7 Oct

Since when have single women still been called ‘spinster’?

Have been filling out probate forms today, and got annoyed at having to describe Rosie as a spinster. She wasn’t a  spinster living in a garret in Victorian England. Perhaps I should have scrawled it out.

And . . . why are dead people called ‘the late . . . . ‘  Rosie was never late and got really irritated with people who were. So it seems very odd to describe her as ‘late’ now.  Had a post load of official letters today, you see.

Apart from that, and chuckling at all your comments, it’s been a busy day at TKOE. We’ve sold out of several items of stock, so a new tea towel design is in production, a new bag design is nearly with us and there is another design which Rosie was deciding what to use it for, which is the  subject of much Twitter action.

And Calum took me to The Lion King 3D and stood in the aisle at the end, singing at the top of his voice with his arms outstretched, until the cinema worker/usher/person (what are they called?) joined in.

I think I’ll put a photo up tomorrow.


25 Responses to “Spinster”

  1. Jilly (beckys aunty) October 7, 2011 at 7:08 pm #

    Good for Calum sign your heart out loud so rosie can hear you all x

  2. Jilly (beckys aunty) October 7, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

    sorry meant to say sing

  3. Sue McConnell October 7, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

    I loved your description of Calum singing! It has really cheered me up! I am so glad you are continuing with the messages. Thank you!

  4. Ally (Mother's Brother) October 7, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

    You would have thought that my sister or brother in law, with their backgrounds in education could have found this out for themselves.

    mid-14c., “female spinner of thread,” from M.E. spinnen (see spin) + -stere, feminine suffix. Spinning commonly done by unmarried women, hence the word came to denote “an unmarried woman” in legal documents from 1600s to early 1900s, and by 1719 was being used generically for “woman still unmarried and beyond the usual age for it.”

    Agree that beyond usual age to be married is pushing it a bit at 19. Also have to admit it is not the most poetic of words but I don’t think that there is any other term in common use.

    late (adj.) Look up late at Dictionary.com
    O.E. læt “occurring after the customary or expected time”
    Appropriate really.

    Maybe you could start a new movement to get everyone singing along at the end of all films, it would be really good. Calum the trendsetter. Look forward to the photos.

    Any other research required just post.

    Love to you all.x

  5. Lucy and russ October 7, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

    I now have “it’s the ciiiiircle of liiiife” going on in my head now. Good work Cal, I think we should all go and watch it and do the same. X

  6. Deborah Morgenstern October 7, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

    Ooh – can we have tea-towels with the lovely bright design that was on the bag? I love that design, but I’m really not much of a “bag” person.

    I particularly like it, too, as it has the full name on , rather than TKOE, which tends to provoke more questions from people. I then can get to talk about Rosie, which is always nice. 🙂

    Spinster? Is there a male equivalent? Seems a bit of an odd thing to have on a form in 2011. If we’d known she had to fill that title, we would have got her to do more pointwork embroidery during her school lessons, rather than filling her “pretty little head” with all those books and science and learning.

  7. celia butler October 7, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

    I completely agree with your terminological annoyance. Sounds like some of those official documents could do with some serious updating.
    Good news that TKOE is doing so well, and great timing for the new stock ( i.e. for Christmas). Give us all a nudge once they’re in the shop.
    And good for Calum on his interactive performance at the Lion King. I bet it made those cinema worker’s day!
    I don”t really understand Twitter but am wondering if I’m missing out on something. Should i be joining in?
    A photo would be lovely. x

  8. Rose Mayerling October 7, 2011 at 8:19 pm #

    Oh Cinema sounds Great , I am looking forward to going to see it…….. , will think of Cal and maybe join him !!! would love to buy Tea towle when in stock ,
    So hard dealling with all the leagal paper work , I know my son and Granchildren found it hard when we lost my Daughter In Law , talk soon Jo , Love rose XXXXX

    • jill Clayton October 7, 2011 at 8:56 pm #

      It’s lovely to think of Calum singing. I don’t think people sing nearly enough. I was shocked when I came here to England (from Wales) and found people looked at me me oddly if I walked down the street singing.
      Re spinster: I suppose the male equivalent is a bachelor. The Victorians would refer to a “gay bachelor” but the meaning of that is now quite different.

