As you may know, Nottingham used to be called Snottingham but they changed the name. Lots of places used to have rude names; the latest one to change is Fucking in Austria – probably pronounced ‘foo-king’ – where they got fed up with tourists taking selfies with the road signs.
But we don’t need to descend to that level; there are some delightful place names in Britain. Without having to travel too far I can visit Frisby on the Wreake, Osgathorpe, Sinope, Sheepy Magna and Barton in the Beans. Then there are the unpronounceable places, such as Cogenhoe (Cook-no) and Bozeat (Bodgit) in Northants. Cornwall boasts some even better villages, such as Zennor (where D H Lawrence once holed up), Bosporthennis and Cripplesease (there must be a history behind that last one.) And let us not forget Wetwang which Douglas Adams immortalised in The Meaning of Liff as ‘a moist penis.’
But I began with Nottingham because it is associated with snot, firstly because of the original name and secondly because of the advert where a man bunged up with cold asks for a ‘secodd glass returd to Dottighab.’ I think the advert is for Tunes, those square menthol sweets that were a nastier version of Spangles; anyway, he pops one in his mouth and magically his nostrils clear allowing him to intone: ‘A second class return to Nottingham please.’
I don’t know if Tunes still exist but even if they did I wouldn’t bother because they never had that effect on me. With a cold such as the one inhabiting my sinuses at the moment I generally take ginger tea with turmeric or honey and lemon, plus echinacea – except that we’re out of echinacea at the moment, so I’m having to take hypericum. Not to mention sitting around and groaning a lot. The groaning is very important.
Hopefully I’ll be better tomorrow.