Monday, 19 April 2010


Names........what we call people, or things. A name is unique to that person/thing, and is the easiest way of identifying someone or something.I've no doubt some of you have noticed the picture of the rear light of one of my motorcycles at the top of my blog. I know I'm not the only one, but I've always given my bikes names. I'm a great believer in inanimate objects having personalities. And if that is so, then that personality should have a distinctive name.Currently, my four bikes are the LittleInsect, Terry, PanDora and Dolly.
Well, to start with the simplest - Dolly - is a Honda Deauville. She is very definitely a 'she'; mild-mannered, reliable, trustworthy, if a little bit of a 'Plain Jane'. She's the workhorse of the family. She does housewifely things like going shopping, and being used as the family taxi.
PanDora is a Honda Pan European. We resisted the obvious name of Peter Pan, and opted for PanDora, because she's Dolly's bigger sister.
Terry - every time I get a new bike, the motorcycle forum I belong to runs a little competition to name it. For instance, the previous one was a Honda CBF600 in dark blue. For those who don't know, a CBF600 is a detuned version of the Honda Hornet. The name chosen for that one was Bluebottle (buzzy little thing with no sting in the tail). Now, Terry is a Honda CBF1000 in a blazing orange metallic.At the time I bought him (oh, yes, most certainly male), Dawn French had an advert on TV for a certain make of chocolate orange, that went 'It's not Terry's, it's mine). So the 'Nest decided my handsome orange bike should be Terry, because it's orange, and it's mine
And so we come to the LittleInsect. This one is a bit different. His name is a tribute by me, of a personal nature. When I bought him (in 1998) it was a new model that few people had seen at that point. In fact, I had the first one in the country sold to a member of the public.I took him round to show a dear friend, parking it next to his enormous BMW outside his house. He duly came out to look at it, and admire it. 'What's that?' he said. 'It's a Honda Hornet' sez I, proudly. He looked at the difference in size between the two bikes, and said 'hornet isn't really appropriate, it's really only a little insect'Shortly afterwards, he was diagnosed with the progressive form of MS, and his health is sadly now very compromised. But as long as I own the hornet, it will always be the LittleInsect, in tribute to a truly wonderful person and dear friend.
But, to get back to names - have you noticed how nobody, but nobody, ever likes their given name(s)? It occurs to me that this is because it is the one thing in our lives that we didn't choose. It's given to us by our parents, and is their choice, not ours. Of course, you have the option of calling yourself whatever you want, or indeed, changing your name by Deed Poll. But that doesn't alter the fact that you didn't choose your original given name.
My son is called Rene. On his first day at a new school, when he was about 6, the school rang me and asked me to go down and collect him, because he was in floods of tears, and they didn't know why. When I got there and talked to him, it turned out there was another child in his class with the same name, and it was a girl!. A slight touch of the Johnny Cash, Boy Named Sue, syndrome, I think. It took a lot of patience to calm him down, and explain that, although it was pronounced the same, her name was spelt Renee, and that as a big strong boy, he didn't have, or need the extra 'e' on the end of his name.
Well, he hated that name, until he became a teenager, when it all changed. He suddenly found that having an unusual name was a bonus when it came to dating, because all the girls remembered him
I do wish parents would take time to consider how giving a child an unusual, or even inappropriate name will affect them. Because it can, and does. They should also write the name down and look at the initials. (Malcolm Anthony Dean - guess what he was called at school)
Your name is the thing that readily identifies you to the world, and it is probably your most enduring and important asset. May all parents use a bit of common sense.

Update: Terry has been replaced by Arfur. Why Arfur? because he's my 'Daley' transport.

(won't mean anything to you unless you've seen 'Minder' on TV

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