This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Spot the Frippet: something tawdry.

We're looking for something cheap, showy, and of poor quality, here, but that's so easy that it'd be much more of a challenge to go an hour without spotting something tawdry.

If that's the way you'd like to do it, I'd suggest a walk in the countryside, or a long look at the sea, the clouds, or the stars - or, on the other hand, you could take yourself round a big department store like Harrods.

Whatever you see there, it certainly won't be cheap.

Spot the Frippet: something tawdry. Ethelthryth, also known as Etheldrida or Audrey, was a queen of both Northumbria and the English Fens in the 600s. She received the city of Ely as a wedding gift and is now its patron saint. She was twice married but never shared a bed with a man, which she managed by means of persuasion, flight, a miraculous tide, and an equally miraculous staff which grew into an ash tree.


She died on 23rd June 679, and a fair in Ely was held annually on this date in her honour. 

The word tawdry is a shortened form of Audrey, so the quality of the good and prizes on offer can't have been any higher than at fairs nowadays.


  1. When I was a teenager I had a character called Tawdry Audrey in one of my books ... thought I was being so clever! So original! All these years later, I have at last been enlightened ... Jean

    1. Thank you, Jean. The mystery for me is why Ethelthryth came to be known as Audrey. I sort of imagine all the fen-dwellers in those times having Cockney accents - or perhaps they just spoke a lot with their mouths full!