Friday, 8 May 2009

Dear Mr Onions...

I have many weaknesses (I'm a bloke) and one of them is cricket. It was the only game I played when I was younger that I was any good at in an average sort of way. The weakness lies in not being able to turn away from the television when a test match is on. I can live without television I suspect, but I would miss the sound of leather on willow on the big screen. This opening gambit is just a link to the subject of the day (don't say in four words what you can say in a paragraph) which is surnames. England hero on his debut Graham Onions took five wickets in his maiden innings as a bowler and will have his name written in the Lord's hall of fame for all to see for a very long time.

"I became a great runner because if you're a kid in Leeds and your name is Sebastian, you've got to be a great runner." Sebastian Coe, Athlete

Graham doesn't use an alternative of how to say the name of the faithful
British favourite vegetable - the onion. He could use the pronunciation 'Oh - nye - ons,' but he is proud of his name. If he was bullied because of it when he was a child, he is surely sticking his tongue out at his detractors now - answering them with his abilities while representing his country at the highest level.

I was trying to think of some good Yorkshire names that I grew up with at a time when the population was less transient - didn't need to move around because jobs were plentiful and local. I can remember that in the early sixties if you didn't stay in your home town, you moved for a better job or stayed in your university town, or joined the armed forces or met a loved one and moved away to marry. Up here we tend to be a bit parochial. How about '
Backhouse' as a good Yorkshire name, and I always imagined 'Arkwright' was local to us - and memories of Ronnie Barker's formidable shopkeeper; sadly such a Yorkshire sounding name hails from our rivals in Lancashire. 'Wasling' was a common one where I came from in East Yorkshire with the top three names: Smith, Green and Roberts. Thwaite is another local to Yorkshire.

I was always told there all surnames derived from four sources: place where you came from; occupation; 'son of'; and nicknames. I used to do loads of family history transcriptions of old parish registers onto computer and I remember some corkers: How about one woman I recorded who was a single mother in the eighteenth century called 'Whalebelly'. 'Smellie' was another common one and 'Death,' often written De'ath and pronounced 'Dee- ath,' was not unusual.

Would you be interested to know that according to one quality daily paper, traditional surnames are disappearing as people change unpopular surnames and some of the most popular in Britain today are Chinese.

Ah well the weekend is upon us dear reader of blogs. Nothing too exciting planned outside because the weather is not forecast to be decent, but I have acquired a second hand treadmill to help with the diet (I could never eat a whole on all at once), so I'll no doubt end up exhausted and something will end up getting sprained no doubt. I'll have to warm up like a premiership footballer; I saw Chelsea's
Drogba do something different this week after his team's defeat at Stamford Bridge - I'll go and find a referee and swear at him while waving my hands excitedly - that should do it! If I did, I'd deserve to be locked up - so did Drogba!

Legendary Liverpool FC manager Bill Shankly once said to a player in answer to a question about how to perform in front of goal, "Look, if you're in the penalty area son and aren't quite sure what to do with the ball, just stick it in their net and we'll discuss your options later." Wise man.

Have a great weekend,

Chat Soon,


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