Monday, January 04, 2010

Stobbie versus Nobbie



On my way home from dropping the bichons off for their regular grooming session (every five weeks, poor little white dogs who stay whiter than white this way) I saw an Eddie Stobart lorry and just had to yell at the top of my voice STOBBIE. This will sound absolutely crazy to you lot over the pond but Eddie Stobart lorries (the Stobbie) and their French rivals Norbert Dentressangle (the Nobbie) have long prompted this sort of daft behaviour in English and French people.

It's something that helped pass long car journeys, first with my parents and then with friends when we travelled around the UK on driving holidays - the first person seeing either a Nobbie or a Stobbie and yelling the name at the top of their voice didn't have to pay for their dinner that evening. Of course when I was a child I didn't have to pay either but it did guarantee me an extra pack of sweeties that day (favourite ones when a child were American Hard Gums that took forever to finish).

For anyone who thinks this all sounds just a bit too nutty to be true - this will confirm that Stobbies are indeed an English institution and - I've grudgingly got to admit - the Nobbies also prompt equally daft behaviour amongst the French

42 comments:

Mark said...

There is huge Eddie Stobart fan club in the UK - with spotters prizes,club badges etc. It began with a heavy hint of irony but now it is quite established and serious.

And, no, I am not a member!

Jennysmith said...

Yes, I remember Eddie Stobart. We used to use them a lot at work.

Its strange how much I remember about them. American hard gums?
Surely a kit kat or something would have been better.

Happy New Year xxx

Moannie said...

This is news to me, but then nothing about the English v French comes as a surprise, and heaven help me when England plays France at ANYTHING-I clearly rember JP and Number one and only son, outside on the balcony...JP in his 'citoyen' red hat and noaos waving a Tricolour when Fr. scored against England in some cup or other.As for car games...well thank you FF, you've given me an idea.

the fly in the web said...

Yes, I remember the points scoring for marking down Nobbies.
Wow, takes me back a bit, that.

Steve said...

I have done this and must say that it merely proves how boring most car journeys are these days...! Still, it's a bit more eco-friendly than spotting roadkill...

ewix said...

Totally impressed with the toilet fixing skills.
Something to make one glow with pride. I am an incompetent in that sphere.
Know nothing of Stobbies and Nobbies
only recall Nobby Styles of 1966 soccer fame. (I think)
Still horribly cold here.
Off to dog park bundled up hideously.

Completely Alienne said...

We always used to look out for Eddie Stobart lorries too. They all have a girl's name on the front so once my girls could read they always used to try and read the name as we passed one.

willow said...

That's too cute. We used to keep track of license plates. The first one to see one from each state won. (this was on a really long road trip) :^)

Lane said...

I still point them out and always say 'they're the cleanest lorries on the road you know'. Or 'do you know the drivers wear a uniform'. I don't know if these things are actually still true but it's nice to annoy any young passengers in the car:-)

Dumdad said...

Stobbie!!!!

I claim my free dinner.

French Fancy said...

Mark - but do you shout STOBBIE when you see one?

Jen - when I was young Kit Kats were over too quickly. I preferred chewy sweets that lasted forever.

Moannie - I remember one summer when France and England were playing each other in something and we could hear the cheers from our neighbours when their boys scored, so of course we had to cheer extra loud when the Brits scored. It must have been summer with the doors open because we do not live on top of them really.

tfitw - Seeing the Stobbie this morning - at a French roundabout - took me right back to being a kid again and shouting STOBBIE so very loudly - to myself!

Steve - the most reassuring thing around here - where most dogs take themselves for walks each day - is that there is very little road kill

Elizabeth - I don't feel anxious any more about going to the loo. I know exactly how to fix the float back on - it is such a good feeling. I've also been taught about turning the main water off and trip switches - 've just got to remember it all now
x


CA - yes, the article I linked to mentioned the girl's name on the front but I never knew that. I wonder if the Nobbie also has the same

willow - every country must have its own car games - when you are a child they are the dullest of dull things. My parents used to tell me how bored I was when we drove through the Alps. They would be pointing out what to me now would be deemed as a picture postcard view - only to have it sneered at by my 10 year old self.

Lane - Stobbies and Nobbies are always very gleaming and new - I've never seen an old shabby one. Vive Les Camions Stobbie et Nobbie!

French Fancy said...

