In Middlesex.

En Middlesex .

In Middlesex

English version below the pictures .

   Dans son livre publié chez Harrowsmith à Londres en 1889 , ( Trois hommes dans un bateau) JK Jerome raconte qu’il avait l’ habitude de faire du canot sur la Tamise . Au chapitre 6 il nous dit qu’un jour il  heurta la rive de la rivière , côté Middlesex ! C’ était lui qui gouvernait . Où avait – il la tête ?
 Une note du livre précise que Middlesex était un ancien comté du Nord – Ouest du grand Londres .. mais en lisant cela j’ étais intrigué par ce nom ; Middlesex ! Quel nom pour un lieu !!! la racine du mot est sexe .( sex ) . Bizarre !
Très étrange quand vous pensez que c’ était le temps très strict de la glorieuse et victorieuse Reine Victoria !
  Et que dire de «  Middle « ? Au milieu de ? En son  milieu de ? A moitié ? Cela n ‘ a aucun sens ! Bien entendu de nos jours le sexe est dans l ‘ air et notre esprit en est martelé . Ce nom se référait – il réellement au sexe ? Cela demandait d’ approfondir .

On the river Thames (sur la Tamise) drawing by Michel Fauquet
They were two in the boat and not three when they hit the bank of the Thames

  In his book published by Harrowsmith in London in 1889,( three men in a boat), J K. Jerome relates he used to ride a small boat with friends on the river Thames. At the chapter 6 he tells us he hit once the bank of the river, Middlesex side! He was driving! Where was his mind?

 A note in the book  specifies Middlesex was an ancient county  of the North West of the Great London .But at reading this I was intrigued by this name . Middlesex ! What a name for a place ! The root of the name is sex . Weird ! Very strange when you think it was the very strict  time of the glorious and victorious Queen Victoria!

And what about Middle ? At the middle ? In the middle ? half ??  This has not any sense !!!! Of course , nowadays ,  sex is ” floating in the air ” and we  have our mind hammered by this . Was this name  really to refer to sex ? This asked to go further .


En cherchant sur Internet dans Wikipedia  J’ appris que durant et après le 5ème siècle les Saxons , germaniques à l’ origine avait envahi tout le Sud – est de l’ Angleterre . Selon Wikipedia 4 royaumes séparés émergèrent : le royaume d’ Essex pour les Saxons de l’ Est , la province de MIDDLESEX pour les Saxons situées au milieu géographique , le royaume de Sussex pour les Saxons implantés au Sud et le royaume de Wessex pour les Saxons vivant plus à l’ ouest ( west ) !! J’ avais donc trouvé dans Wikipedia une réponse à ma question ambiguë et je mesurais combien elle était vraie la devise écrite en Français de l’ Ordre anglais de la Jarretière créée par le roi d’ Angleterre Edouard III en 1348 «  HONNI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE «  
   J ‘ ajouterai : Qui questionne apprend !! 


Sign of The order of the Garter . Source Wikipedia 
Insigne de L ‘Ordre de la Jarretière

  In searching Online on Wikipedia I learnt during and after the 5 th century the Saxons , Germans at the origin ,  had invaded completely the south east of England  . According Wikipedia 4 separate Saxon realms  emerged : the Kingdom of Essex for  the East Saxons ; the province of MIDDLESEX for the MIDDLE SAXONS, the Kingdom of Sussex for the Saxons settled in the South  and the Kingdom of Wessex for the Saxons living in the west  !!!  So I found in Wikipedia an answer to my  ambiguous question and I thought inside myself how true was the motto written in French of the British  Order of the Garter created by the English King Edward III in 1348 : HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE  ( evil be to him who evil thinks )

    I shall add : who questions learns !! 


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80 Responses to In Middlesex.

  1. suester7 says:

    That was a very enlightening post and I learnt quite a bit of English history! Indeed, he who questions, learns!

