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