Monthly Archives: October 2011

IncomPARRable Asda

Please note, Asda voiceover person, that it’s pronounced COMP-rable and not com-PARR-able.

There’s A Moussa in the Hoossa

Like most people, I have an earworm most days. Normally it’s a tune. Usually a tune I can’t stand. But today it’s a name –
Moussa Koussa
I can’t shake Moussa off. I’ve tried other names, such as Evonne Goolagong, Moon Unit Zappa and Megawati Sukarnoputri, but they’re not doing the trick.
Any suggestions gratefully received. I just need a name that will get Moussa out of my head. Thank you.

The Great Air Freshener of Huddersfield

Thank you to my friend Loz for alerting me to the fact that I’m not the only person with a frightening air freshener.
Apparently, he was on Huddersfield railway station recently and noticed what appeared to be smoke billowing from an orifice.
But, on taking a closer look, he noticed a sign declaring –
There is not a fire. This is an air-freshening system.

New Pet


The new pet arrived last week and lives on a shelf in the kitchen.
It is ….. an Air Wick Freshmatic – an automatic air freshener, which sprays once every 18 minutes and also when you walk through the door.
At first, I jumped every time it did it. And Boll thought it was a hissing cat. But we’ve got used to it now. And I quite like being welcomed with a friendly squirt whenever I come home.

The Verity Of Werritty

Am I alone in finding two things extremely odd in the Fox-Werritty story? (1) The top of Liam Fox’s head is alarmingly flat and (2) Werritty’s surely not a real surname.

Made-up surnames can fool you though. I did think ‘Walliams’ was real, until I read that he just replaced the first ‘i’ with an ‘a’. And novelists shift letters around quite a lot to create distinctive surnames. In a novel, I’d probably be Ian Petcock or something.

I used to think De’Ath was a made-up name, disguising the actual surname Death. But it turns out that D’Eath, D’Eathe, De’Ath and D’Aeth have been around for centuries.

There was an actual surname ‘Death’ though, and it had an interesting provenance – reserved for people who played the character of Death in medieval pageants and mystery plays. That’s where King, Knight and Angel come from too.

Meanwhile in the Netherlands, they didn’t really bother with surnames until 1811, when Napoleon made them a legal requirement. The Dutch thought this was just a short-term thing, so they gave themselves comedy names such as Mr Lunatic Asylum (Gekkehuis). But the names stuck, as you then had to get a royal decree to change them.

Changing your surname’s pretty easy in Sweden, and that’s led to a recent trend for hippydippy designer surnames such as Flowerland and Swedenrose.

In South Africa, there’s a Zulu tradition of giving a first name which relates to a nearby contemporary event. So, following the 2010 World Cup, there are toddlers running round with names such as Kickoff Shabala, Tickets Ngubane, Substitute Shandu, Halftime Hlatshwayo, Stadium Gumbi and poor little Offside Mchunu.

Who Does Peter Ruffle?


And another thing, while I’m on about names …
I’m a big fan of ubiquitous Hertford celebrity Peter Ruffles … and of his surname, as I’ve always been fond of names which could be verbs.
I’m sure Peter rarely ruffles. But some verb surnames do fit their owners. Larry Speakes, for instance, speaks quite a lot. He was President Reagan’s White House spokesperson.
More comedy verb names –
George Burns
Bill Withers
Tom Waits
Jeremy Irons and
Britney Spears

Hertford Heath – X Factor Meets X Files


The 2011 X Factor contestants are living a mere mile from here. Yes. Worrying. They’ve even been sighted in Hertford Tesco, as has Gary Barlow.

They’re staying in the ‘swanky’ (AKA hideous) £6 million Connaught House in Hobby Horse Wood near Hertford Heath. And they claim it’s haunted, despite the fact that it’s brand new and looks like it was designed by Wayne Rooney.


Connaught House – nice, if you’re a footballer

Pin-up of the Week


This week’s pin-up is a Japanese Shih Tzu wearing a protective pet raincoat. Costing up to £82, these animal anoraks are de rigeur this season for pampered poochlets in Japan. They’re thought to protect them against the nuclear rain which has followed the Fukushima accident.

Bolly – The New Topcat?

On Saturday morning, I tweeted –

I’d like to thank my howling cat, my clattering neighbour and the yelling blackbird outside, for their services to the alarm clock industry.

And, within minutes, my cartoonist friend Penny (@pennybluebean) sent me this fantastic pic. I now have it on my bedroom wall.
I love the idea of instant illustrations of tweets. Follow her on Twitter and perhaps she’ll illustrate you too. You can also see more of her tubby cat pics, which I like to think are inspired by the Boll.

Pin-Up of the Week


This week’s pin-up is Memebon, who lives in Japan. He’s now a grown-up and has his very own Memebon Website