Sunday, 18 April 2010

What's in a name?/one day to go...

There has been a certain amount of speculation as to why I chose the name 'Bertie' for my VERY SOON to be arriving wire-haired fox terrier puppy.

It's been great fun finding out what people associate with the name. Well at least it was until my elderly mother got on the case....

I can now exclusively reveal that Bertie is in fact NOT named after our King Edward VII (fine chap though he was, and on the throne at the time when my house in Aberdeen was built). Nor was I thinking of the precocious little boy in Alexander McCall Smith's novel '44 Scotland Street' (I rather doubt that my little pup will master either the saxophone or the Italian language by age 5). And I can absolutely promise a certain very good friend and housemate that I hold no special affection for the former prime-minister of Ireland, Bertie Ahern!

You know how it is that it's never hard to read the expression on your mother's face, however much she might be trying to conceal it.... It took about a nano-second to detect that my mum was, well, how to put it gently, lukewarm about the name I chose for the new pup. It took a little while longer to find out why.

Before my stay with my parents last week, I had never heard of one 'Bertie Bellamy', cousin of my maternal grandmother Lucy Hargreaves (nee Bellamy). This side of the family lived in Castleford, South Yorkshire, and owned a factory which produced liquorice allsorts and 'Pomfret cakes'. My great great grandfather Joseph started up the business, 'Bellamy's', which then was passed on to his son Arthur, brother of my great grandfather. Arthur was unpopular, as was his son Bertie. My grandfather Francis Hargreaves, on marriage to my granny, gave up a good job as an analyst for the Coal Board to join his wife's family business, but was never happy, considering himself to have been unfairly treated by both Arthur and Bertie...A fact that my mother remembers well.

Oh dear.

(You could still buy Bellamy's pomfret cakes when I was very young, but the factory was sold to Mackintosh's some time in the late 1960's).

So this is Bertie's first gift to me - a snippet of family history that would have otherwise been lost.

And believe it or not, my childhood pet, a guinea pig who lived to the grand old age of eight years old, was named 'Arthur' by my brother and me.

As for the real reason for the name Bertie? Well I decided against an overtly Scottish name, to avoid confusion with all the Scotties, Westies and Cairns in these parts. The slightly comic appearance of the wire-haired fox terrier seemed to demand a comical name. Why would I look further than to one of our finest writers, P.G. Wodehouse? Just a couple of friends did guess correctly, it was of course always the wonderful character Bertie Wooster that I had in mind.

Does this cast me in the role of Jeeves, I wonder? And need I worry about the sort of friends my Bertie will make?

Less than 24 hours to go now.
Expect some photos (of course) and an announcement about a new blog around midweek.

22 comments:

Jake of Florida said...

Comical appearance??? Us??? You must have some other adorable square jokesters in mind!!!!

Betie for me was Alexander McCall Smith's Bertie, the precocious but much inhibited by his overbearing mother young lad. Since I enjoy all of the author's books -- I wasn't too concerned especially as none of us foxies will let our moms tell us what to do -- BOL.

We're excited! If you haven't already, check out Butchy and Snickers's blog to see Katie, the young wire lady sure to become Bertie's best pal.

Jake and Just Harry

Stella said...

Oh dear me! And I was so certain he was named for Elizabeth 2's Dad!
I saw a movie called Bertie and Elizabeth a while back :'In 1920, Elizabeth Bowes-Lytton accepted a dance from the Duke of York ("Bertie" to his royal friends). Soon, they fell in love, married and had children. But when Bertie's brother, Edward VIII, abdicated, Bertie improbably ascended to the throne of England -- something he never planned on doing -- as George VI. This is the story of the couple's life together as king and queen of England, ruling thoughtfully through eras of peace and world war.' This is quite a lovely story to watch, a little war,but the kids can watch it too.

But Bertie Wooster! I am quite shocked, Gail, and wonder if you plan to give him Wooster's second name, Wilberforce? Whatever will be, I only hope your Bertie, doesn't turn into a lazy, drunken man about town like his namesake!

LOLing and wishing you the very best,

Jo and Stella

Martha and Bailey said...

I am just soooo excited for you! I love the name Bertie - it conjuers up a character. My maternal grandfather was called Albert, known as Bertie to the family. He was a very small wiry man who lived until he was nearly a hundred!
He lived in England and used to visit us in Scotland. He was VERY careful with his money and refused to buy new clothes from around the age of 75 yrs of age fearing he would not get the use of them!
I have lots of fond memories - all of which make me laugh - I know my mother, had she still been alive, would have given you the same look as your own mother re the name!
I hope you have hidden all your favourite shoes and bags in readiness for the new arrival!
V x

Angus said...

You must be so excited. Bertie is a wonderful name - very Glamis. You might remember Bertie Bassett the ever popular Liquorice Allsort figure. At the same time as Barr's IrnBru was popularising its jingle - "are you feeling thirsty, I am thirsty too" Bertie was coming out with his famous slogan ' 'One too many and you might turn Bertie'. Do they still make Liquorice Allsorts today? Have a wonderful day tomorrow in Turriff.

