Casa Rosales

Casa Rosales

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

What's in a name?

I was thinking about my friend, Jenny - musician, nurse, baker, card-maker, creator and inspirer inspirator .. (inspiring person doesn't do it but you know what I mean - was IS the word?) a person with much 'can do' about her. I was thinking about the very first day we met, which was at a band rehearsal in Leeds many years ago. It was the day I joined the band and Jenny came in with a brand new bass clarinet of which she was very proud. Jenny always calls a spade a spade and she introduced me to her new instrument by calling it 'the dog's bollocks of bass clarinets' - by which, by her tone of voice, I assumed she meant something good. Anyway, from that moment on, we were friends and the bass was always called 'DB'.

In more recent years, Jenny has moved on to playing saxophone - progressively bigger ones. Now she's playing a new and rather special baritone saxophone*. 'DB' would be a pretty good name for this monster but for some reason Jenny requested her friends to think of a name for it. The name needed to be.. and I quote - something 'French and trollopy'. I felt game for the challenge and put my mind to work but nothing right would come. I didn't like any of the names that others thought of either. So I tried to forget about it. And isn't it strange how the mind keeps on working in the background? Just before I went to bed that evening, like a lightbulb going on, it came to me - unsummoned unsummonsed  (why today of all days can't I find the right words??) without being summoned .. and I was so pleased, I can't tell you! I giggled my way to Facebook and ignoring the other suggestions, such as Emmanuelle, Fifi and Annette von Parpsalot (which is funny but not very French) proudly announced the name of the new sax - Bari Antoinette!! It is perfect and I'm still pleased and I know Jenny likes it.

And this thought led me on to other cherished memories relating to words and names. Around the time I met Jenny - a musical, single, indulgent time - I had a friend who was planning on opening a music shop and I was charged with the task of selecting a name. On a visit to my sister's, I broached the subject with my brother-in-law, Rob - who loves words, puns, verbal images and the like - and we sat down together to try and think of something. It took him less than 30 seconds once he had the brief - a name for a shop that sells woodwind instruments. How could anyone not think of 'Windstruments'? Perfect. And now, confession time, when I went back to my friend and presented the name - I never actually said that Rob had thought of it. The name proved so popular with everyone and they all thought I was so clever that I forgot to mention where it really came from. Sorry Rob!

In deference to Rob's wit, can I share another memorable wordy exchange I had with him one day. Rob's a keen cook and bakes delicious, exciting bread - yes, exciting! This particular day's cooking involved some mozzarella cheese. The exchange went something like this :  

Rob: Bloody expensive, this mozzarella.
Me: It's probably bufalo.
Rob: Buffalo! Don't fancy milking one of those. Didn't think there were buffalo in Italy.
Me: Yes - bufalo - only one 'f' in bufalo  - in Italy.

Rob......(just a moments pause) No wonder it's so effin' expensive.

His timing was perfect and the conversation is captured in my mind like an excellent comedy sketch forever. Thanks Rob.

And on the subject of words and things that make me laugh about words - when I first met Cesar, his command of the English language was still in development, though boy, was he game to practice and try out what little he had! He was enthusiastic and confident and wholly unembarrassed which resulted in some wonderful little moments. The first day we met, he and another friend of mine came back to my flat and we were talking music and Cesar got onto the subject of Beethoven. He was describing how when he listened to Beethoven's 9th he imagined " being in a chariot being pulled along by six black whores" - an image I found quite stunning - but had to ask... 'why black?'
After a little further questioning, turns out he actually meant black horses....................

He had some famous struggles with some words, such as 'crisps' and 'wasps' but my personal favourite was unbelievable, which always came out as 'unveliebavle'. And as we lay in bed last night, I was thinking about all these things and I asked him if there were any words he still struggled with in English. There was a very long pause and I thought he'd fallen asleep or couldn't be bothered to answer... then he came out with one! It was:
Supercalafragelisticexpialadotious. I laughed a lot!!

Editor's note:
* got my story wrong and put 'bass' saxophone first draft - Jen soon noticed and put me right - see comment below. Thanks Jen!


  1. Annie - I hate to be a pedant, but I can't let you mis-represent me!!! I'm afraid it's a baritone sax - hence the suitability of "bari" antoinette. I would LOVE to have a bass sax, but I think Kevin might have a few choice words to say about that - they really are big, and our house is only average sized!!
    You are right though, it is a particularly fine specimen, 1962 vintage and a beautiful silver. I'm very happy with her. She is to me, the DB of baritone saxes. (smile).

    ps - very pleased to hear about your chocolatiering... (more smiles)

  2. Jenny - got a bit carried away - it wouldn't make sense unless it was a bari, would it!! Wish you were here to chocolate with me! Love Axxx

  3. Such awesome memories of friendship and words! I also realllly like Bari Antoinette! How very French and oh so Trollopy!

  4. postscript - Madame Antoinette came back from the "menders" today (she's been for a bit of a tweaking and a-fettling), and she is even more gorgeous than she was before! It's almost like she's had her voice oiled! And she's had the sax equivalent of a chemical peel (or maybe a slight nip/tuck) and some of her minor blemishes have been ironed out, so she's looking good too. xxx

    ps wish I was chocolatiering with you too! I also wish I was brave enough to try a little on my own.... x


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