It isn’t easy, choosing a name for a new arrival, no matter how many legs they have. Many and varied were the discussions in our house before Son 1 arrived. We wanted our baby to have his very own name, not a family name. And it should go with our surname, and not be contractible into something daft. One of my favourites – Laurent – went right out the window when I heard a child in a shop call after his brother, ‘Lolo! Lolo!’ There are limits.
Son 2 was even more difficult. This time, we knew it was boy, but it still took twice as long to make our choice. When he arrived I heaved a sigh of relief. Our family was complete, no more endless name-choosing discussions. How wrong I was…
They weren’t really first pets as we already had a budgie called Balthasar (one of the three wise men – we got him around Christmas). Anyway, we bought two female guinea pigs and the discussions started again, this time with input from the boys. Ignoring the female bit, we christened them Siegfried and Solomon, but it wasn’t long before they were Sigi and Soli. The boys were over the moon, and when Sigi had four babies just a few weeks later they were over all the planets too. (Apparently it isn’t easy to sex guinea pigs, even for experts…)
‘No, we can’t keep them – no names, please,’ I told the boys. ‘They’ll go to homes of their own and get their names there.’
To make up for the loss of the baby guinea pigs we bought a fish tank and four nice orange goldfish. That started a decade-long name-finding discussion. We started with Benny, Jim-Bob, Phillipe and Awls, who over the years were replaced by Seamus, Jaws, Patch, Charles, Rafo, Raya, Jaws 2, Moby Dick, Orka, Traugöttli, Captain Hook, Jaws 3, Peter Pan, Wendy, Flipper, Jemima, Beethoven, and Jaws 4. And yes, we wrote them down!
Meanwhile, Balthasar died and Beano arrived. He, however, proved a poor sickly creature and made way fairly swiftly for Hannibal. Hannibal was the boss. He terrorised everyone for years, including next door’s parrot when he came to stay one Christmas.
Sigi and Soli were six years old now, and when they passed away we bought Tüpfli and Tarragon. Tarragon sadly went the same way as Beano, so Tam Tam arrived and she didn’t come alone. Not long afterwards she had a single baby who later went to live with the neighbours and was christened Adidas. He was the last chapter in our guinea pig story, though Tam Tam and Tüpfli lived five and six years respectively.
We were now at the last remaining goldfish, Jaws 4. Son 2 wanted to start a tropical fish tank, and he did, but they were serious fish and didn’t get names. By now we had two budgies, Woodstock and Geronimo, and they were the last ones too. Again, I heaved a sigh of relief – we really were finished with the name-finding now. This time, I was right. Shiva arrived in the family with her name already in place.
But never say never…
PS I was really chuffed to see that The Cold Cold Sea collected its 50th 5* rating on Goodreads this week. Huge thanks to all! 🙂