Thursday, April 17, 2008

Name that girl

I have a few friends who are currently choosing baby names, so the topic has been on my mind lately.

Not long after I met P, he told me that his favourite name for a girl was Gladys. As soon as he announced this, the trace on my internal incompatibility sensor was jolted into action and jumped right off the screen: in a split second I realised just how deep some cultural differences might run. For him, Gladys (or rather Gladees, for that is how it is pronounced in French) called up images of trendy little girls but for me — and the entire English-speaking world — it meant old ladies who smelled of mothballs and pan drops.

When I was sifting through the detritus in the attic for that vide grenier a couple of weeks ago, I came across a page that I'd pulled out of my old filofax in 2002. It was a list of alternative names that I had come up with for the baby girl gestating in my tummy that year.

I offer it up to any of you who may be having babies this year - unless of course you're more of a Gladys sort of person, in which case I suggest you just skip the pram and go straight for the zimmer frame.

Lois
Ashley
Esmé
Ailie
Clara
Ailsa
Iona
Imogen
Eulalia
Leila/Lelia
Anya

(Oh, and it isn't on the list but we called her Éloïse, in the end. Certainly not Eulalia — what was I thinking?)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

This 'n that

I'd better post something now before this whole blog shrivels up and dies.

So what have I been up to for the last few weeks that has kept me away from here? I wish I could tell you that I have been busy writing a masterpiece, or carrying out some ground-breaking research, or taking up an extreme sport, or repainting the house, or training for a marathon, or undergoing tasteful yet very effective plastic surgery. But I haven't.
  • I've been greedily devouring the first two series of The Wire and am now well and truly hooked.
  • I've also been reading books. Notably, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell — an excellent novel about the scandal of psychiatric internment of perfectly sane people into old age; and Toast by Nigel Slater — a wonderfully evocative book in which the author's memories of childhood food are wound into the story of his early life. (It made me remember the exact feeling of sticking my tongue into a walnut whip and searching out every last bit of the white creamy insides. Yes, he makes it sound suggestive too.)
  • I made some excellent banana and cinnamon muffins ...... and some cheese and spincah muffins that had to go straight into the bin.
  • I spent a dreich afternoon watching children run around in a frenzied state of over-excitement at the annual school carnival after weeks of anticipation.
  • Spent the whole of last Sunday standing outside flogging a lot of old rubbish at a "vide grenier". Made €130 so it wasn't all bad.
  • Had an excellent meal at a Sardinian restaurant and a truly dreadful experience at a new Japanese restaurant.
  • Opened a new language centre at work (opened as in set-up, not actually cut a red ribbon while wearing white gloves) .
  • Developed a fleeting addiction to Scrabulous Blitz and then lost it when I realised how bad I was at it despite a massive investment of time and mental effort.
  • Booked a place in Moliets for the upcoming spring holiday.