Time up – please stop writing and put your pens down.
Well now – fascinating. Thanks again, ever so much, to everyone who entered into the spirit of the thing and submitted a name for my new ECW siege mortar – I had a lot of fun reading through them, though it certainly hasn’t been easy coming up with a winner.
There were so many really good names suggested – including a wealth of variations on the theme of large or otherwise formidable ladies, with excellent descriptions and classical references.
Pjotr suggested Big Mathilde (a B-List entry – he didn’t want the prize), and I voted this the best of the B-Listers, largely because of his story and supporting photo of a statue in Ostend which is officially called The Sea, but is universally known as Dikke Mathilde. Here she is…
Special mention – among so many other good suggestions - goes to Bloggerator for Sharp Rejoinder (a pleasing tribute to Iain Banks, apart from being a good name in its own right), to Steve for Apollyon (the angel of destruction from The Pilgrim’s Progress, which has a good, near-contemporary relevance apart from the classical kudos) and – especially – to David Crook’s splendid Fuggle’s Thunder, which is based on the engrossing but unlikely tale of the famed dyspepsia of a blacksmith named Harbottle Fuggle. I also liked Evan’s God’s Hammer, and Peter’s graceful Swan of Lonsdale, which ties in nicely with my north-western campaign plans, but is maybe an odd name for a gun. I was intrigued by Vance’s Are You Sure?, and there were a couple of other ideas which may have owed something to chemical stimulants, but all very entertaining.
After much pondering, I decided I like Ray’s The Clapperdudgeon best, mainly because it is such a fantastic word. A clapperdudgeon, it seems, was a king of the beggars – there is also a theory that the word relates to a specialist beggar who treated his skin with arsenic, to produce wounds akin to leprosy and thus increase his market value. Too gory for me – the King of Beggars will do nicely and – as Ray suggests – old Charles I might be just the boy!
Pjotr and I had a brief email exchange on the topic of why the default personality should be female for an object whose physical form would appear, intuitively, to be sort of male (you would think). Pjotr’s view, with which I think I agree, is that there might be a certain reluctance for rough servicemen to say much about working with, handling or even admiring Big Archie (for example) – traditional military homophobia would make mastery of large females much less embarrassing. Let’s move on, quickly.
Congratulations and best wishes to Uncle Ray. Thanks again, everyone.