Sunday, 31 July 2011

The Bluefunnels and how they got their name

photographer Onassis Bluefunnel preparing for a shoot
I am an only child from a big family. Now that sounds like a contradiction in terms but let me explain. I am the only child of my parents. My mother had two brothers, my father had eleven brothers and sisters. Of all those "siblings" there were only two that did not have children. My father's family was very close. So close that very often his big sister Mu ( short for Muriel and pronounced Mew) would arrive on the doorstep and say "I told everyone to be here for Sunday tea, today" and she would carry in her shopping bags and load down the table with fruitcake and other wonderful comestibles.
This meant that all us cousins knew each other quite well when we were small. We all developed the same sense of humour and the same protectiveness about our family. That was the way things went until Mu died. She was the glue that held our family together so the cousins drifted away from each other. We married, had children and got together for weddings and occasional visits from uncles and aunts that lived abroad.
Mr M, Onassis Bluefunnel, Mrs Bluefunnel
OK so that's the background. Now fast forward thirty years, My Dad died in 2003. Everyone came to his funeral and we realised that there weren't many of that generation left - Just four in fact. Then two of those died and we all went to the funerals and someone said "We only seem to meet at funerals these days, wouldn't it be nice to have a meet up when no one had died" So we did. It was good so we organised a second one
Cousin Russell came over from Mexico at the right time so he was able to be there and that's where it happened. I had been researching Cousin Colin's ancestry - we have the same grandfather but he was married twice so we have different grandmothers - and he told us that Ma (his grandmother) always said that her father was a shipping tycoon and she had been put in the workhouse when he died to cheat her out of her inheritance. Cousin Colin insisted that when his ship came in he would be the sole inheritor of the fabulous wealth so he became first 'the Shipping Magnate' on the hill. They live on top of a hill.
Cousin Russell preparing the ground
During the course of one conversation Cousin Russell managed to use lots of shipping line names when referring to Cousin Colin, always using Onassis as the forename. For example he was Onassis Cunard, Onassis Whitestar... you get the picture?
Then they went on to discuss ways of increasing this mythical fortune and it was decided that Viagra was the answer. If they could grow organic Viagra somewhere and ship it in using Onassis Bluefunnels shipping line they could really be quids in. All Cousin Russell had to do when he got back home to Mexico was buy some land in Chile, grow organic viagra and ship it over here. Onassis Bluefunnel would -to quote his exact words - "get it into Waitrose and make our fortune". Then the credit crunch happened and they decided they can't afford the seeds yet...
So that's why my cousin Colin and his wife Ann (yes that's the same as me and Mr M but we never get confused because they are Colin and Ann and we are Ann and Colin) are now "the Bluefunnels"
The name Bluefunnel is the one that has stuck


Sian said...

Wasn't one of the Cunards called Emerald? I always thought Emerald Cunard was a great name!

As always, a pleasure to read not only because of your writing but because of the obvious enjoyment you get from your family.

Missus Wookie said...

Had to pop along to find out about the Bluefunnels. What a lovely picture of your close family - glad you managed to get together outside of funerals too :)