In one sense English spelling is fantastic. In its mishmashes and inconsistencies you can see much of the languages long and winding history. For example there’s a whole academic discipline devoted to uncovering the history of places through their unusual names and weird spellings like ‘Worcestershire’ are a key part of it.
But in a larger sense the lack of a consistent correspondence between spelling and pronunciation is a nightmare. It makes learning to read and write unnecessarily difficult. Rather than remembering a few simple rules, we also wind up learning myriad exceptions and special cases.
This video from Oxford Dictionaries highlights one of the most maddening, the strange case of ‘-ough’: