OU blog

Personal Blogs

Richard Walker

Down a bright stream

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Richard Walker, Thursday, 16 July 2015, 02:41

Tonight at the Moon Under Water, someone read out an article about rhino horn. Then someone else mentioned whale hunting. 

This reminded me of the Inky Fool blog (IFB).

What's the connection between Vikings and a well-known coffee chain? 

From memory of the IFB.

In Yorkshire (sub-question, where did Yorick come from and why did he get dug up in Elsinore?) there was a place the Anglo-Saxons called 'Sedge brook'. Sedges are a sort of grassy plant that like the verges of streams, but they are pretty common. It's a bit like calling a moor 'Grasmoor" I suppose.)  But the sedges must have seemed distinctive enough to name a small village for them. It's quite sensible when you think about it though. The Strand is just a strand=beach and there must be many beaches. Sedgebrook wasn't Redbrook or Rushbrook, which would have been easily distinguished.

Along came the Vikings and had a big local influence, so it got renamed 'Star beck'. You can see the words are the same but Vikings and Anglo-Saxons just had different dialects. 

Back to coffee. As The Inky Fool describes some people from Starbeck acquired the surname 'Starbeck' because that's where their ancestry was from. Back then not everyone was a good speller. So we got 'Starbuck'.

People called Starbuck crossed the Atlantic to Natucket Mass.They became big in whale hunting. They were so famous that when Hermann Melville wrote 'Moby Dick' he called one of the ship's main people, apart from the obsessional Ahab, Starbuck.

Now, when the founders of Starbucks were searching for a company name they looked in Moby Dick. I'm not sure why really but the notion isn't silly and turned out rather well.

To go back to the beginning. Regulars at the Moon Under Water hate rhino and whale hunting.

So perhaps the human race is becoming more honourable in spite of all.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post