Asta said...

Gail
Oh my dog
Am I the only one? I immediately thought of Bewtie woostew, heheh
I guess it's because I'm a silly wiwe myself and he ppeals to me (One of my wheeley bwuvvews is named that too )

I hope you got my welcome cawd.I am so looking fowawd to getting to know the little tyke.

Mommi says, she would have gladly staye longew, ashes and all. She would have liked to visit and get to know mowe of my fwiends
smoochie kisses
ASTA

Jazzi said...

Berti sounds like a great name. It seems like an adventureous,strong minded, happy and yet fun loving name to me. I bet he will be sophisticated kinda like Hamish. We cant wait for first pictures.

Smiles
Jazzi

houndstooth said...

I enjoyed all the wrong guesses about where his name came from. I hope the two of you will be very happy together, even if he ends up thinking his name is "No"!

Eric said...

I love the name Bertie! Perfect for him. Once your Mom knows this Bertie I reckon she will too. Course he's already a talking point and the family history was fun. Never tried Liquorice All sorts but the squares like the round pink and yellow ones best.

Course I guessed where his name came from, having Bertie, Jeeves and Wooster on the "Eric forbidden" high up shelf. I hope Bertie doesn't have one of those...

Excited wiry wags, Eric xx

MISTAYA said...

What a wonderful read your family history was. Thank you for sharing that with us. And I am looking forward to seeing all the adventures with your little Bertie in the coming days. What a precious gift little puppies are. Hugs and wags, Mistaya... and her mom Gail..soon to be Gail from Aberdeen... Washington!!!

Benny and Lily said...

We just love the name Bertie..and a good story
Benny & Lily

Kira The BeaWootiful said...

Woooos!Sorry we have not been around fur a few days, we are still catching up in the blogworld..
We love the name Bertie! I am sure it fits him to a "T"! We still wonder about how woo decided on Hamish's name, was that in a previous post we missed. Mum still thinks he was named after Hamish MacBeth....yes, she still wants a little westie...

~husky kisses~
-Kira The BeaWootiful

Gail in Aberdeen said...

A quick word on Hamish's name - all I know is that he was given it by his previous owner. And that every other Westie in Aberdeen (and there are a lot of them) is also called Hamish!

Gail in Aberdeen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Butchy, Ruby, Sylvester, Scuby, Hootie said...

We sure like the name Bertie! Pawfect fit for a little wire fox terrier. Thanks for sharing the family story, very interesting. Katie is very excited to meet Bertie, hehehehe! She is so adorable. She even slept through her first night in her crate without making a peep.
Wirey Hugs, Purrz & Licks,
Butchy, Katie, Ruby, Sylvester, Scuby & Hootie

Angus said...

Monday morning and I find myself thinking of the excitement that must be welling up in Aberdeen ahead of the trip to Turriff. Have a magical time - it's not every day that you can enjoy the simple untrammeled delight of welcoming a new family companion! Are you asking the neighbours to save old copies of the P&J for the floor?

MAX said...

Hey there Gail
No matter what the name's origin, I am sure that he'll build up a bit of a reputation himself...which might go down in the annuls of history.
Can't wait to see! Perhaps you have him already....?
Lotsaluv
MAXMOM IN SA

Scruffy, Lacie and Stanley's Place said...

Oh my....I always thought Scruffy looked funny...I, of course, am always pawfectly adorable...but I wouldn't be Miss Lacie Teacakes, if otherwise!

Bertie is a pawfect name for the little chap!!

WE CAN'T WAIT TO SEE PICTURES!!

Here's hoping for a puppy-filled peace-filled QUIET first night...or maybe second and third night...it can take a while!!!

Kisses and terrier love,

Laciegirlie and her bros....

Agatha and Archie said...

WELLLLLLLLLL we came right over after Eric told us to!!!!!! WE are Agatha and Archie 2 naughty little wirey foxies from Boston!!! OF COURSE we knew RIGHT AWAY where the name came from as we were named after the infamous Aunt Agatha and my brother after Archie Moffam from the Indiscretions of Archie!!! So we just have TONS in common( Archie says to tell you that he even has the same orange ball.....) WE are very much looking forward to all of your naughty adventures!!!!! Love Agatha and Archie( also know as A+A)

Sally said...

Hi!! Eric sent us over - wanted to welcome you too! Can't wait to read about all your adventures - we love the name Bertie - D thinks it is a perfect name for a Wirey fellow - lots of licks
Sally and Paddy

GRAÇA said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tammy Sexton said...

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Anoush said...

Betie para mí fue Bertie de Alexander McCall Smith, el precoz pero mucho inhibida por su dominante madre joven muchacho. Desde disfruto todos los libros del autor - Yo no estaba muy preocupado sobre todo porque ninguno de nosotros foxies dejarán nuestras mamás nos dicen qué hacer.