Posts Tagged With: Calais

Walking in the Air

Screenshot from The Snowman, from therugbyblog.co.uk

Christmas is coming, and I’ve been tossing and turning about whether or not to do a themed post. I’ve buckled, but predictably, I’m approaching this rather differently to how most would.

Ever heard of the phenomenal TV film The Snowman? It airs every Christmas here in the UK since 1982 and is based on the book of the same name by Raymond Briggs. I love The Snowman, and am completely gutted I won’t be able to watch it this year since I’ll be in the States for Christmas (more on that on Thursday). Quite frankly, it rocks. It also spawned a classic Christmas song: Walking in the Air – which was quite brilliantly parodied by Irn Bru a few Christmas’ ago with them flying over Scotland rather than Brighton:

It’s such a pretty little song, much better than most of the dreary stuff churned out each year – I’ve heard that Geraldine McQueen song three times today and am close to the edge.

Christmas names are an interesting topic for me, since I was due on Christmas Eve – but turned up fashionably late and ruined a midwife’s party dress. I could’ve been one of the many December babies named Holly each year (In December 2010, the most popular girls name was Holly, 440 born compared to the 416 born to the name Olivia), but my parents opted against it. This doesn’t bother me one bit, but it’s fun to speculate on the what-ifs.

Since the song is titled Walking in the Air, I thought it apt to talk names relating to the air – especially since we’ve focused heavily on birds names of late. Let me make this clear: if you don’t want to name your child after a bird, there are still plenty of options out there.

We’ll start with the French. Many children dream of flying, and that’s exactly what the Snowman and the boy do in the film whilst the song is playing. You probably know by now that the French word for butterfly is Papillon, but have you ever considered Libellule? It’s the French word for dragonfly, and I’m quickly falling in love with the idea of using is as a name. The French say: LEE-buh-lool. If you don’t like that, a few fellow Continent-dwellers to the French have their take on the word (all meaning dragonfly):

  • German: Libelle
  • Italian: Libellula
  • Spanish: Libélula

If you ever wish to find an alternative to Liberty which could legitimately shorten to Libby, look no further than here m’dears. It’s also befitting of the Bella trend, which may or may not have been catalysed by Twilight. I’d rather not get into that debate right now, because it would take over this post very quickly.

Going off on a tangent I once more dip my toes into the mystical and unknown world to me of music. There’s a class of intruments called Woodwind, or Wind, instruments and there’s two notable names to mention to you.

The first is Reed. In woodwind instruments, specifically clarinets, oboes and duduks, the player blows in order to cause a reed in the intrument to vibrate, which in turn causes vibrations in the air. The second potential name to consider is Bell. The bell of a woodwind instrument is the round, flared opening opposite the mouthpiece.

Of course, the really easy place to find inspiration is in the many Gods et al associated with the wind. The obvious one I’m seeing batted around more and more is Zephyr – inspired by the name of the Greek God of the west wind. You may be wondering that if there was a God of the west wind, then logic follows there must too be Gods of the north, south and east wind? You’d be right.

The collective name for these Gods is the Anemoi, and the Roman equivalent is Venti (note: the French word for wind is le vent). The Greek God of the north wind is Boreas, and he’s also said to be the bringer of winter. He also had a close association with horses. Boreas had two sons and two daughters:

  • Calais
  • Zethes
  • Khione (Goddess of snow)
  • Cleopatra

His Roman equivalent was called Aquilo.

The God of the south wind is Notus, who was feared for being destroyer of crops. You may find Notus a little too much, but his Roman equivalent was named Auster – which seems like a name truly fit for the modern mama: Part Austin; part Alistair and just a wee bit like Oscar.

Finally, the God of the east wind was callewd Eurus, and this was considered the unlucky wind. He was thought to bring both warmth and rain. His Roman equivalent? Vulturnus. Now, Eurus may not be as unusable as you may think since their is a legit welsh name Euros to contend with. If I’m honest, I only really know this due to Doctor Who – which has had episodes directed by one Euros Lyn. There is the niggling issue of the so-called Eurozone crisis, with people increasing shrieking that the currency of Europe – the euros – could collapse. The Welsh name Euros is often associated with aur – meaning gold. Of course, the chemical symbol for gold is Au.

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