why didn’t you bleedin’ tell me that while I was up there? I was up the steps already, you could’ve bleedin’ told me. I’m up and down the shop all the time….
How many do you want?
C: No, tins of “peas”.
S: You’re having me on, aren’t you? You are! There we are.
C: Right, pumps.
S: Pumps? Hand pumps, foot pumps?
C: Foot pumps.
S: Foot pumps… Need to tidy up in here. There we are.
C: No, pumps for your feet, brown pumps, size 9. (pumps=old style sneakers)
S: You ARE having me on, you are definitely having me on!
C: I’m not.
S: What windscreen washers, car washers, dishwashers, floor washers, back-scrubbers, lavatory cleaners, floor washers?
C: Half-inch washers.
S: Tap washers, tap washers. Look, I’ve had about enough of this. Give us that list, see for myself what’s down here. What’s this? What’s that? Oh, that does it. That does it. I’ve just about had enough of this. Mr. Jones? Could you come out and serve this customer here, I’ve just about had enough of this.
Mr.Jones: Right, how many would you like, one or two? (The word “billhooks” looks like a bad word in his handwriting on the list).
The main joke is wordplay with a silent ‘H’, which is very common in Britain. People say, “‘Ello, ‘ow are you?”
Also, the fact that we join words together is key here, like “fork ‘andles” sounds the same as “four candles”. This is the main reason that Japanese find English listening comprehension very hard.
There are many homophones used. That is words with the same pronunciation but different meanings: “pumps”, “washers”, “plugs” and the confusing ” ‘oes” (hoes), “Os” (letters O) and ” ‘ose” (hose).
“You’re having me on!” means “I think you are joking with me.”
“For gawd’s sake!” means “For god’s sake.” It’s a kind of expression of frustration.
“I’ve had about enough of this.” is also an expression of frustration. It means “I can’t take any more.”
Many British people have a house name as well as a house number, and some have only a name, which is very difficult for delivery people to find. The name is chosen by the owner.