Dumdad - we cross-posted. You have to be either standing or sitting beside me - and you have to beat me in the shout, to then qualify for the free meal. If you want to suggest to the Frog Queen that you relocate here for a while and shadow my movements - well, you might just get yourself a lovely meal gratis.

Bill Stankus said...

I don't recall any car games - just boring drives while I sat and read and re-read my comic books.

dragondays said...

When living in Deepest France I didn't know about the Stobbie and Nobbie thing...my wicked stepmother came to stay and one day in the car she screamed 'Nobbie' in her high pitched cackle and I almost drove off the road - silly bitch!

Kathy said...

I am not sure what planet I was on but I have never heard of this one lol, maybe because we never owned a car or went anywhere. You can guess what I will be doing on my next trip across the pond now though :-). Kx

Angie Muresan said...

Since I have never heard of either, I have no stories to share. Trying to think what the equivalent would be here in the US and can't come up with anything.
As kids on car trips we used to sing and make up stories. Nowadays my kids have a DVD player built in the back of the driver and passenger seat and they stay entertained that way, each watching their own movies. With their earphones on, the ride is pure bliss for me.

Vera said...

When out and about whizzing round the manic M25 I often used to see these lorries, and they always raised a smile. But I haven't connected with the French equivalent, so will watch out for them as we dawdle up and down our much calmer French roads.

bindu said...

Didn't know this little nugget of info before. Funny!

French Fancy said...

Bill - I could never concentrate on reading during car journeys. I'd just fall asleep if I tried - maybe that's why my mum put all my favourite books in the car

dragondays - hello there - I take it she wasn't your favourite person in France then

Kathy - they are such elegant lorries - if a lorry can indeed be elegant - you'll see them everywhere now the name is known to you


Angie - if only DVDs on the backs of the seats in front had been around when I was young. But then I wouldn't have had the chance to shout STOBBIE at the top of my voice - which I found myself doing automatically yesterday morning

Vera - I've seen a few Nobbies out here - and never shout NOBBIE as loudly as I do STOBBIE

bindu - see how odd us Europeans can be :)

LadyFi said...

Oh, I do love our daftness!

cheshire wife said...

I don't think that Eddie Stobbart existed when I was a child. Now they are base somewhere around here and whenever we go anywhere we see several of them.

A Happy New Year to you and Mr FF!

Lulu LaBonne said...

Darn - I didn't realise about not having to pay for dinner, I've been yelling away without getting my due prize.

BTW - It's Holland Park

Phil Lowe said...

I've not heard of this habit - sounds great fun though. I don't drive but when my ex and I used to drive to Mansfield along a long and hilly road through rural areas we used to shout "Piggies!" when we spotted the pigs in their little cosy huts en route. Also we used to say "eeeer Bunny" in a Bugs Bunny voice when we passed through the village of Bunny which is local to me. None of these things ellicited a free dinner though!

The Dotterel said...

I can't possibly print what we shout at the top of our voices when we're stuck behind the damn things on tiny, south Lincs roads!

French Fancy said...

Ladyfi - yes, it does sound pretty daft - but not as daft as me shouting STOBBIE to myself. It was so automatic - I had to chuckle

cheshire wife - I must have been about 12 or 14 when we first started the family game - and I'll be 52 in March. I feel old now :)

Lu - ah, I don't think it was Official Memorandam though. Good luck Lu - As a true North Londoner I don't know the West side very well, despite having lived in Notting Hill way back when. Holland Park itself is gorgeous though - I recall a lovely restaurant in the middle - I think it's called The Belvedere

Phil - Shouting Piggies and Bunny sounds almost as good

Steve - That made me grin from ear to ear

Rosie said...

dont know about Stobbies, perhaps we've been away too long...but everyone in our family yells NORBERT when we see one....

the fly in the web said...

Thanks for your kind support on mine...I've been in France so long I forget how odd it can look when I'm ranting away and the person reading wonders whatever sort of world I inhabit!

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Ha! We played the alphabet game with license plates when we would go on long car trips. Your game sounds way more fun :)

Veggie Carrie said...

I was bored and having a play on the black box and my match was you! A preference for mysteries over sci-fi, tea and cakes over death (!) and I can't remember what else. How about Stobbies or Nobbies?

French Fancy said...

Rosie - oh, do they say Norbert over here instead of Nobbie, that's interesting. A bit more formal then

tfitw - Reading your blog is like looking into my mind a lot of the time. I do wish you lived nearer - we'd have palled up irl by now if that were the case. Oh well, I seldom get interesting types in our neck of the woods.