  2. mrswrangler says:

    Intresting hope your doing well friend

  3. puffpop says:

    language is fascinating…The English language is a conglomerate….a Germanic language. Early English is a lot like German. And of course, we borrow from the French. Interesting. I have a great deal of admiration for people who do not have English as a native language and yet do learn it, such as yourself. So Middle, Southern, East and West when attached to the “SAXon people makes logical sense. “Sex” of course is a word often though of and seems to be what makes the world go round. Without it, we just wouldn’t be here.

    You are quite a thinker. Not only that, but a talented illustrator.

    I hope you and your beautiful family are doing well. Don’t you have family living in England?
    votre amie,
    In English, we have “amiable” and “amorous” just a few examples of the French origin of so many of our words.

  4. blb1 says:

    A nice drawing for this post Michel. I have a book on street name origins in this city written by my hand doctor no less. He was unable to find the origin of “Can’t Stop” which is a small street on our East side. I also wondered when I saw that street sign.

  5. cocosangel says:

    I have been to Middlesex in London UK a lot. That is where my grandaunt lived. I treasure those times, when I visited her. She was my Grandmother’s youngest sister, and looked exactly like her.
    It is true, to have the word sex, during the Queen Victoria time!

  6. Pam says:


  7. Fascinating history and a delightful drawing

  8. Eat Right Chef Louisa says:

    This is such an amusing post, Michel. I had a good laugh at Middle”sex”! Your curiosity and thirst for knowledge has rewarded you with the interesting story behind the strange names of English places. Well done!

  9. Marion Manson says:

    Interesting how names come about! Love your drawings, Michel. ❤

  10. Stéphanie says:

    Voilà un peu d’histoire de l’Angleterre, envahi depuis que l’homme a pu traverser la mer. Pendant le fameux ‘Boat Race’ entre les universités Oxford et Cambridge (événement annuel en avril sur le Tamise) ils font référence aux côtés Middlesex ( côté nord je crois) et côté Surrey ( le nom d’un département administratif au sud). Les équipes ont le choix de commencer la course côté Middlesex ou Surrey, est-ce qu’il y a un avantage l’un sur l’autre, je pense que oui….
    Nous allons bien merci. Petit a petit nous demenageons de notre appartement à Remuzat pour habiter a plein temps en Angleterre.

    • Merci pour ton complément à ce post , Stéphanie ..
      Je suppose que vous alez habiter à plein temps en Angleterre pour vous rapprocher de ta mère .
      Amitié à vous deux

  11. weggieboy says:

    There is no such thing as a retired educator! This was a most interesting post since English place names oftentimes date back centuries, during which the language changed but the pronounciation or spelling gives clues to the earlier roots. That is to say, lots of them are just big mysteries you will never guess how to pronounce! LOL!

  12. Anne-Marie says:

    Tout de suite pensé au duc et à la duchesse de Sussex en commençant à lire ton post car en français cela peut évoquer plus que la famille royale (sourires)

    A part cela, très intéressants sujet et histoire d’Angleterre. Merci de tes toujours très beaux posts cher Michel

    Amitiés, AM

    • Oui c ‘ est l’ ambiguité apparente du mot qui m’ a fait effectuer une recherche et j’ai pu constater effectivement que honi soit quoi mal y pense . Merci Anne-Marie

  13. Always an intriguing and most interesting narrative from you Michel. I enjoyed. Be well dear friend. Love,♥️

  14. Haha! Followed the rabbit trail to discovery meaning in a name’ did ya? Sounds like you had fun!

  15. calmkate says:

    lol love your sense of humour in this apt lesson, and great sketch of the row boat!

  16. says:

    We do love strange names in this country but well done for your research on how Middlesex got its name 🙂

  17. HA! 😀 I laughed! “Where was his mind”, indeed! 😉 😀 (Probably where my mind always is! 😮 ) Hmm…middle…there is, also, top and bottom! 😛 Okay. I better stop now.

    OH! Michel, you have a teacher’s heart and mind! And you always teach us! Thank you! 🙂
    I love learning how cities, towns, etc., get/got their names! 🙂
    And you know I always love your drawings!!! 🙂
    HUGS!!! 🙂
    PS…How are you feeling this week? You are always in my prayers.

