Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

What's in a name?

On the third and last evening of my stay in Deal, Mats and I had a fish and chips dinner at our friend Teresa’s house. We rendezvoused at The Ship, the pub where we used to hang out from 1977 onwards. Teresa was already there when Mats and I arrived, carrying our heavy burden comprising a bottle of Champagne and two bottles of Sancerre wine. As Teresa and her husband Sandy where buying the food, we had decided to supply the wine to go with it.

The Ship in Middle Street: a free house, aka a pub!
Why is it called a free house?

Sandy, whom I had never met before, turned out to be a very handsome and jolly Scotsman with a very easy and infectious laugh. We had a couple of drinks at The Ship in guise of an aperitif before walking over to their house, which once used to be Rowena’s. It was also the house where I stayed in 1978, 1981 and the last time in 1984. Teresa and Sandy moved into it last February, after Rowena had died in December 2010.

Although most of Rowena’s furniture is gone and despite the fact that Teresa and Sandy are in the process of renovating the house, I still recognized some items that had belonged to Rowena and which had been in all the homes in which I stayed over the years: the large, scrubbed kitchen table, the chairs, an antique cupboard, a side table, etc.

This is probably the photo you've all been waiting for!?
From left to right: Mats, Sandy and Teresa.

Upon our arrival at the house we were greeted by Megs and Polly, two playful collies that were all excited to see us. Downstairs, in the kitchen, Dave was lounging on a chair, hardly interested in what was going on. Dave is Teresa’s and Sandy’s cat. When I mentioned to Teresa that Dave was an unusual name for a cat, she told us how their pet came to be called like that.

Pudding on its best behaviour.

Dave was just a kitten when he came to live with Teresa and Sandy. He was a present from a lady who had had cats all her life and who claimed to be very knowledgeable about felines. She gave the kitten to Teresa telling her that it was a little girl and Teresa called it Pudding. Pudding, affectionately also known as Puddy and Puds, one day developed a bad ear infection and Teresa took it to the vet. All through the visit she referred to Pudding as ‘she’, until the vet looked at her, intrigued. “Why do you keep saying ‘she’?” he asked. “This is clearly a tomcat.” Teresa fell out of the blue and called Sandy to tell him the news. “We can no longer call ‘him’ Pudding.” she added. To which Sandy very stoically answered: “We’ll call him Dave then.” ‘Why Dave?’ Teresa wanted to know. “Because I’ve always wanted a cat called Dave.” Sandy said with his natural aplomb.

And that’s how Pudding became Dave. By the look of him, he didn’t suffer any trauma over the name change. While we were sipping our Champagne he was only mildly interested in what going on around him. It was only when Sandy arrived with the take-away fish and chips that Dave left his cosy chair to circle around the table, waiting for the odd bit of fish to come his way. As the portions were huge, Dave did get his share in the end …

"For heaven's sake, stop calling me Pudding!!
My name is Daaaaaaaaaaave, do you hear?"


Mark said...

Hey, how did you know that I've been dying for a "people" photo? They all look great! Although you're not in it. Maybe Dave could have snapped the photo of you all? Poor Dave. He looks so thrilled.
Your Friend, m.
p.s. Now I'm off to figure out why that Pub is called a Free House. Your posts make me work. m.

The Beaver said...


Free House:A free house is a pub owned independently of the brewery that supply it. They can supply any brands they want. This is in contrast to a "tied" house

Read more

chm said...

Even though, recently, we've been far away from the Loire Valley, your posts are lively and interesting. Keep up the good work.

Bob said...

I asked for a then and now photo a long time ago. Looks like everyone is having a good time, which is the most important thing. Do you think you'll get back together again since renewing your friendship? Wasn't it fun?

Craig said...

Poor Pudding. But the fish and chips look lovely and Sandy looks like a grand Scotsman (I should know!)

Carolyn said...

At last, faces to go with the names! It looks like such a happy bunch. Isn't there one photo with you in it?

ladybird said...

Mark, Dave was too busy circling the table to get a piece of fish and couldn't be bothered :)

The Beaver, Thank you! That's probably why they had my favourite lager: Carling Black Label, a brand I couldn't find anywhere else.

Chm, Thank you. Maybe I should change my blog title?! But then again, in spite of the great time I had in Deal, I'm constantly 'Wishing I were in France' :)

Bob, It was great fun and Mats suggested we'd do this every other year. I'm all for it. But let's see what the future brings ...

Craig, Sandy is really nice and great fun. Teresa is a very lucky woman!

Carolyn, There is no photo of that evening, but there is one coming up soon that was taken the next day ...