      • Julia October 8, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

        I agree Jill. l’ve lived in Wales for 2 years and I go to a singing group and love it.

  9. Amy October 7, 2011 at 9:14 pm #

    Go Calum! I expect he was doing what everybody else in that Cinema secretly wanted to do. “CAN YOU FEEL THE LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE TONIGHT” I always have to remind myself to not stand up and clap at the end of a good film at the Cinema!

    Amy xxx

  10. Natalie Bones October 7, 2011 at 9:15 pm #

    Oh I love Calum (yes I’ve finally dropped the extra L, Rosie) !!! He’s awesome!!

    And I think Aaron is very excited about helping out with TKOE. 🙂 x

  11. Deb Walker October 7, 2011 at 10:01 pm #

    …. freedom to live life without all those boring inhibitions …. fearing what people may think? No ….. way to go Calum!!!! I am picturing him right this minute …. and remembering some of the extra-special Calum ‘moments’ from the past too! A breath of fresh air ….

    Love singing!

    Spinster …. batchelor …hmmm! Batchelor seems more acceptable than spinster as a word these days, doesn’t it?

    Can’t begin to imagine all the letters and paper work you are having to deal with ….

    Thinking of you all, on and off, every day. Just wish we lived nearer!

    Love to all,
    Deb and gang xxxxxxxxxxxx

  12. margaret crisp October 8, 2011 at 9:06 am #

    Hi Jo, I have a loathing for paperwork so would be of no use when it came to form filling. John does the english tax form and I convert it to euros for the french one…
    Am pleased Calum enjoyed the lion king, sounds as idf you’ll have to get the cd so you can listen to it and sing along in the car etc.
    All ok here, but decidedly autumnal…

  13. Pip Armstrong October 8, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    Good man Cal, Lion King today, next stop X Factor lol 🙂
    Spinster is just a word isn’t it, not sure there is an alternative or perhaps a catch all unisex ‘unmarried’ would be better. I would go on the No 10 website and send them a message if I were you 🙂
    I’m sure doing all the paperwork relating to Rosie’s passing is very difficult, kind of makes it all final and real when it’s down on paper doesn’t it, keep strong x

  14. Julia October 8, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

    I really dislike the word spinster, but what I find even more annoying is that as a woman you have to have a title that relates to your marital status. Whenever you give your name you are always asked “Is that Miss or Mrs?” whereas men are always just Mr. Grrrrrr.

    Go Cal! Perhaps you should take him to that singing group Jo!

    For those of you who took the time and trouble to do a bit of googling the other day, my Niddy Noddy has now had 2 coats of wax and is just lovely. I’ve spent 2 days waxing the 20 constituent parts of my spinning wheel (twice) and it’s now nearly assembled.

    • Michelle Gabriel October 10, 2011 at 7:57 am #

      I’m so with you about the Miss, Mrs thing.
      Especially as I’m married but I’ve kept my maiden name, the assumptions that go with that are amazing.
      And spinster is used quite derogatory sometimes.
      And I also don’t like the use of the word ‘late’ as in dead. And being the pedant I am (soory if this offends people) I find that using the term ‘we lost him/her’ quite bizarre. I know it’s meant someone died but how did lost become to mean died.
      Ally (Mother’s brother) – please shed some light on this.
      Anyway, glad Calum sang. Singing is good for the heart and soul. Good exercise and a joyful thing to do.
      Take care, you’re always in my thought.

      • Julia October 10, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

        Yep I kept my maiden name too. Paul keeps threatening to change his surname to mine because he’s fed up of being called Mr Fox.

  15. Jonquil October 8, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    Don’t know what your local Probate Office is like, Jo, but a friend of mine who was recently widowed had her appointment letter today, and was disconcerted to be told that

    1. She must not bring a knife with her to her appointment;
    2. If she did so, it would be confiscated and not returned.

