I’m not completely convinced that the air conditioner in my office wasn’t leaking some sort of gas today and making me a little giddy but I laughed every time I opened up my email and saw an email from Cockermouth. I could barely hold myself together when I was then sent a link to the Cockermouth Rock Festival, which is locally known as CockRock. I do in fact have the sense of humour of a 12-year-old boy.
Childish, I know – but it brightened up my day.
Working in the UK travel industry you come across an awful lot of unusual and amusing place-name. ‘Cock’ seems to be a particularly popular addition to place names here – including the aforementioned Cockermouth, as well as other delights such as Cock Law, Cockintake, Cockplay, and Cockshot to name but a few.
I do come from a place with its own grand selection of snicker inducing localities, with Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! and Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump being two of my particular favourites (though Dildo, Newfoundland is another popular choice).
There is however, something so quaint about such place names in Britain and the UK. These unfortunately named places are generally small towns or villages and I picture little old ladies wandering the streets of Bishops Itchington, Staffordshire, or Flesh Shank, Northumberland completely oblivious to the hilarity of their home town’s title. This is, I’m sure, a complete fantasy but I’d prefer to keep it if you don’t mind.
I’m sure a typonomist could explain the tradition quite succinctly, explaining that words like ‘Cock’ can be translated from Olde English to mean hamlet of village, but who wants that really? That makes the whole thing boring and I think we can all use a little potty humour in our lives from time to time.
I was happy to discover that I’m not the only one with a pretty basic sense of humour when I found this cloud map on Anglotopia.
We can’t all have the wit and wisdom of Stephen Fry and I’m not ashamed to admit it!
As an addendum, Damian would like to add his own personal favourite from his travels in Ireland – Muff, County Donegal. In itself this is only midly amusing, but when you add the fact that the town has a diving club, yes that’s right, the Muff Diving Club, one wonders what kind of non-aquatic clientele they attract!