bonnets and bobbles, Tam o’ Shanters and tassels

Ávila storks & nests 

In Ávila
the church towers all wear
Tam o’ Shanter storks nests

storks nest on domed roof
Actually, it’s not just the churches; any tall roof may sport a heap of sticks at a rakish angle like a French beret or a Scottish tam.

Except, of course, when the whole building roof or dome appears to be the bonnet and the nest is just the toorie – the bobble on the top.

Its been a long time since I had reason to think much about Tam o’ Shanters (although that was, without doubt, the word that came instinctively to mind when I saw the nests) so I needed to check the correct word to use for the bobble. I ended up on the Wikipedia page about pom-pons and became increasingly – and, perhaps, a little unreasonably – annoyed by how the spelling and usage was so Americanised.

Back in the Sixties in the UK, we’d never heard of cheer leaders and we made pompoms – spelled like that in my Chambers Twentieth Century, where the word is defined as as ‘a fluffy or woolly ball, tuft or tassel worn on a shoe, hat etc.’ – for craft projects by winding wool around a template or frame made of a double thickness of donut-shaped cardboard. I don’t think I ever learned how to complete the process as it involved sharp scissors, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find an unfinished pompom along with a cotton reel dolly-bobbin in my mother’s work-box.

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

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