Lily, May, Rose, Lily

Thursday 21 June: By Any Other Name
The business of choosing names was made simple in Mum’s family; the girls were named after flowers, the boys were named after kings and the dogs – one at a time, thankfully – were all called ‘Prince’. Unfortunately there were a couple of hiccups when my grandfather went to register Mum’s birth. Probably because he’d been celebrating in the ‘Blenheim’ beforehand. ‘Lily’ and ‘May’ turned into Lilian May and, just to add an extra flourish, he landed Mum with the moniker, Doris, as a first name.

Well, I don’t know how Mum coped but I cringed for years every time I had to say what she was called. I mean, let’s face it; Doris has been in the deeply unfashionable drawer for so long it hasn’t even been revived by the young and trendy. Mum was the cook at a smart private school for years so we always got a flavour of what was in the ether. We were quite taken aback when a few Arthurs, my Dad’s name, trickled through but there was never a sniff of a Doris!

Until now. As Mum lay in hospital recovering from treatment on her back she was being cared for by a young Philippina nurse who expecting her first child, a girl. The nurse explained that, like my gran, she was thinking about giving her daughter a floral name. She liked Lily but it was Mum’s first name that really made her catch her breath. ‘Dorees!’ She sighed. ‘Now that is a very pretty name!’

Friday 22 June: Rose’s Day
The postman arrives early with a packet for me. Rose has sent me a CD with a note that brings tears to my eyes. Rose is left-handed and her distinctive writing, careful and rounded, reminds me of all the struggles at school when teachers tried to make her use a fountain pen. ‘I remember you saying you liked this so here it is,’ she writes. ‘I thought it would help reduce the waiting time to hear about your book.’

I’m not thinking about my book today though, because it’s close to ten o’clock, the hour when Rose’s final results are due out. I put on the CD and listen to Regina Spektor sing ‘Fidelity’. ‘And it breaks my heart’, the chorus line floats out across the room and I wonder how many more times my heart will break for my girls.

The phone rings just after ten. ‘Mum?’ Rose’s voice is thick with emotion. ‘I got a 2:1!’
Pondside, you were right. I didn’t stop smiling all day.

Sunday 24 June: Lily Moves On
As a huge ugly block of houses that look nothing like the plans appear in the field opposite me, I wonder where our children will live in the future. In Cardiff, Lily’s landlord has plans for the house she’s lived in for four years. She’s been lucky in many ways, to have had the benefit of a modest rent and, for the last year since her housemate moved out to find work in the south, she’s had the place to herself. Lily’s going to move in with three mates, all blokes from university in order to try to save some money but today, when she rings, I can hear that she’s down and a bit apprehensive.

As a small child Lily was afraid of everything. The world was full of unspoken terrors, which challenged her and reduced her to tears every day. I wondered how on earth my wary little girl was going to cope. Well, she just did. One day Lily just dug deep inside and found reserves of strength and courage we never knew were there. She’s brave and kind, the sort of person who walks into the room and makes everyone feel better.

You’ll be fine, Lily, you always are.

And Finally…
Still waiting for:
* Book news
* Glastonbury news (we didn’t go – no tickets). The only word from Stepson Two is a Facebook message to Rose to tell her he had returned ‘covered in muddiness’. He’s now back in the studio
*Asda to send Haze the vouchers they promised in return for sending her mouldy flowers on her birthday. You’re losing customers fast here Asda!

Hwyl fawr!

