Ashton Keynes, barmy or just an odd angle?

Ashton Keynes

The way a small boat might sit in the water when waterlogged. An uncomfortable angle. Has developed from its first water association to mean slightly unhinged, so if someone is described as “ a bit ashton keynes” they can be considered to be “lying at an odd angle in the water”. Barmy but not completely.


Ashton Keynes is actually a small village not far from Cirencester, beautiful part of the country. The area has a lot of lakes that are formed by sandpits, I think.


This is the last of the series that I shall be posting on my blog which is from my little book: Glossary, the Definitive Guide to the Real Meaning of Gloucestershire Place Names, sort of. A big title for a small book that is just about to go to print, just in time to miss the Christmas rush, timing has never been my forte, but I’m sure it will be around next Christmas.

I’d like to say that it will be available from all good bookshops but it’s not. In fact it’s not even available from ‘down at heel can’t be ares’d bookshops with rising damp’. But if you want one it’s four and a half quid plus postage to you, though you may have to wait till the ink dries.





The way an old gardener walks with head facing downwards looking for weeds. An orginal garden gait.glossaryamberley329


Amberley is in actual fact a small village between Stroud and Nailsworth and is on the side of the hill, the sunny side at that. It’s very ‘sought-after’ these days in estate agent speak, which to you and me is expensive. There may well be gardeners in the area.

Uley, does this cut it?


A sharpened scythe. Very useful for cutting grasses but the person doing the cutting must be stripped to the waist and have a full six pack ( of liquid refreshment like Abbeymead to hand as it is back breaking work ) After taking the refreshment it is advisable to give anyone holding a Uley a very wide birth as the blade can go almost anywhere.glossaryuley337


Uley is a lovely little village on the way up to the Cotswold ridge from the Dursley direction, and has a really good little arts centre called Prema. Unusual for such a small village.

My book is nearing completion and I’m waiting for the isbn numbers so that it can be lodged forever with the British Library, so in years to come there will be no doubt about the real meaning of some of these Gloucestershire place names. I’m tempted to move on to Lancashire where I originate from and lived for many years. Towns up there have a different ring to them and I was reminded just the other day of one that is crying out for a real new meaning: Feniscowles, what a great name. Watch this space, thinking cap on.

Pitchcombe, what nonsense is this?


Combe is from the latin for dung and in this instance pitchcombe is the word used for the hurling of dung. In particular cow dung that has dried enough for it to be successfully lifted as a complete circle and then thrown. It is thought that Pitchombe preceded Frisbee as a marketing name, but has since fallen out of common parlance.


Another of my nonsensical meaning for Gloucestershire place names which I’m hoping to publish quite soon in a book entitled “Glossary”, its going to be quite a small book!

Pitchcombe is in actual fact on a hill overlooking Stroud and a very pretty place too. Worth a visit but look out for frisbees, especially the low flying ones.

Whitminster generates Frocester


The part of a wedding speech were the best man reflects perhaps a  little unkindly on the predilections of his erstwhile friend: the groom, on his choice of previous girlfriends before the present ‘chosen one’.

Phrases like: “ …you should have seen what Darren found on the floor of Liquid when he was celebrating his nineteenth, he was told he could’nt drink for six weeks and that the creams would take some time, ent that right Darren?” is a typical leading phrase with the makings of a whitminster. Not always received well by the groom and even less well by the bride’s mother. Groans from the audience and amongst the guests with cries of “ Oh crikey, he’s not going to drop in that whitminster is he?” Shocking stuff.

glossary frocester327


The bride’s mother’s reaction to a whitminster.
A frosty reception. Rare but terrifying when witnessed.

Continuing my “Glossary” of Gloucestershire place names both these places are down the A38 going south of Gloucester. Whitminster has one of the largest roadside holes that I’ve ever seen and serves some of the best chips you can find anywhere, Frocester is towards the River Severn and a sleepy little village.

Bibury, how the Japanese avoid it.



The walk of a tourist who does not undertsand what he/she should be doing, or seeing, or indeed why they are where they are at all. Involves walking slowly in one direction and then in another random direction, even the person doing the walking does not understand exactly why or in which direction they might be going. The presence of vehicles makes this a dangerous activity and can result in a split bibury which is where the group is bisected by traffic and can induce panic amongst the assembly.  It’s all a sorry sight. Pity them. Common in the Cotswolds.

Japanese avoid this by having someone with a flag leading them which is somewhat sinister. Anyone leading with a flag is sinister don’t you think?

Continuing my theme of true meanings of Gloucestershire place names this is one I have witnessed in many parts of the Cotswolds. Bibury is in fact one of the county’s prettiest villages and attracts many tourists, shame that the spellchecker turns it into bribery.

My book on the subject is in the final stages and I’ll let you know when completed so that you can fund my pathetic lifestyle.

Operation, who’s idea was this?


A departure today from my usual bits about Gloucestershire place names for this little interlude. Wandering aimlessly past a toy shop the other day and here in the window is this little gem. A game called ‘Operation’. No, no, no!!!

I mused on the thought of the creative department of the games company thinking ” What can we do that’s new?” They are well short of any ideas to put to the boss, who’s just come back from a double hernia operation in the local hospital. Seeing his department looking miserable and de-motivated, the boss drops in his own idea and it’s the first thing that comes into his head. “How about we do a game called “Operation”, it’s all about getting bits out of bodies and if you get the wrong bit, there’s no litigation, just a buzzer. They’ll have to but their own batteries, now get to it and make it work, what the hell am I paying you guys for when I come up with all the brilliant ideas!”

Looking at each other with complete disbelief the team put together the game.

It’s a case of “the King’s New Clothes”, where none of them has the guts to tell the boss that this is a disaster waiting to happen.

It ends up in a shop reduced to a figure that is not far from the production costs.

Matson, a fine view of Painswick

Dear old Matson is just on the edge of Gloucester and has a fine view of the Painswick hills, it has a reputation as a tough area but it also has a strong community spirit. I had a good friend who used to live there and he loved it. This is another in my series of the real meaning of Gloucestershire place names which I’m hoping to make into a very small book entitled “Glossary: the real meaning of Gloucestershire place names”. Available quite soon which you’ll be able to purchase for a very small amount.



Poor carpentry/DIY

One of those jobs done in a house where you wondered why they ever started, like a mini bar in the corner of a lounge made from stone cladding to match the outside of the house, and with a dark wooden shelf. None of the cupboard doors open properly and if they did would reveal a bottle of sweet sherry from 1968 and another bottle that appears of unknown origin containing a vivid green liquid that has shells stuck to the outside. The label of the latter is unreadable but is probably Spanish as there are plastic castanets stuck to the bottle neck.You’d be wise not to drink it, even when someone bets you a lot of money that you can’t.




A daisy chain worn and made by small girls that they make on bright blue summer days for each other. Boys are naturally excluded from this activity. Mothers marvel at their offspring’s dexterity to make them when normally at home they can barely get food into their mouths or tie a shoelace. They forgive them everything as they exclaim: “ Oh look, she’s made a maismore”

Maisemore is actually on the edge of the City of Gloucester and is a relatively small village close to the River Severn. It’s prone to flooding, but I’m sure there are a fine supply of daisies in the area.