Road to nowhere

One of the things that the Town Council are responsible for is coming up with street names for new developments. Normally, the idea is that we come up with some kind of overall theme for a development, and then individual names for all the streets within it.

We do, however, have to stick to some guidelines. One of those, incidentally, is that we can’t use the possessive apostrophe, something which has recently been in the news elsewhere. But another key rule is that we have to use a standard set of suffixes, such as “street”, “road”, etc. The full list of acceptable endings is:

  • Avenue
  • Bank
  • Boulevard
  • Close
  • Coppice
  • Corner
  • Court
  • Crescent
  • Croft
  • Drive
  • End
  • Fields
  • Gardens
  • Grove
  • Hill
  • Lane
  • Lea
  • Lee
  • Meadow
  • Mews
  • Orchard
  • Park
  • Place
  • Piece
  • Road
  • Row
  • Square
  • Street
  • Styles
  • Terrace
  • View
  • Walk
  • Way
  • Wood

We can also use a name that has no suffix at all, provided it starts with “The” (for example, The Beeches).

If we name a street after a person then we should only use the surname (so there might, one day, be a Goodge Street in Evesham, but not a Mark Goodge Street).

Anyway, it occurred to me that, if we were feeling in a mischievous mood, there are all sorts of possibilities for names which meet all the requirements but, nonetheless, may not be quite what was intended. For example:

  • Letsby Avenue
  • Robber Bank
  • Standtoo Close
  • Roundthe Corner
  • Lara Croft (named after the West Indian cricketer, of course)
  • Drinken Drive
  • Bitter End[1]
  • Usedtobe Fields
  • Tinylittle Gardens
  • Overthe Hill
  • Airp Lane
  • Hill Lea
  • Hole Lee
  • Nowhereto Park
  • Codor Place
  • Five Minutes Piece
  • Longandwinding Road
  • Domestic Row
  • Fore Square
  • Oneway Street
  • Different Styles
  • Terrible View
  • Lengthy Walk
  • Wrong Way
  • Good Wood

[1] If you thought I was going to suggest “Bell End” then all I can say is… great minds think alike. But I decided it might offend some people, so I didn’t.

I should point out that I have no intention of actually suggesting any of these as real street names (with possibly one or two exceptions), so the good folk of Evesham can rest easily in that respect. But I’m sure you can come up with some better ones than these…

Contemporaries

The announcement by the Pope that he is to resign prompted me to do a little bit of research, since I can just about remember who was Pope when I was a teenager but I wasn’t sure how many Popes there have actually been since I was born.

Anyway, having looked it up, I have (so far) lived at the same time as:

  • Five Popes
  • Six Archbishops of Canterbury
  • Three Ecumenical Patriarchs of Constantinople
  • Fifty Moderators of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
  • Six Secretary Generals of the United Nations
  • Ten Presidents of the USA
  • Seven Presidents of France
  • Eight Chancellors of Germany
  • Ten Taoiseachs of Ireland
  • Ten Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom
  • Forty Mayors of Evesham
  • One Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Kitts and Nevis.

For the sake of the pedants who will undoubtedly be reading, I have counted repeat office holders only once (so, for example, Harold Wilson is just one Prime Minister despite serving two non-consecutive terms), and not included interim or caretaker office holders (unless, of course, they went on to become the office holder in their own right). However, I have counted both the mayors of Evesham from the year when the initial office holder resigned, as his successor was, despite also only serving for a partial term, officially designated mayor.

The individuals fortunate enough to hold these titles at the time of my birth were (in the same order as above):

  • John XXIII
  • Michael Ramsey
  • Athenagoras I
  • Nevile Davidson
  • U Thant
  • John F Kennedy
  • Charles de Gaulle
  • Konrad Adenauer
  • Seán Lemass
  • Harold Macmillan
  • Cllr William Kimberley
  • Queen Elizabeth II

With one notable exception, none of these lasted long enough for me to have any memories at all of them in their position from my childhood, although a few did survive long enough in retirement for me to recall their deaths.

The twenty best Christmas singles… ever

Today is formally the first day of Advent, the start of the Christmas season. So, to kick off, here’s my list of the twenty best Christmas singles ever written:

  1. Fairytale of New York – The Pogues and Kirsty McColl
  2. Merry Christmas, Everybody – Slade
  3. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day – Wizzard
  4. Saviour’s Day – Cliff Richard (less popular, but far better, than Mistletoe and Wine)
  5. I Believe In Father Christmas – Greg Lake
  6. Happy Christmas (War is Over) – John Lennon and Yoko Ono
  7. White Christmas – Bing Crosby
  8. One More Sleep ’til Christmas – The Muppets
  9. Stop The Cavalry – Jona Lewie
  10. 2000 Miles – The Pretenders
  11. Do They Know It’s Christmas – Band Aid (the 1984 original, not the rather pants 1989 and 2004 remakes)
  12. In Dulci Jubilo – Mike Oldfield
  13. Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End) – The Darkness
  14. Walking In The Air – Aled Jones
  15. er….
  16. …that’s it
  17. unless you include Last Christmas by Wham!…
  18. …which is probably fair enough, even though George Michael is incredibly irritating
  19. but definitely not the Frog Chorus…
  20. …or any other attempt by Paul McCartney to write something festive.

Rock Ballads

The slow burn rock ballad is probably one of the most clichéd genres in music. But, like all clichés, it became one simply because it’s often so apposite. Be that as it may, these are ten songs that I think are among the (if not the) greatest pop/rock ballads of all time:

  • Fix You – Coldplay
  • With or Without You – U2
  • November Rain – Guns ‘n’ Roses
  • Obsession – Delirious
  • Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol
  • Freebird – Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Show me Heaven – Maria McKee
  • Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinéad O’Connor
  • All By Myself – Eric Carmen
  • Time After Time – Cyndi Lauper