To misquote my dear old mum, decide in haste; repent at leisure. What on earth possessed me to choose the name Gruts?
“What? Did you say grunts?”
“No, gruts: G-R-U-T-S.”
“GRUTS? That’s a strange name.”
“Yes, I suppose it is.”
“What does it mean?”
“It doesn’t mean anything*: it’s just a funny word. I wish I’d chosen something else. I seem to spend an awful lot of time spelling it out phonetically for people. It’s from a poem by Ivor Cutler.”
“He was a Scotch gentleman, but it’s really not that important.”
“What, there’s a poem called Gruts?”
“Well, Gruts for Tea, actually… And it’s not really a poem; it’s more of a monologue.”
“How does it go?”
“A bit like this…”
It would appear that the word gruts is not quite as meaningless as I once believed: not only have I received an e-mail from a woman in Holland named Ms Grut (who wondered if we might be related), but I also came across the following definition on a website that isn't there any more:
GRUTS. Groats: hulled, or hulled and crushed, grain, usually oats but sometimes wheat, barley or maize. (Glasse, 1747)
…And, more recently, I’ve been informed that gruts is Kiwi slang for underpants.
…And Charles Darwin temporarily employed a governess for his children called Miss Grut.
…Oh, and it's also Latvian for ‘rigid’.