In this blogposting...
*Nice words
*In Memoriam
Now read on, Macduff...

I love the wayward unpredictability of the internet. Once you start surfing, you never know what you’re going to find. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve wasted whole months on some highly esoteric voyages of internet discovery which have led me up some weird and wonderful garden paths. As evidence, I offer the following extract from a list of what some anonymous blogger considers to be the ‘nicest’ words in the English language. Note that ‘niceness’ here is not a measure of what the words actually mean (like mother or love) but of the words themselves, pure and simple.

Chatoyant - like a cat's eye
Plethora - a large quantity
Susurrous - whispering, hissing
Halcyon - happy, sunny, carefree
Desuetude - disuse
Inglenook - a cosy nook by the hearth
Lithe - slender and flexible
Mellifluous - sweet sounding
Mondegreen - a slip of the ear.
Offing - the sea between the horizon and the offshore
Evanescent - vanishing quickly, lasting a very short time
Desultory - slow, sluggish
Woebegone - sorrowful, downcast
Comely - attractive
Panoply - a complete set.
Erstwhile - at one time, for a time.
...and lots more.

You may not agree with all of them, but what a smashing list, taken together! Stephen Fry’s favourite words are said to be moist and twinkly, to which I would add ubiquitous, kumquat, twerp and catastrophe.

Feel free to add your own words to the list.

Nominations are still welcome for dates and venues for AGM IX. My own suggestion is that it should take place wcm November 2. But on which day? And where? The Biscuit Factory in Shieldfield seems to be the hot favourite at the minute, though I’m not too sure how accessible it is by public transport. So put your head above the parapet and air your views. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

We truckshunters make it our business to mark the passing of people whose names, though once perhaps familiar to us in years gone by, have fallen into desuetude (see above) as time has passed. Like f'rinstance...

..who died a few days ago, aged 72. She was the Mary of Peter, Paul and Mary - part of the folk-revival of the 60s and, perhaps predictably, a very big influence on my teenage musical tastes. While my two brothers were quietly going berserk listening to Deep Crimson (or whatever), I was lost in the admittedly bowdlerised soul-searching of Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right, Leavin’ On A Jet Plane, Blowin’ In The Wind and Puff The Magic Dragon (no comments, please).

I still have all their albums and listen to them regularly, invariably saying quietly to myself that ‘they don’t write them like that anymore’, as you do. Tracks like The House Song, Old Coat and Hymn still blow me away.

Who? I hear you ask. In response to your not unreasonable query, I can do no better than quote from her obituary in The Guardian.

‘In 18 years of professional wrestling throughout the US, Gladys "Killem" Gillem, who has died aged 89, was never allowed to beat Mildred Burke. She later claimed one small victory when, aged 85, she disclosed in a film that she had slept with Burke's husband, the promoter Billy Wolfe, to get a pay rise.

Always something of a tomboy, Gillem was expelled from her Catholic school for putting minnows in the holy water. After seeing Mildred Burke wrestle, she asked if she could join her. She was trained by another of Wolfe's stable, Wilma "Babe" Gordon and then for nearly 20 years became one of Burke's principal opponents.

Unfortunately she never learned to fall properly and the back of her head was said to be as soft as a cauliflower. Her bouts with Burke were often ferocious and on one occasion, wrestling for the world title, she bit deep into Burke's thigh, refusing to let go until Burke broke her nose. Although women could earn up to $100 a night wrestling, Wolfe kept most of it, deducting not only 50% but also expenses and overheads so that Gillem and the other girls often ended up with just $3 a night.

After nearly 20 years in the ring she decided to become a lion tamer – "I pity the lions," said Burke – working with Captain Ernest Enger's act, which she eventually took over. She also tried to become an equestrienne, but at 5ft 2in she had difficulty in leaping on the horses and so took up the trapeze. Her career as a lion tamer ended in central America when the promoter absconded with the takings.

She and her husband John Aloysius Wall opened a tourist attraction in Florida where she wrestled alligators. The secret, she said, was to tickle their stomachs, something alligators apparently love. After Wall was killed in a Broadway theatre accident, she once again took to the road with her alligators. She finally retired after injuring her back in Calgary.

Always a good cook, she then bought a run-down motel in Pensacola, Florida, naming it the Birmingham Motel, which she advertised as "welcoming lovers". A room cost $10 for two hours and on one occasion she chased down the street after a customer who had made off with the sheets.

She is survived by her three children and a number of grandchildren, one of whom, Shawn McCoy, named his rock band Killem Gillem in her honour.’

So now you know.

And finally...
...who played Fred Quilley the jockey in Hi De Hi, has died aged 87.

Post comments on this blog or email me: truckshunters@googlemail.com


Hildie said...


I enjoyed the list of 'nicest words'.... mellifluous and halcyon in particular. My all-time favourite word is
INDUBITABLY ... meaning undoubtedly, unquestionably ....
the consonant combination is so fun to say!
Other favouritesof mine being -
NUANCE ... a subtle or slight degree of difference, as in meaning, feeling or tone.
HYPERBOLE ... a deliberate exaggeration of speech or writing used for effect.
LOLLOP ... to move with a bobbing motion.
HEMIDEMISEMIQUAVER ... a sixty fourth note.
JUVENESCENT ... becoming young or youthful (as in finding a playmate when you're sixty!)

Monday/ Wednesday /Thursday of week commencing 2nd November for an AGM... any of those would be good ... maybe someone else will narrow it down. I have consulted with Ada and we both, indubitably, are with Sid on the Heritage Centre as the venue. That doesn't mean we have to go there! It's just that we've got our hands up for that one.

Before I sign off tonight, I'd like to mention the very lovely and talented Stephen Gately who died tragically on Saturday.
How immensely unfair this world can sometimes be.

Ian Robinson said...

Agree with you about Stephen Gately, Hildie. The gay world knew him as a friendly, unpretentious - and very courageous - lad who didn't let fame go to his head; he was a great role-model for young gay blokes.

Vivienne said...

Hi Folks,

Well I've just spent a super evening with Cliff & The Shadows at the Arena! They haven't lost their touch at all. Hank was his usual brilliant self on all his various guitars. Bruce was excellent too, and Cliff was as charismatic as ever. They performed all their early hits, Cliff gave us a Geordie greeting, and the Shads opened one of their numbers with a line from The Blaydon Races! I can tick 'Going to see Cliff ad The Shadows' off my list of 'Things to do before I die'!

Yes Hildie, I agree with you about Stephen Gately. He will be a huge loss to the music industry and will be missed by millions of fans.

Hildie, I think I remember Anthea Lang (?) saying that St. Mary's Church (Heritage Centre) was closed on Mondays. Am I correct? If so we better opt for Wed or Thurs. We can go to the Biscuit Factory, in the words of Cliff, 'The Next Time.'

Hildie said...

Hi Vivienne... you are right, Anthea did say they were closed on Mondays.
I am glad you enjoyed the Cliff and The Shadows concert. Amazing how he keeps on going and going! I was a fan when I was very young ... in fact I saw him at Newcastle City Hall forty four years ago!!! And I saw The Beatles there on 4th December 1966!!
I wonder if Ian was there that night ... you never know ... someone might have treated him to a ticket for his 18th. birthday! Or maybe he went to the pub!
I am wondering if, for the benefit of working Truckshunters, we should have floated Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th November as possible dates for our next AGM?
Is there anyone who would appreciate a w/end AGM? Speak now or forever hold your peace!
Also, the trip to South Tyneside College for the Extraordinary AGM
.... sounds good to me!

Alison said...


I loved Peter Paul & Mary - I loved Leaving on a Jet Plane and Puff the Magic Dragon. I think I was really into Dragons at that time. I still have a Baby Dragon Pelham Puppet - these are collectors pieces now apparently - Pelham Puppets. Kind regards to all.


Val said...

Vivienne - have you come down to earth yet? In the 50's two of my uncles worked for [T Dan] Smith's Decorators at the top of Stanhope Street in Newcastle. Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch used to practise their music, very noisily, across the street - got on everyone's nerves so my uncles told me!

Alison - Pelham Puppets - I wanted one of those for years when I was little. I may have got one eventually but my main memory is of longing for one! Better to travel in hope than arrive?

I'll be away the week of the next planned AGM so won't join in the discussion this time.

Ian -back to previous posting.
You asked how I'd heard about the concert at St George's church. The Journal had a large article and photos about the Durham Sinfonia changing it's name to Orchestra North East and publicised the concerts.
We won't be at the Sage on Thursday - we saw Barber's Adagio last year. The next concert we go to is in Brighton later this month: Prokoviev Classical symphony, and ['The Seven Year Itch' and 'Brief Encounter']: Rachmaninov 2nd piano concerto!! Swoon......

Hildie said...

Why, oh why, do these things come to you in the very middle of the night? It was 4th December 1965 when I saw The Beatles at Newcastle City Hall. It was actually The Rolling Stones who I saw there in 1966, and on the same bill were Ike and Tina Turner.
I amaze myself that I can say I saw The Beatles in concert 44 years ago! I'm really VERY old,
aren't I?

I think I'm going for a lie down!

Sid said...

I remember when Diesel was considered to be a dirty fuel, and it cost 2/6d a gallon. Petrol used to be rated as 2 star, 3 star and 4 star. That used to cost 3/4d a gallon, sob. Tea was packaged in 2 and 4 ounce packets, and you could buy Woodbines etc in open ended packets of 5. Now Hildie that's what I call old.lol.

Ian Robinson said...

What's a Pelham puppet?

Alison said...

Eeeh Ian! Pelham puppets were marvellous hand made marionettes (have I spelled that right). I forget who set the company going - I think after the war but they used recycled materials - he used for the heads - I think it was the wooden balls from coconut shys. Could be wrong here but I am sure that the collective memory of the Truckshunters will come to the rescue. Some were very topical. He did a version of the early Beatles with their 'mop' haircuts. There were some Disney characters. My collection had Hansel and Gretel and the Wicked Witch (with green face). My sister Anne (her of speed reading fame) had THE SKELETON. It was all disjointed and could fall apart into a heap of bones. Being clever - she then went on and made her own puppets which were rather gorgeous and clothed in elaborate costumes with feathered hats. She used loads of soft toilet paper to model the faces out of papier mache (our Mother was a tad worried at the time about the way we seemed to be going through toilet rolls). The strings were brilliant. They were colour co-ordinated and had a rubber stopper at the top so you could unhook the string when it got tangled up and untangle them more easily. Puff (Magic Dragon) was easy to operate as you just wiggled the control wooden cross piece to make him walk.

Clearly an important part of my early life but one that has escaped you Ian (and I suspect a lot of other people) - I think you either were in to Pelham Puppets or not!

Kind regards to everyone and sorry if that was a bit of a ramble!


Sid said...

It's amazing what you can learn here. Pelham Puppets I hadn't heard of, but thats changed. Ebay has lots for sale...