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Okay, now I’m pretty sure somebody is blowing smoke up my butt

When we drive around Britain, I often accuse Uncle B of sending a PR team from Disney on ahead to change all the placenames to painfully quaint things like Chipping Sodbury and Tincleton (I swear some day I’m going to stop and have tea in Pratt’s Bottom). Because sometimes Brits really do make shit up, and they do it with such maddeningly straight faces, it’s damn near impenetrable.

So when one of the neighbors told me he used to go Dwile Flonking at a local pub, I naturally gave him the hairy eyeball. As described, it involves dancing in a ring around a man trying to hit you with a rag soaked in beer dregs.

Turns out, Dwile Flonking has a Wikipedia entry. Huh.

A ‘dull witted person’ is chosen as the referee or ‘jobanowl’ and the two teams decide who flonks first by tossing a sugar beet. The game begins when the jobanowl shouts “Here y’go t’gither!”

The non-flonking team joins hands and dances in a circle around a member of the flonking team, a practice known as ‘girting’. The flonker dips his dwile-tipped ‘driveller’ (a pole 2–3 ft long and made from hazel or yew) into a bucket of beer, then spins around in the opposite direction to the girters and flonks his dwile at them.

If the dwile misses completely it is known as a ‘swadger’ or a ‘swage’. When this happens the flonker must drink the contents of an ale-filled ‘gazunder’ (chamber pot (‘goes-under’ the bed)) before the wet dwile has passed from hand to hand along the line of now non-girting girters chanting the ancient ceremonial mantra of “pot pot pot”.

A full game comprises four ‘snurds’, each snurd being one team taking a turn at girting.

Well, actually, as it turns out, no. Despite a solemn and ancient pedigree, the game was almost certainly made up by two printing apprentices in 1966. But, hey, getting on for fifty years — pretty darned ancient to an American, I guess.


Comment from sandman says nothing to see here
Time: January 11, 2012, 11:45 pm

First! And puzzled. Do our Brit cousins specialize in weird? Ringo Starr, punk rock, Piers Morgan…add this to the heap.

This one is beyond me.


Comment from Mojo
Time: January 12, 2012, 12:12 am

Grand Fizbin? On a Tuesday?

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: January 12, 2012, 12:19 am

Guilty as charged, yer honour?

So, chaps, who’s going in at silly mid-off against the Aussies? Oh, and I hear Warne has a new googly variant up his sleeve…..

And in case any of you heathens doubt me, a googly is an off-break bowled with a leg-break action.

That’s cricket, by the way. So now you know.

Comment from steve
Time: January 12, 2012, 1:16 am

Don’t be a luddy-duddy! Don’t be a mooncalf! Don’t be a jabbernowl! You’re not those, are you? — Egbert Souse

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: January 12, 2012, 1:19 am

But, hey, getting on for fifty years — pretty darned ancient to an American, I guess.

Or to any denizen of the online community. . .

Comment from Mono The Elder
Time: January 12, 2012, 1:22 am

Hey, if you visit Drudge report, Don’t its being actively monitered by the U.S. government and they say they WILL retain the information collected.

Comment from Feynmangroupie
Time: January 12, 2012, 1:34 am

I’m wondering if those printing apprentices might have stumbled across a discarded first draft of Lewis Carroll’s “Jaberwocky,” or possibly Dr. Seuss.

Comment from Redd
Time: January 12, 2012, 1:34 am

I get a kick out of all the weird place names in the UK.

Comment from Alice
Time: January 12, 2012, 1:48 am

I have a particular fondness for Oswaldtwistle (pronounced “Ozzle Twissel”) and the nearby River Ribble.

Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: January 12, 2012, 1:57 am

Tincleton – about 8 km east of Dorchester, and 3 km south of Puddletown. Which is across the Piddle River from Puddletown Down, and downstream of Piddlehinton and Piddletrenthide. Which are southwest of Plush and Folly.

Or if one goes 8 km south, near the Channel, one can visit Poxwell.

Ah, the charming English countryside!

Comment from Tesla
Time: January 12, 2012, 3:15 am

Anybody up for a game of 43-Man Squamish?

Comment from Allen
Time: January 12, 2012, 3:17 am

Well we did invent a game once. “Ring the Texan” it twas. When I still had the knees I was born with, I played rugby. After every match there was the party… At any rate we had a young Texan newbie on the team, so the game was to see who could throw a tire over him, from the roof, yes, large automobile tires.

Anywho, the game was over when the tires thrown over the Texan exceeded his height. Last team to “Ring the Texan” over his head won.