    So there you are. As for “spinster”, it may be old fashioned and slightly offensive these days, but look at it this way – before the Industrial Revolution, spinning was an essential activity, a spinster was “economically active”, could put clothes on her own back and sell the yarn she made, and was therefore every bit as productive a person as any bloke! And not a garret in sight!

  16. Chris October 8, 2011 at 4:23 pm #

    Dear Jo, Chris and family,

    Sorry for not posting replies of late, Bev and I have been busy with our eldest grandson who decided to up sticks and come to live with us, lock, stock and barrel, lol.

    Reading and completing government forms is a nightmare Jo, I have been doing this for weeks too. Sorry they still use the term “Spinster”, hardly the right word to discribe such a vibrant young lady such as Rosie. May be they should allow an alternitive word or fill in answer box other as Young Lady? Always difficult to complete government forms as they never allow what we really need to say or there discription is 100 years out of date taking us back to Victorian times. I can imagine what Rosie would be saying to them right now and them becoming speechless, lol.

    Glad Calum enjoy the film and singing too, nothing like enjoying one’s self and others joining in too.

    Hope you all are managing OK, I try to read your TKOE blog every day and report to Bev and Kyle (Grandson 17 years old) how you are all doing and show them each link you have posted too. Good to here TKOE is still selling well and those good causes Rosie picked will soon appreciate how much Rosie and the Kilburn family have put into this project to help cancer sufferers survive.

    I am due back to hospital soon and another bone scan due in December, my cancers are giving my doctors a run for their money even if the doctors and government are cutting back on the good drugs and issuing poor generic drugs in there place.

    We send all our love to the Kilburn family and friends, and include Rosie in our daily prayers along with our families.

  17. Chris October 8, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

    PS, Jo, ever thought about taking on the government and getting them to change the slightly ofensive name spinster? I am sure Rosie and the TKOE friends would have done that as a team effort, so why not get your local MP to do it in Rosie’s name If they support it start a petition?

  18. dawn October 8, 2011 at 8:39 pm #

    Spinster?! I agree that it’s so outdated, certainly for Rosie. How about simply ‘single’? Too simple? All that beaurocratic paperwork must be tiring, so thankgoodness for Calum and his singing at the cinema to cheer you up, hey! I went to watch mamma mia but didn’t feel brave enough to sing out loud, let alone at the end of the aisle…what fun Calum must have had doing that! It made me 🙂 reading about it.
    Do enjoy your blogs Jo, thankyou.
    Dawn x

  19. Ally (Mother's Brother) October 10, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    As Michelle asked I have found the following that may explain why we say “tolose someone”

    lose : O.E. losian “be lost, perish,”

    Looks like its those old English words again. Appears that in Modern English we have taken several different words and replace them with one hence we have so many meanings for a word and sayings that don’t always appear to be appropriate but are in common usage. So we use lost to mean perished.

    Can I point out that I am an engineer not student of the English language so any answers I give are a product of the InterWeb and not me actually knowing what I am talking about. However if I make a complete horlicks of it I am sure Jo or Chris will be able to point out the error of my ways. Now if you want to install a robotic production line then that would be all my own work:)

  20. Ally (Mother's Brother) October 10, 2011 at 9:55 am #

    OK last one

    c.1300, “young man;” also “youthful knight, novice in arms,” from O.Fr. bacheler (11c.) “knight bachelor,” a young squire in training for knighthood, of uncertain origin, perhaps from M.L. baccalarius “vassal farmer,” one who helps or tends a baccalaria “section of land.” Or from L. baculum “a stick,” because the squire would practice with a staff, not a sword. Meaning evolved from “knight in training” to “young unmarried man” (early 14c.). Bachelor party as a pre-wedding ritual is from 1882.

    So unmarried women have to spin wool and unmarried men have to carry a stick.

    Language is a very strange thing but I like to think Rosie would have enjoyed debating the rights and wrongs of it.

    • Michelle Gabriel October 10, 2011 at 10:56 am #

      And nowadays man just spin and women give stick 🙂
      Tee hee

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