26 July 2010
Ping-pong, whiff-whaff and other stinky things
100 table tennis tables have appeared at prime locations around London.
More about that below, but it got me thinking that the names 'ping-pong' and 'whiff-whaff' both sound like bad smells, hence this collection of stink pipes, also known as stench pipes.
These tall metal tubes, larger versions of the ones found on many old houses, were put in place to direct the foul smells from underground passageways up and above and away from our ancestors' nostrils, and as you can see, a lot of them are still in place today. Many were quite ornate and designed to blend in with the other street furniture of the day. Indeed, these days, sometimes it's hard to discern whether what's left used to be an arc light or a stench pipe.
The month-long ping pong table event in London is supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England’s Innovation Fund and aims to get a million more people playing more sport by 2012. It will then travel to four more UK cities over the next two years, returning to London for 2012 in time for the Olympic Games.
Oh, and according to Boris, whiff-whaff is/was table tennis's original name... something to do with that being the sound the champagne cork made as it was hit with a hard-backed book or cigar tin back and forth across the dinner table.