Plaques – words carved in stone

When walking a city for hours with no particular purpose except to get to know the place, one stops and reads plaques and cornerstones.

“The Rats of Tobruk” monument was of particular interest since my father-in-law was one of them, although not the Aussie group. That subject may be the topic of a completely different blog, if I ever get around to it.

Here is another confident message that I’ve passed every day for a week in Brisbane.


This stone was well and truly laid
on the tenth day of
March 1952 by the hand of
Duncan McKay, Esq. Director
Harbottle Brown & Co.

It suggests that some cornerstones are set more tentatively, with uncertainty. We have no namby pamby here. There is no doubt about the leadership qualities of Mr. McKay, Esq. In fact, the stone IS in perfect condition while the nondescript building and the neighbourhood look a little tired after almost 60 years.

Here’s a plaque with admirable sentiments, but I am not well and truly certain of the usage of one phrase. (See the text below, if you have trouble reading from the photo.)

The part that catches my attention is

“…in honour of the early Lebanese settlers who, 140 years ago, established a presence in this country, sewing the bonds of loyalty, friendship and hard work, we thank you Australia.”

I know all about sowing seeds of whatever – doubt, confusion, ambition, dissent. I also know about sewing things together to make a sort of bond, otherwise known as a seam. This usage strikes me as confusion of a homophone. On the other hand, it is just as logical as most metaphors, and it evokes the “fabric of society” image, so it might have been an intentional and brilliant creative touch. What do you think?

Having written the above, I added a title to this post, using the words “cast in stone.” Then it occurred to me that it didn’t make sense even though I regularly use the phrase. I stand corrected and the title no longer has a mixed metaphor, since my blog is neither cast in concrete nor carved in stone.