Fit like a’bdy *
Write a blog they said, if only I knew who they were, what were their names ?
…………if only I knew what a blog was.
Anyway, here goes, blog # 1 and thank you for tuning in, buckle up.
Irn-Bru, the soft-drink brand owned by A G Barr, aired a recent TV ad which featured a humorous take on the name “Fanny”.
The advert shows a father arriving at the hospital to see his wife and new born daughter.
The new mum declares their baby will be called Fanny, and announces her mum was called Fanny, her granny was a Fanny and the new born will be joining a long line of Fannys.
The Dad is perplexed and shocked and only the taste of Scotlands ‘other national drink’, keeps him calm. After a few scoofs** he agrees it is good to keep up tradition.
As a child I knew only of 2 real Fannys, Aunt Fanny, in Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five who is the wife of Uncle Quintin. I knew no Quintins in Aberdeen as I grew up and the other Fanny was Fanny Cradock
Fanny Cradock was the famous UK television chef who frequently appeared with her husband, Johnnie Cradock giving cookery demonstrations on TV between 1955 and 1975. Despite wishing it to be true and extensive research (thanks Mr Google) it appears to be an urban myth that during one of these TV demonstrations Johnnie declared to the viewers he ‘hoped all your doughnuts turned out like Fannys’. Fanny was at her TV height when I was a curious lad so I want this to be true and then I can blame it on my intrigue and fondness for the delicious sugar coated fried cake of sweetened dough or ‘Funcy Piece’***
In the early 70’s when this broadcast may or may not have been aired the word Fanny meant something completely different to my young boys mind. You can imagine the state I got in as I galloped into my teens and was introduced to the custard Doughnut, I could hardly contain myself but that’s for another day.
It was much later I learnt the name Fanny, according to Wikipedia is a diminutive of the French name Frances meaning free one and of the name Estefany, the Spanish version of Stephanie meaning ‘crown’
Given Scotlands historic links to France (the ‘Auld Alliance’ in 1295) and Spain (military support is recorded but closer to my heart are the Spanish sherry barrels used for hundreds of years to mature the finest Scottish national drink) perhaps I should have known more Fannies but in fairness I can’t recall many Pierres or Jose’s in my Primary school class either.
I digress, but what of a name and why are they important. How often are we informed of a new childs name and ‘think’ that doesn’t suit him or her or another generation may think they would be called after their father/mother/grandparents (like Fanny) as that’s what you do. My elderly mum often says what she thinks out loud so we don’t need to guess so much what she makes of the name anymore when a new addition is presented to the clan.
In Scotland it used to be easy, it was a case of throwing the Gaelic Mc or Mac in front of the fathers name as they both mean ‘son of’. It also became popular to put Mc or Mac in front of the fathers profession, eg Macmaster. The father would have been recognised as a master of his trade therefore the infant would have been “son of a master.” I’m sure this would have been simple and a way of recognition at the time but seems way too complicated now.
A favourite Scottish first name through the years was John, which is from Hebrew origin meaning God is Gracious. Jock is a Scottish diminutive form of John and usually a derogatory nickname given to all Scottish males, especially by our neighbours south of the border as it rhymes with Sweaty sock. In this case my Dad was a sweaty sock but also a very fine man.
A name defines the person, a name can stay with you from birth until death and beyond. When speaking of people or persons who have passed we refer to them by their given name or nickname so therefore it must be one of the most important tags anyone is given. My son is called Andrew which I think is strong and also refers to the Patron Saint of Scotland, he just wouldn’t suit Quentin.
It is popular for parents to use new names, names that define their personalities or likes of the time. I know a few Jasons and I’m sure there are quite a few Kylies around 33 years of age. Andrew could have been Kenny with a middle name of Dalglish if I’d got my way but it wouldn’t have been a unanimous choice.
For those who know me I would like to put on record my daughter is not named after a Renault Clio car advert of the mid 90’s. My other daughter is not named from the Bewitched TV series, although, like the doughnut, I found the lead character rather attractive when I was young. I will admit that my wife occasionally lives up to her name meaning ‘famous warrioress’ especially after I return home after having enjoyed one or more of my favourite whiskies, suitable matured in a sherry cask of course, again that’s for another day.
A name can define how others see us and perhaps we all prejudge someone before meeting by their given name.
As a parent we have big responsibilities so remember that bundle or bundles are a result of your union, your love and your journey so chose a name wisely with love and care.
Thanks for staying with me and feel free to tune into Blog #2, Wedding Dishes appearing at a screen near you soon.
DORIC (North East Scotland Dialect)
*Fit like a’bdy: How are you all today
*Scoof: Drink it up. Not to be confused with the similar “See it aff” which is actually the last scoof of drink left in your glass which you are challenge to drink in one gulp.
** Funcy Piece: A cake or sweet treat