How to carry flowers in public: a spotter's guide

Based on my own previous experiences of commuting with a bouquet, and today’s observations of people struggling with blooms on public transport, I present this handy guide to how to carry flowers (either given to you or on your way to present them to someone else), without looking ridiculous.

There are in fact six main carrying stances:

bride1. The Bride

Stance: Single or double-handed, bouquet held in front of the body.

Notes: Tendency to look like blushing bride. Must avoid slow-walking, or wearing of white clothing.


nonchalant2. Nonchalant

Stance: Single-handed, bouquet held upright but tilted at a slight angle.

Notes: Pose suggests that the holder is unaware that they are holding a lovely bouquet of flowers, or that this sort of thing happens all the time. “What’s that? Nice flowers? Eh? Oh, you mean these flowers? Yes, I suppose they are…” NB: Can play havoc with weak wrists.


down3. The Sweep

Stance: Single-handed, bouquet grasped around the base and facing downwards.

Notes: Signals embarrassment about receiving or carrying flowers. Usually accompanied by intense blushes. Very effective for de-petalling the blooms, as downwards-orientation and pendulum motion conspire with gravity to cause petals to drop off.


torch4. The Torch

Stance: Single-handed, bouquet held upright, slightly aloft and at a right angle to the body, but at some distance.

Notes: Usually adopted by boyfriends/husbands, this posture signals that the carrier has bought the flowers for someone else, and is merely conveying them to their intended recipient, plus do you really think I’d be caught dead carrying flowers around in the street? Do you? Well, do you? What sort of bloke do you think I am? etc etc. NB: Can be painful on upper arms/shoulders if used for a long time.


award5. The Award

Stance: Single-handed grasp, with bouquet resting in the crook of the opposite arm.

Notes: The award for best flower carrying posture goes to….*drum roll*…. whoever carries their flowers like this! Impossible not to seem as if you are receiving an award, or holding a large, florid baby.


karaoke6. The Microphone

Stance: Single-handed, bouquet held upright and slightly aloft directly in front of the body, near the face.

Notes: Can seem as if you are about to break into karaoke, depending on the type of flowers. Avoid bulbous blooms.

Of course, it’s best to remember that, on today of all days, nothing says “I love you” like dead vegetation

Know your place

My new commute involves taking the train and transferring at a big, busy urban interchange. I’m learning a lot about my commute – and the fine art of commuting – of which more in time, I’m sure.

But a little glimpse for now: last night, waiting at St Pancras, I noticed that the people on the opposite platform (waiting for the northbound train) were huddled in particular formations relating to where the doors open when the train eventually arrives.

Know your place

This tells us three things.

1. The train’s obviously going to be busy when it arrives, so proximity to the door is everything
2. You’ve got to do a lot of commuting before you know not just which zone to stand in so you’re near the exit when you get off, but where the doors open
3. If you’re not standing in prime position (by the doors when they open), you’re going to get left behind


A couple of years ago, P and I went to a wedding on the North York Moors. We stayed in a rather faded (but decently-reviewed on Tripadvisor) hotel near the prom in Scarborough, and aside from a wobbly start when we arrived and discovered that the room had been cleaned but not the bathroom (eugh!) we had a perfectly pleasant stay for a couple of nights.

We barely spent any time there, just dashing in to shower and change outfits in between the social engagements which cluster around a wedding for old friends. But we made a point of having a decent breakfast both mornings, because you never know when you’re going to be fed at someone else’s nuptials, do you?

On the first morning, we showed up at the high-ceilinged breakfast room at eight, and were shown to a table in the window. Unsurprisingly for a hotel at the seaside on the first weekend in August, there were plenty of guests in residence, most of whom were already seated, in even-numbered clumps at tables adorned with white cloths and posies of plastic flowers in unnatural colours.

As we perused the menu, a man with a slightly Fawlty-esque moustache walked in carrying a pot of coffee. He approached the table to the left of us, which held two slightly rotund and red-faced couples wearing floral blouses (shes) and pastel polo shirts (hes).

“Right then, who’s for coffee?” the man with the pot bellowed

“Me please,” said one of the men.

“And me, Frank,” said his floral other half.

“Tea for me, thanks,” said the other man.

“Oh aye, I might’ve known there’d be trouble,” said the proprietor, “there’s always one awkward one.”

Malapostrophication (redux)

Seth Godin poses the question “Am I the only one distracted by apostrophes and weird quoting?

When I get a manuscript or see a sign that misuses its and it’s and quotes, I immediately assume that the person who created it is stupid.

I understand that this is a mistake on my part. They’re not necessarily totally stupid, they’re just stupid about apostrophes.

No, it’s not just you Seth. We are judging them.

Slapdash malapostrophication

Longtime readers of this site may be aware that this is a particular bugbear of mine, and one that I have ranted about previously in these pages – with specific reference to marketing and other professional communications – and devised a classification system or malapostrophication offences, to boot.

1. Permissible Error
This usually means that the sign is handwritten, chalked or otherwise home-produced, and is generally an indication that the writer was in a hurry, or without English as a mother tongue, or both, and can therefore be permitted to make a small, apostrophe-sized slip once in a while. Classic greengrocer’s apostrophe territory.

2. Should Know Better
These are usually printed items which are created for a one-off, limited audience purpose. It tends to be that this usage is seen in charity shops, local church/school/community organisation newsletters and on the stand-up A-frame boards for independent delicatessens and sandwich shops. Most of these will have either been created by the proprietor or, occasionally, created by a signwriter acting under direct comission commission (oops!) from the owner. 99% of the time, it’s a plural error.

3. Utterly unforgivable
These are the real clangers. High distribution (vast print run – adverts, merchandise and the like), very visible channels (like billboards and television), otherwise high production values (design, or materials used) and – most importantly of all – very likely to have passed (in copy, design and approval stages) through the hands of several people, at least one of whom should have spotted the mistake. This is a quality issue, and is something that creative or marketing agencies (especially) are particularly bad at managing.

Apostrolypse now

That post from March last year contains a number of photographic examples, too.

As an additional example, here’s a photo of our local chippy, captured for posterity by one of my neighbours:

All the right bits, just not necessarily in the right place.

It’s been like that for at least the six years I’ve lived here, and I’ve come to think of it as one would a slightly batty aunt – well meaning, a little scatty, beyond redemption but utterly forgiveable because she knows how to make a mean saveloy & chips.

Never parted

On the tube, they cannot let go of each other. There must always be something touching – thighs; fingers; shoulders; lips.

When a single seat becomes available, he urges her to take it and then hovers in front of her. She reaches out; they touch.

On the tube; they cannot let go of each other