I’ve been eating a lot of strawberry laces recently. I don’t really know why – I just bought a packet on a whim one day last month and remembered that they are cheap and delicious and also fun to eat, and since then I’ve been buying them fairly regularly. You can get three packets for a pound at my local Tesco, and they have a picture of a giraffe on the front.
When you open a packet of strawberry laces, you will find that all the laces are stuck together in a big clump, like this.
This is not ideal if you like to eat your strawberry laces one by one (by one by one…) as I do, so I grab the first lace end I can see, and try to unravel that lace from the clump. It twists around and folds in on itself and turns out to be wrapped around a number of other laces, and I have to unstick more laces from the clump in order to get hold of the one I’m trying to separate. At one point I find I have five or six loose lace ends hanging down, and still none of the laces will fully untangle from the clump. So I keep on gently disentangling, being careful not to snap any of the laces (because broken strawberry laces are not nearly as fun to eat), and then suddenly, as if by magic, the whole clump falls apart and I am left with eighteen separate strawberry laces scattered all over my lap. I pick them all up, line them up and arrange them in a neat little twist like this.
The process of translation feels very similar sometimes. Except with long multi-clause sentences instead of delicious strawberry-flavoured sweets.