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[personal profile] shewhomust
Today is / would have been Woody Guthrie's 100th birthday. Sing something appropriate.

C'est aussi, bien entendu, la fête nationale. Joyeuse fête aux lecteurs francophones.

It's Durham Big Meeting day, too. We went down to the racecourse to see the banners and hear the bands - and the speeches. Much anticipation about Ed Milliband's speech, after all the years when the leader of the Labour Party distanced himself from the Gala; it was pretty anodyne, promising good things when he is Prime Minister but without undertaking to be more active in opposition. Good speeches from Tom Watson and Mark Serwotka, and we managed to distract H. from saving the NHS for long enough to have a drink with her and [ profile] frumpo.

I'd prefer to draw a veil over the apricot and oatmeal bread; it was an improvisation too far, and I clearly need to go back to following recipes for a bit. For reference, though: the one thing I was worried about - using dried apricots which had been soaked for quite a long time - was the one thing that worked fine.

I have asked before whether Charlotte Bronte actually invented the use of Shirley as a girl's name (names being one of the topics about which it is fruitless to interrogate the internet, which will deluge you in unreliable information). Here's the relevant passage (from her novel Shirley, of course): "Shirley Keeldar (she had no Christian name but Shirley: her parents, who had wished to have a son, finding that, after eight years of marriage, Providence had granted them only a daughter, bestowed on her the same masculine family cognomen they would have bestowed on a boy, if with a boy they had been blessed)..." I was reminded of this by a passage in Elsie J. Oxenham's Robins in the Abbey (about which, very much more in due course). Maidlin tells Joy that their friend Cicely ('the President') has had a baby daughter, and named her Shirley: "'Shirley is quite a usual name for girls now,' Maidlin observed. 'But in this case Cicely means it to stand for you and Joan.'" Joy responds in surprise that Shirley was indeed her maiden name and that of her cousin Joan. This suggests that by 'now' (1947) the given name is seen as only coincidentally the same as the surname.

Date: 2012-07-14 06:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
In the '70s there was a popular British wrestler known as Big Daddy, whose real name was Shirley Crabtree. Which is the only instance I've come across in my lifetime, of the name still in masculine usage.

Date: 2012-07-14 07:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Indeed: Shirley Crabtree and Marion Morrison, two charming ladies...

Date: 2012-07-14 06:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
If you want good info on the history of names, [ profile] hrj, whom you may have met at our wedding, wrote the baby names book for the Dummies series. She knows a lot about the history of names.

Date: 2012-07-14 07:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
If you get a chance, please do ask her about Shirley; I'd love to know for certain!

Date: 2012-07-16 07:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I am being serious. And don't call me...

Obscure movie quotes FTW. Or maybe not so obscure. ;-)

J and I were feeling very nostalgic about missing the Gala Festivities and the parade and the OMG SEA OF PEOPLE. Our elderly neighbours emailed us to tell us about it (that in itself is notable; they rarely turn on a computer) and it was lovely to hear from them. I think that waking up to a marching band right outside our window on Hallgarth St might have been one of my favorite memories of living over there.

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