  18. Zakiah says:

    I laughed too. A few years back I read a book, titled Middlesex. It was long, and boring and had nothing to do with sex! Gah! I have friends who live in Hillingdon in Middlesex, about twenty five miles or so away from London. Too bad i was not curious enough to ask about that name when i visited them in 2017.
    Neat post Michel. Very nice and out me in my place.
    Love and peace to you and your family.

  19. Interesting.
    Yes..ask questions and learn. 😉

  20. Tribo, OCarm says:

    interesting… and good to know it has nothing to do with sex but the saxons… but in my country its not unusual to have places with names with sexual implications…

  21. I’ve wondered about the origins of that name myself, Michel.

  22. Angela says:

    I love your curiosity! Your question made me giggle. I took t for granted since I know it’s just a city. Lol 😂 but that’s a fun laugh before I go to bed. Thank you dear Michel. You are too fun!🤣😁❤️💖 and I love your love of learning too! I’m hoping to instill that sort of curiosity in Isla but I’m not doing so well!! 💖love, Angela

  23. bernard25 says:

    Bonjour ou Bonsoir Ami MICHEL

    Tu vois
    Avec beaucoup de sincérité
    Je suis mon cœur
    Il a ses pensées , ses choix et ses propres idées
    C’est alors et seulement
    Que l’on devient acteur de sa vie

    Il faut dans la vie savoir aussi
    Tendre la main à qui en a besoin
    Sans en espérer un retour
    Juste se dire que c’était bien

    Alors s’installe une belle harmonie avec soi-même

    Je te souhaite ce qu’il y a de meilleur
    Profite bien , belle journée
    Bisous , Amitié Bernard

  24. Rachel says:

    I like the statement, “who questions, learns.” We all should be more inquisitive.
    Spring is in full bloom! All the early flowers, trees and vegetables are out or fading. I have had delicious asparagus and rhubarb. Strawberries are next!

  25. Lavinia Ross says:

    I love your drawing of the boat, Michel! And thank you too, for the Wikipedia explanation!

    We are now entering the weather transition into summer here. More sunny days. The mornings are cool and breezy, the afternoons warm and dry. It is time to plant the vegetable starts.

    Love to you and the family, ❤

  26. I really enjoyed this. Have you heard the joke my father always told me about the American translation of Honi soit qui mal y pense? – Honey, your silk stocking’s hanging down!

    • I did not know. Thanks to report you father’s joke . This makes this post more funny, yet . 🙂
      Your father was a humorist and you have inherited his humor! 🙂

  27. A fun post, Michel! You have answered a question that many people must have wondered about. Thanks for clearing that up! And you reminded me of that great old saying: “honi soit qui mal y pense”.

  28. Barbara Lenjard says:

    Very interesting Michel. There is a town called Middlesex in New York State also. It was named after Middlesex in England. 💕💕💕

  29. LGail says:

    It’s always a good post when you add a drawing. Once I saw a plan for a house in a magazine and the plan was named Middlesex. I have no idea why. 🙂
    I read above where you are short of breath? are you better by now?

  30. Barbara Lenhard says:

    Interesting post Michel. I’m hoping a praying that the doctors find the cause of your shortness of breath. Have you been admitted to the hospital? Please be well. Love, Barbara 💕

    • I go to the hospital three times time per week for dialysis . I have probably not enough red cells in my blood and I will get an echography( ultra sound) of the heart on June 28
      Thanks to ask? Barbara .

  31. nhislop says:

    You are setting a good example for all of your former students by researching the answer to your question! I congratulate you!

  32. mlbncsga says:

    Mornin Glorie…”HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE” (evil be to him who evil thinks) .. I think I’ll make a poster of this to hang in my office… Our town is called Cave Spring, there is a cave and a spring flowing out of it into a beautiful reflecting pond, sometimes things are just the way they are! ilym

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