ContemTroub - yes, but I bet your game had a bit more to it. Ours would sometimes go days without anyone spotting a Stobbie or a Nobbie

Carrie - you don't see the black box on many blogs any more. When I got mildly obsessed with it and must have clicked on scores and scores - I only ever got one return visit.

A Super Dilettante said...

My dearest, I've never heard of Stobbie before. I'm glad to hear that your bichons are having their hair-do. Are they sensitive (meaning fussy) about their hair? Your lovely letters arrived yesterday. I just love the sight of your handwriting and French stamped letter envelope. It made my day. It was a great day yesterday as my heating has been fixed (AT LAST!) and the landlord said he would give me a refund for the last month full rent. Thanks for all your supports darling xx

the fly in the web said...

Well, we've decided to sell the house and downsize....that's our positive thought for 2010, but I think we'll be heading for somewhere warm when and if that happens.
Time for big changes.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

"Dentressangle"...always conjures up blood, murder and entrails....you can see what sort of mind I have!

Funnily enough I'm reading Hunter Davies' "Walk along the Wall" and I didn't know until a couple od days ago that he'd written a biography of Eddie Stobart. I think it is still in print.

Eddie Stobbart is huge up here - as he is a local lad. He's just bought Carlisle airport and apparently it is to be called "Lakeland airport or The Lakes' airport". (You heard it here first!) We are bit put out that it is not called "Hadrian's airport or The Wall airport" or something. There is a bit of rivalry between us and "The Lakes" naturellement........

Hadriana's Treasures said...

of days ago....trying to type too fast....

Ann said...

I love to see an Eddie Stobbart lorry, it reminds me of Britain, you very rarely see any here, sometimes when driving to Dublin I come across one, and it is pure joy to see them.

DJ Kirkby said...

As a transplanted Canadian now living in England I can say that this is strange but true.

Maternal Tales said...

I tried to stop you deleting your Twitter account - I just replied to your 'I'm going to delete my account' tweet but I was a milisecond too late and you were gone. Boo hoo and darn it. Hope you're ok xxxx

French Fancy said...

ASD - I would have been astounded if you had known about Stobbies - see the drivel that my young womanish mind was filled with!

The bichons and their grooming is something with which I have very mixed feelings. I know it is wrong to beautify dogs to that extent, but this particular breed has a double coat that mats very very easily. I prefer to get them done by an expert very frequently - I've seen what happens if their coat is neglected. I hate combing them out and when we arrive at her place they do run to her and she picks them both up and covers them with kisses; I know they are not frightened or traumatised by her and that means a lot to me.

Glad the letter arrived - I only got your postcard yesterday - together with a letter my cousin sent me on the 7th November (postmarked the 9th Nov!!!!)

tfitw - good for you. The idea of having a huge French house is a lovely one but one can sometimes have just too much space. I look forward to reading about it.

Hade - he should have called it Stobbie's Airport. If I owned an airport I'd call it after me! I never realised that the Lakes and HW were in competition. I've been to both places and would be reluctant to say which was my preferred choice (although my favourite house was Ruskin's)

Ann - It's little things like that that can give one a pang of homesickness. I know what you mean.

Hiya Den - I always forget you are not a Brit. You must get homesick too.

Carol said...

I've never heard of this before!! Bizarre!!

C x

Sorry I've not been around much recently...the Uni assignments have been kinda taking over my life!! Normal (Well, what passes for normal in my house anyway) will be resumed at the end of January.

*hugs*

Ps. Hope your not missing Mr FF too much....you have been in my thoughts recently

Nora Johnson said...

Hi FF!
What a great post as always - simply loved it! And yes, I know the Stobbies & Nobbies only too well having had to crawl behind them so often on the M25 on my way to work!

Just to let you know too I’ve linked back to your wonderful site at my place!

Have a great week and look forward to *seeing* you again soon,

XOXO Lola:)

Owen said...

Hi FF, here's wishing you the happiest of new years...

In the US we used to exclaim "Padiddle" for a car coming the other way at night with one headlight out...

French Fancy said...

Carol - you are so busy that you are easily forgiven for not being around. I know what it's like and catching up takes so many hours

Lola - great to see you well and truly back

Owen - and the same to you matey - or mon ami I should say

bisous a tous