Of course the hazard was not only to the Texan, quite a few players fell of the roof in a drunk, roaring with laughter, moment.

Comment from catnip
Time: January 12, 2012, 4:22 am

The “gazunder” is an apt word, I think. although it may be verging on obsolete. For as long as I can remember, our family has referred to shopping cart corrals as “gazintas.”

Comment from mojo
Time: January 12, 2012, 6:10 am

Nah, a “gazinta” is division: “Two gazinta six tree times”

Comment from Mark T
Time: January 12, 2012, 8:47 am

I think y’all been sprayin’ your minge with the hairdryers too much.

Comment from David Gillies
Time: January 12, 2012, 5:23 pm

As Uncle B. adumbrates, a googly (also known as a bosie) is a spin bowling technique in which the ball breaks from off to leg, but it should be noted in the interests of strict accuracy that it is bowled by a right-handed bowler. The corresponding off-leg break bowled by a left-handed bowler is known as a chinaman.

Let’s not forget oddities like like the Projapoti, vulnerable as it is to a Marillier shot or paddle scoop, but if you hoik it you run the risk of falling victim to one of the guys in the slips cordon.

Comment from OldYank
Time: January 12, 2012, 6:35 pm

When I lived in Blighty (the heart of East Anglia, to be exact) I recall settlements (they were too small to be villages) with names like Prickwillow. They do speak English, not American. There’s a cluster of villages a short ox cart ride west of Bury St. Edmunds. It’s called Fornham followed by some saint’s name. After a few iterations of that somebody decided that Fornham All Saints was probably a more efficient way to go.

Comment from enter sandman, nothing to see here
Time: January 12, 2012, 6:45 pm

Well i always liked the name Chipping Norton. Just kinda cool.

Comment from Deborah
Time: January 12, 2012, 8:50 pm

And then of course, dotted all over the maps of the English countryside, are tiny annotations that say, “Standing Stones.”

Comment from mojo
Time: January 12, 2012, 9:05 pm

“The consensus in the village is that there is a perfectly innocent reason for the name “Crapstone,” though it is unclear what that is. Theories put forth by various residents the other day included “place of the rocks,” “a kind of twisting of the original word,” “something to do with the soil” and “something to do with Sir Francis Drake,” who lived nearby.”

Comment from mojo
Time: January 12, 2012, 9:07 pm



Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: January 12, 2012, 9:22 pm

Comment from Mojo
Time: January 12, 2012, 12:12 am

Grand Fizbin? On a Tuesday?

That’s just what I was going to say. But this “game” predates that Star Trek ep by a year or more, so we can’t claim they were inspired by Capt. Kirk’s improvisation (one of the funniest scenes ever on TV, I think).

As for “Chipping Norton,” I get an image of Ralph Kramden inserting a locator device into his pal Ed’s ear. . . .

Comment from mojo
Time: January 12, 2012, 10:17 pm

That, or Scotty getting pissed with the extra-galactic alien.

“What is it?”
“It’s… It’s… Well, it’s green.”

Comment from gebrauchshund
Time: January 12, 2012, 10:45 pm

My personal favorite place name in the UK is the “Moss of Barmuckity”.

It reminds me of the infamous “Chicken of Bristol”.

Comment from Sven in Colorado
Time: January 12, 2012, 11:37 pm


Any culture based on two liddle islands, what gives us Royals protected by Beefeaters, Black Watch, Coldstream Guard and processed in by Beadles, Vergers and a full procession of sub-deacons, deacons, priests, canons and bishops…all to the strains of Handel sung by single sex choirs.. *AND* toss in Lewis Caroll, Dr. Who, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Wallace and Gromit, St. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band, The “Glorious Twelfth” (that’s an upland Scot tradition), games like Cricket and Rugby and waxed cotton wadered wearing men standing in the middle of streams waving long sticks of tapered bamboo strung with cat gut and linen lines with flies to tease the trout and salmon… not to mention elebenty thousand variants of ale and whiskey is bound to produce a bit of quirky place names.


GAWD I do love the Brits and Welsh, Scots and Irish! I wants me a big breakfast of Bangers and Mash and Smoked Kippers, buttered toast with Lyle’s Golden Syrup.

Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: January 13, 2012, 12:37 am

“Spring is what winta
Always gazinta.”

— Ogden Nash, “The Passionate Poet and the Dispassionate Public”

Comment from memomachine
Time: January 22, 2012, 2:55 am

Could be worse. Imagine if Lea & Perrins had been located in Pratt’s Bottom instead of Worchestershire.

We’d be calling it “Pratt’s Bottom Sauce” or more likely “bottom sauce”.

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