Thursday, February 18, 2010

What's in a name?

I don't quite know why my infantile funny bone so enjoyed the debate over a place name in Yorkshire. Perhaps it is because I have been watching videos of Open All Hours, and could imagine the reverend tones with which the debate over Tickle Cock Bridge must have been conducted.

It took me back to my childhood, when we might find names like Christmas Pie amusing and names like Wyre Piddle laugh-out-loud hilarious. Indeed we would take a detour to go through it.

There are, after all a plethora of amusing names across Britain, from Middle Wallop, to Lower Slaughter to the Paps of Jura (though why there are three of those, and only one Pap of Glencoe has always puzzled me). From Muckle Flugga to Mousehole, the UK is filled with the bizarre, the odd and the downright filthy. Indeed the whole world- from Arsoli in Italy to Wankie in Zimbabwe- is your oyster when it comes to place name filth.

Of course street names too have their fair share of the curious, and Tickle Cock Bridge is only the latest in a long line of -shall we say allusive- street names. It is a fair bet that any Maiden Lane in the Kingdom once had a riper moniker- but Grape Lane in York is probably my favourite.

Imagine trying to give Gropecunt Lane as your address these days.

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