[DWJ] DWJ Names Invade My Mind

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Thu Dec 14 19:47:57 EST 2006

Kyra wrote:

>I'm writing a paper just now that is partly on _The Bostonians_, and I
>just realized that instead of writing "Verena Tarrant," I've been writing
>"Verena Bland."  Whoops!  I think that those are probably the only two
>people, fictional or real, whom I've ever heard of with the name Verena,
>which is probably why the confusion.  And I suppose that _Aunt Maria_ and
>_The Bostonians_ are both about gender roles. . . .

There is a Verena who is something of a Local Character in this part of
Bristol.  She's small and well-preserved and in her seventies and she
generally wears tight Lycra costumes in either black or bright red or pink,
shiny plastic coats and jackets, white plastic boots, and very often a long
and utterly unconvincing blonde wig.  She's eccentric to the point of
causing her boyfriend to paint someone's car pale "hospital" green
overnight, and of making somewhat strange and various accusations about her
neighbours at the police station round the corner -- last time I caught up
with the gossip, I was a member of the IRA, the Mafia, the CIA and the CID,
and in league with the Post Office to put listening devices into her
telephones.  Oh, and I'm a Scottish Nationalist as well, for some reason.

She once came up to me when I was sitting on a bench in the local shopping
centre and accused me of having followed her there, which led to me asking
"if I was following you, how come I got here first?" and then wondering in
a mad way whether she would come back with Peter Sellers' line about
following someone very fast, from *What's New Pussycat* -- but she didn't,
she just started telling a total stranger who was sitting on the next bench
all about how evil I was, and how I had caused Tony Benn to cut her

Maybe the gossip about her happened to reach DWJ (well, ok, when Verena
does something more than usually daft I tend to mention it, because it
often makes a good story) and she remembered the name when she had got the
surname Bland for Dad's new girlfriend, and went with the attraction of
opposites.  Nobody could *possibly* call Our Verena "bland".


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