An ODT journalist found a treasure trove of humour while perusing the city's dog registration records. Oscar Francis notes that in 2021, out of 4667 dogs registered in the gothic city, 234 were called Bella - the most popular pooch name for the fifth year running. But it's not the popular ones we're really interested in, is it? There were many unique names, including Boi Boi, Lord Furball, Sam M'Man. Bus Stop, Rona, Cloud Marshmallow, Missy Moo, Rip 1 and Ella Bella Rocket Snake were other completely idiosyncratic offerings. He noticed a trend towards dogs being named after other animals, including Bear (89), Tui (87), Possum (5), Goose (4) and plants, such as Daisy (119), Lily (79), Willow (69), Tussock (5) and Dandelion (1). And a notable mechanical theme, including Diesel (42), Dozer (17), Rocket (15), Turbo (5) and Sparks (1). However, names such as Pixel (2) and Meme (1) remain in the single digits, suggesting Dunedin residents are slow to embrace the digital revolution.
The past was a putrid place
Body odour was rampant, oral hygiene consisted mostly of toothpicks or a sponge soaked in brandy and rubbish and horse poo filled the streets. According to Mental Floss, before the Industrial Revolution, making wool was a particularly gross undertaking. The wool was cleaned in a process called "fulling", which often involved hitting the wool with clubs in pools of stale urine. The urine contained ammonia salts which helped whiten the wool. The early Industrial Revolution birthed its own nasty smells. The 1837 book London As It Is describes factories "vomiting forth dense volumes of black suffocating smoke, filling all the adjoining streets with stifling fumes. Many persons think that the smoke is beneficial rather than prejudicial to health in London, on the idea, probably, that it covers all other offensive fumes and odours: this notion cannot be found in truth."
Tea towel holder
It's a small world indeed
"My father was wounded at the battle of El Alamein (WWII)," writes Chris Blenkinsopp of Beach Haven. "When I got married in the UK in 1970, all our families were in NZ, and were celebrating our union, albeit 12,000 miles away. My new wife's uncle was at the gathering, and my father was there also. They got to chatting and found out that the uncle (who was a medic) was the first person to treat my dad's shattered ankle in the battlefield hospital. He remembered my father's slightly unusual name (Blenkinsopp). Dad formally thanked him for his care."