Friday, 10 February 2012

The Game of the Name

Ok, so I am eating my words after last month’s celebration of the ‘mild winter’ we’d been having, right up to the end of January. Hopefully, though, by the time you read this, everything (including my feet) will have begun to thaw. But I’m not making any predictions this time. I remember distinctly the spring of 2007 when Jem and I did an Easter egg hunt – in the snow. Scrabbling though the slush with his little numb fingers for frozen crème eggs. Brrr.

While Jem has been oblivious to the weather, with a packed schedule of swimming, Beaver Cubs, ‘multi-skills’ (like football but allowing for the fact that most Hanover boys appear not to recognise a goal nor understand that you can’t pick the ball up), and other indoor pursuits, La and I have been frequenting a shrinking number of locales: the laundrette (or ‘spin-spin shop’ as La knows it), the Tarner and Hanover centres, the library (wish they had a door or a gate on the kids’ section though, and I don’t buy any of their ‘health and safety’ reasons why not – what could be less healthy or safe than a place full of toddlers with unguarded access right onto the road – never mind all the other dangers IN the library – lifts and stairs and people who have to be arrested after threatening to ‘hurt you’, as happened to J the other day. The gentleman also called J’s jumper ‘gay’, which was what really offended him).

It’s interesting to see people’s reactions to Larkin’s name. Most people assume it’s after the poet or The Darling Buds of May, and a couple have suggested we named him after the Irish republican, Jim Larkin. The truth is we just liked the sound of it. And I’ve been noticing how names (at least in the bubble which is Brighton, or perhaps the south-east) with particular sounds seem to become popular trends. This is just anecdotal, of course, but amongst my children’s peers we have, overwhelmingly, names like Ella, Isla, Orla, Laila, Bella, Lola, Maya. Similarly I’ve noticed a local trend for short boys’ names beginning with or containing O: Louis, Otto, Arlo, Oscar, Oliver, Milo, Leo, Orin. Then there’s the wider trend for old-fashioned boys’ names – there will be a whole crop of dads called Stanley, Wilfred, Arthur, George etc in thirty odd years. At the moment the predominant dads’ names amongst my acquaintances seem to be Steve, Chris. Andrew, Matt, Kevin and John but the winner (by my totally subjective observations) is Simon. These will be the fuddy-duddy names of tomorrow. And Kate/Katy – one of the commoner names of my peer group, alongside Emma, Sophie, Jo, Lucy and Claire, will be too, sadly. I fear I may have lost some of you – I’ll leave it there. Til next time, happy nearly spring-time!

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