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Weaving forange, fake baseball and Blorange

Last month's stories prompted some interesting contributions from readers. Our thanks to all these correspondents:

Peter CollingwoodPeter Collingwood,
Blincoes, Newlands Lane, Nayland, Colchester, CO6 4JJ, UK.

I read your mention of the famous ketchup bottle couplet. I am a hand weaver and recently heard complaints about the aches resulting from throwing a heavy rug weaving shuttle, so parodied with

Throw, throw, the weaving shuttle
First arms will ache,
then your butt'll.

[Chuckling over this parody, we visited Peter's very interesting website. His whimsical and self-effacing autobiography tells how, after becoming a hospital doctor, he became more interested in the arcane craft of weaving. Newspapers carried the headline Doctor Changes Scalpel for Shuttle. He established his own workshop, and eventually became a world authority on this little-known art.]

John O'Brien
Subject: Rhymes for orange

When I was in Estonia a good friend persisted in pronouncing "foreign" as "forange". It was quite a common word, what with so much conversation about foreign currency and such like.

[Nice try, John, but no cigar. Forange would be pronounced with the accent on the second syllable, to rhyme with exchange rather than orange.]

Peter Collingwood, (yes, again):

There is a hill in S Wales, UK called "The Blorange" which does rhyme with orange!

We googled "Blorange mountain" and found a Welsh fashion designers' website which said Charles and Patricia Lester live at the foot of Blorange Mountain, in the valley of the river Usk near Abergavenny, Wales. Replying to our request for more details, Patricia told us the mountain was associated with two hymns written by Cecil Frances Alexander. She said:

We were told by a local historian that the writer visited our house and it was here that she wrote There is a green hill far away. I think her "green hill" is in Ireland. In another hymn, All things Bright and Beautiful, the unnamed river was the Usk and the castle was Abergavenny castle.

The "purple-headed mountain" is indeed covered in heather, but interestingly it takes on a purple hue at certain times of the day depending on the position of the sun and the atmosphere... It can have this purple colouring even at times when there is no heather.

There are more castles in this county [Monmouthshire, or Sir Fynwy in Welsh] than any other county in the British Isles. As for the rich man in his castle - he couldn't have been that rich because he could not afford to replace the roof.

However the Marquis of Abergavenny did build a "hunting folly" in the form of a castle - so Mrs Alexander might have waxed lyrical on this! This folly does have a roof - and there is a splendid entrance gate.

[Which prompted us to google the word, and then to write:

The poet thought he would never see
A word to rhyme with orange;
Now he hails a hill in Wales
A heritage site: The Blorenge.

* sometimes spelt Blorange.]


Charles and Patricia Lester have established an international reputation for their luxury fashion and textile work. Their clients range from royalty to film, opera and stage icons, such as Princess Michael of Kent, Elizabeth Taylor, Barbra Streisand, Helena Bonham Carter, and Vanessa Redgrave.

Stockists of the couture collection have included famous stores such as Fortnum & Mason in London, Bergdorf Goodman in New York, and some branches of Neiman Marcus. Bergdorf Goodman dedicated one of their famous Christmas windows to their creations in 2002.

The Lesters have been costume designers for opera productions for Opera Holland Park in London and their work has featured in films such as The Wings of the Dove, Great Expectations, Hamlet, and Greenfingers.

Patricia told us: "We supply Harrods and have recently had an order from a group of Russian stores called Tri Tolstiaka - which translates into Three Fat Men! They specialise in plus sizes. We have opened a shop at the famous Celtic Manor Resort, venue for the 2010 Ryder Cup."

Joanne Woods <>
Subject: Synthetic Cricket

I subscribe to Anu Garg's "Wordsmith" and noted your e-mail on your Feb book I clicked on "synthetic cricket." and enjoyed the article. Did you know that the very same thing was done for baseball games in the U.S. when the teams were on the road in another city?

In the 1930's I lived in Washington, D. C. and was a devoted fan of the old Washington Senators. Like you I was 14 and, yes, we little girls loved our baseball. The broadcaster was Arch MacDonald and he had his tricks of clinking out singles, doubles, etc. You could also hear the ticker tape coming in with the baseball action on it.

Unlike you, we all knew it wasn't a "live" broadcast but I always kept my scores anyway. Arch MacDonald had his own theme song which he played before every broadcast. It was an old song:

They cut down the old pine tree
And they hauled it away to the mill
To make a coffin of pine
For that sweetheart of mine
Oh they cut down the old pine tree

He also did the broadcasts for the live day games at the old Griffith Stadium. Imagine our surprise when one day at a game, the announcer said "And now, rise for our National Anthem," and over the loud speaker came the familiar strains of "They Cut Down the Old Pine Tree!"

My girl friends and I would always wait after the game and get the players' autographs in our scrapbooks.

Now I live in the Denver area and follow the "Colorado Rockies" and of course, these days, the radio broadcasts are live! Did you know we have a couple Aussies in our baseball League?

The Wombat
Subject: Re: Fake Baseball

I ran across your article on "Fake Cricket." I'm old enough to remember "fake baseball."

In the 40's it was too expensive to send the broadcaster with the team so they got the ticker of the game and talked it up.

The announcer would be getting a teletype report on the game. he would then "colour" the report for fans listening to the game. It is the same the world over.

By the way cricket is a fun game. I was introduced to it in 99 when in Oz. I sometimes hang around with some Westies who have formed a cricket club here - Albany, New York.

If the doco on Arthur Upfield has a publicity do just before it airs, supposedly in NOV, I'm going to come down for it. I should get about 10-15 seconds of air time in the doco. A great excuse to head south, play the sundowner with friends in Sydney & Melbourne AND! maybe take in a 1-day International in a real cricket ground.

Raymond Mendez New York.
Subject: Candy is dandy, liquor is quicker

Years ago, by the milk dispenser in a college dining hall, I recited that verse for a very attractive young woman as she filled her glass. Alas, no reaction. The Muse interceded, and I followed up with: “Ice is nice, but you oughta drink water.” Still no reaction. I remember my rhyme, but can’t remember her name.

Story first posted March 2006

Copyright © 2006

Eric Shackle

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