25 March 2013


It appears that my last post went down like a lead balloon with the baying mob that constitutes this blog's exclusive, hard-to-please readership. I guess this post will make a similar kamikaze dive into the oily ocean of dissatisfaction and condemnation...

The English language contains so many lovely words and I was thinking about one of them yesterday afternoon as I swam under the shady mango and palm trees in the little pool next to my apartment - "honeymoon". Honeymoon? What does it really mean? Where did it come from?

This is the first known written reference:-

Hony mone, a term proverbially applied to such as be newly married, which will not fall out at the first, but th'one loveth the other at the beginning exceedingly, the likelihood of their exceadinge love appearing to aswage, ye which time the vulgar people call the hony mone.
Richard Huloet —Abcedarium Anglico-Latinum pro Tyrunculis, 1552

So it was the "vulgar" ordinary people who favoured the term and it contains the sense that marriage is at its sweetest during the first "moon" or month. "The first month after marriage, when there is nothing but tenderness  and pleasure" said Samuel Johnson two centuries later.

The term is closely mirrored in other languages - including French (lune de miel), Portugese (lua de mel) and even the ancient Welsh language where mis mêl may be translated as "honey month". Interestingly, the term is also present in some languages of the Indian sub-continent, including Tamil.

My own honeymoon - back in October 1981 - lasted just one night and one day in the city of Lincoln east of Sheffield. Shirley and I had just bought our first house and were busy investing our time and money in it. We didn't have much opportunity to jet off to Barbados or Venice.

On the Sunday morning after our wedding night, we ambled up to Lincoln Minster (Cathedral) which for  over two hundred years was the tallest building in the entire world. We stopped at the official church souvenir shop in the cobbled square in front of the great church and were most surprised to find the shop door unlocked but with nobody inside - no shop assistants anywhere. It was clear that some silly somebody had forgotten to lock up the day before!

Shirley stood guard in the shop while I hurried over to the great cathedral to find a verger in a black cassock who rushed back to the shop with me. He was immensely relieved that we had reported our discovery and magnanimously declared that we could choose anything we wanted as our reward.

We picked a small framed print of Lincoln with its great minster towering above Brayford Pool and we still have that picture today. It seemed a magical almost propitious beginning to our marriage. I remember the details of that morning stroll so vividly even after thirty two years.


  1. "I guess this post will make a similar kamikaze dive into the oily ocean of dissatisfaction and condemnation..."

    I'm almost tempted, motivated purely out of wicked humour, to prove your prediction but I derived nothing other than pleasure reading this post.

    I once found myself staying in paradise; a five star beach hotel in Mauritius, all expenses paid and a full programme of entertainment including a spectacular firework display. I was as miserable as hell because my family were not with me.

    This self flaggelation coupled with whimsical recollection on your part isn't a sign of homesickness, perchance?

  2. Oh my little pudding I didn't mean to make you feel sad... Sorry!

    Never forget you're doing this for you, not for the likes of us scuzzy oiks.

    Blogging I love, because you can scribe your randomn thoughts and memories. I can well believe the feelings it conjures up for you.

    Better stop now, cos my humility pill is wearing off!


  3. Well I kind of enjoyed this historic look at the early life of a puddin
    Rather romantic

  4. I went on a honeymoon once. Oh, it wasn't mine - I was working as a private detective at the time.

    Oddly enough didn't get the proof we needed until the very last day of the cruise ... (I wasn't born yesterday).

  5. Your lead-in art coyly shows the woman atop the man. Is this also reminiscent of your own honeymoon? Not that I really care. To each his own, that's what I say. Whatever floats your boat. (I don't really say either of those things.)

    When you swam under the shady mango and palm trees in the little pool next to your apartment, it's a downright shame that you weren't able to wear your Rupert the Bear swimming shorts. Were you wearing anything at all? If not, this post by my cyberfriend Snowbrush may be of interest.

    My shingles are now in their fifth week, and I am still taking the pain medication Neurontin. Can you tell?

    Lovely print of Lincoln, by the way.

  6. What nice people you were!
    Was this the print you chose? It's lovely.

    To continue in the reminiscence vein, I had been married for only two weeks when I went on a laboratory technician's course to another city. There (prompted, I assure you, by nothing but my reminiscences of my recent English biking tour and, possibly the glow of my newlyweddedness) my Microbiology lecturer fell in love with me, saying I was the best thing he'd seen since the York Minster.

    (And YP, don't you even think about insinuating anything from the words 'glow of my newlyweddedness', because I mean it entirely metaphorically. As well you know.)


Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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