Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What's In A Name

Every time we head along US-27 to pastures North from Sebring, we come across a sign for the wonderfully optimistic town name of Frostproof. Frostproof has had a few frosty mornings over the decades but it was originally named to show that such events were/are far and few between for business, tourism and ranching purposes.

Maybe Frostresiliant would be more accurate but not as memorable.

Not much further away is the town of Christmas and by now we're beginning to realise that Florida town namers were a witty bunch with too much time on their hands. Except for whoever named the area south of Tampa as Rattlesnake ! Not a place I'd wish to visit for sure.

But I come from a land down wait that's a song lyric ! I come from a land, nay an empire, of bizarrely named towns and villages so Frostproof and Christmas are merely slightly amusing to me.

How about Bachelors Bump to set the ball rolling and I bet Bareleg Hill raised a few eyebrows in Edwardian times. Wash Dyke is not a command but a town in Norfolk and I'd like to know what inhabitants of Ugley call themselves ?! How about a meeting of the Ugley Town Council ? The jokes are numerous and I'm sure the locals have heard them all.

But just sticking with rude names for this post, there is a small group of "T" towns that really should be twinned with each other. The Bush, The Furry, The Knob and Thong seem to have been made for each other and I for one would love to see (and photograph) the "twinned with" signs at their entry points.

Slackbottom may want to get its twinning application sent off to Thong as that would be another match made in Heaven......except Heaven (and Hell) is a place in Michigan.

You wouldn't catch me swimming in Piddle River in Dorset (although it could be twinned with North Piddle in Worcestershire) but then again, despite the name, it may not even have a river. Same goes for Penistone !

Body parts and bodily functions abound in English town and village names and it does make you wonder. Of course given our long history, these words and terms probably meant something quite different back in the day.

There are loads of "bottoms" for a start. From general ones like Bedlam Bottom, Boggy Bottom, and Bottoms Fold, to more descriptive ones like Broadbottom and Hole Bottom to emotive ones like Happy Bottom and Jolly's Bottom all the way along to ones we can all identify with like Scratchy Bottom and ending with the fanciful and entirely hard to believe, Six Mile Bottom.

Ogle Close may or may not have been a haven for naturists or anyone else who liked to throw off their clothing and dance around a maypole. And no, maypole dancing is NOT what you think it is either. It's all very dignified and wholesome...although there are loads of places to stuff notes of the realm if spectators feel that way inclined.

Without going into rude details (family site and all that), every part of a man and woman's anatomy is mentioned somewhere in a town name in England. I'd love to make a sentence out of a lot of them but I really would lose visitors ! If you wanna play a game and try and devise your own town name, you can be pretty sure it already exists in merrie olde England. It sure makes for some interesting travel tales. When you talk about coming out of XXXXXX and going into YYYYYY, you'll get the idea if you insert (stop it !) many of the town names I've mentioned already.

Jeffries Passage was probably perfectly reasonable a century ago but must now get sniggers. How about Friars Entry ? Golden Balls seems like a place made for a certain footballer and so they go on.......

Of course there are hundreds of beautifully quirky town names as well and I may write a post about them sometime but before I leave the rude ones, do I have a favourite ?

Well I'm going for one that is just so "out there" that I have NO idea what the town namer was thinking. Maybe he or she, most likely he, must've been on the happy weed of the day as this is what the town was named......

......Shingaycum Wendy !

Me, I'd be out of there.


Jay at The Depp Effect said...

Ahahaa!! Very funny, and of course, quite true. We do have some corkers, don't we! And let's not even begin to talk about pairing that with anything already mentioned.

I've been quietly collecting photographs of local village names and one day hope to make a post of them. The Fens are full of the strangest of strange...

Daphne said...

In West Yorkshire is the old village of Idle, and just as you drive into the village there is a sign that announces the Idle Women's Institute. Glorious.

rhymeswithplague said...

Pennsylvania is famous for Intercourse and Blue Ball and Climax.

Anonymous said...

Both funny and interesting.... I used to work at Pity Me and even the bus drivers seemed never to tire of their quirky responses as I announced... "Pity Me please" as I stood at the top of the bus ateps....usually looking forlorn for maximum effect!

Silverback said...

Can't wait for THAT day, Jay. Love photos of the weird and odd......I have yours, remember ! ;-)

Glorious indeed, Daphne. Yes we have plenty of examples in Yorkshire.

I was tempted to include THAT sign from Lancaster County as I took my own photo when there but it was a bit too easy.....and anyway I was posting about English names.

Wonderful name, daffy, and lends itself to all sorts of smirk-inducing phrases. Btw, glad you've not really given up on your blog......unless you've changed your mind AGAIN ??!! It IS Thursday after all.

Anonymous said...

*rolls eyes*
It's still open at the moment... I think... haha

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