The painting is 'Margam Steelworks' by Tom Tomos


LittleBrownDog said…
Hi Chris - I loved your blog this week - laughed about the "names" one and found your words about your daughters really moving. You're obviously a great mum.
We have a friend who called their daughter Edith recently - now that's a name I thought would never come back. There's also a Norah at school - perhaps Doris isn't as far behind as we imagine...
toady said…
My ma - in - law [no longer with us] was Doris but was Dolly to everybody. I quite like Dolly it has a cheeky ring to it.
Woozle1967 said…
You must be bursting with pride - wonderful news. I'm left handed too!x
sally's chateau said…
Now just the book ... are the houses truly ghastly ? WHY can't they build something that is not an eyesore ?
FunkyMunky said…
I was saddled with a hideously unfashionable name until the time came when I could bear it no longer and changed it by deed-poll.
Best thing I ever did, though my mum wasn't too happy at the time! Especially as I got rid of my middle name too - Cardy - which was her mother's maiden name. I would've preferred Gladys (Grandma's first name)
Your words about your daughters were lovely. They are lucky to have such a caring mum!!
Rose1278 said…
Aww i felt quite tearful reading the blog this week! Thank you for all your love and support ma mere :) xxx
Gosh, still waiting for that book news!!

Still, at least Rose's good news took your mind off it for a while-I would be so proud too.

My Nan was called Ada. Her middle name was Lorraine after the posting her father went on in France in WW1 after she was conceived. But she always hated Ada and she has always been Lorraine.

warm wishes
BTW-tell Rose to get her profile sorted!! Just went to have a nose at your lovely daughter!

And is that her photo or Nicole Kidman!!??

warm wishes
Suffolkmum said…
My Grandma was Gladys - that hasn't come back either! Though we do have a Dolly and an Agnes as my son's school, so it's proabbly just a matter of time! I love your writing about your girls too, especially Lily, given that I can relate to girls who hold back fromt he world too.
elizabethm said…
I had a great aunt called Doris (actually two now i think about it but only liked one of them). suspect it might come back, after all we think alice is lovely now, or at least I do, and i remember quite clearly thinking that it was a harsh and ugly name many years ago. congratulations to rose, what a star.
Crystal Jigsaw said…
I haven't heard that name since I was fourteen years old and I went on holiday with my parents to Malta. An old lady called Doris latched onto my mum and we ended up taking her on day trips with us. Mum felt sorry for her!

Great news about Rose. I sense a very proud mum.

Still holding out for book news. When did it go in?
Crystal x
Exmoorjane said…
Hi Chris, still giggling at your comment about Rodrigo and his t-shirts.
My MIL is called Doris and has always hated it so much. Funny how, while so many old names have 'come back' this one hasn't..... though, having said that, neither has Phyllis or Ivy or Ethel.
Read on Angel's blog that you're having a tough time (sorry, that's the trouble with open comments).....hope it's nothing too serious....
Waiting for answers on books is just hell...... I've just heard that a non-fiction ghosting project has been canned (had a feeling it wouldn't make the grade - and not too upset) but fiction is grim....too personal by far.
Pondside said…
Good morning Chris. I'm always happy to see that you've blogged as I love to read 'you'.
It's interesting about names. The fashion here in boys' names right now is Kaden or Caeden or Kayden. I don't get it. My brother names his daughter Audrey - a big handle for a little girl!
Great news about your daughter's marks. Daughters are truly a blessing. I love my son dearly but often think of all that earlier generations missed out on in the obsession with having sons.
countrymousie said…
Another great blog - names are a worry arent they - lots of Mays as second names in our family.
We have a Doris and she is a young and active 91!! We had a Monica May and a Gladys May (or may not).
My mum was Monica which I loved.
Until the Bill Clinton thingy and then she got highly embarrassed!!
About to have two horrid exe houses spring up in the middle of our village on high ground - they got their permission but no idea how. Many objections but to no avail.
Just read your comment about the book and have answered my dismay on the other slot!
love and thoughts mousie x
So good to be back on line to comment, glad your daughter has grown up a coper (is that a word) as middle is afraid of everyting too at least I have hope now!!

Still crossing everything re book..
liz fenwick said…
Congrats to Rose!Well done.

I hope you are writing!!!!
Zinnia Cyclamen said…
Great news about Rose. Otherwise, maybe you should rename your blog 'The Waiting Room'... but Liz is right. Write stuff!
Hello Chris,
I had two Aunts by the name of Doris, not heard of much by younger generation now.Thank you so much for your comments and concern, so kind.
Preseli Mags said…
Hi Chris, just catching up on your blog. I loved the bit about names. funnily enough I've just put a picture of my (late) dog Prince on my blog. I used to work with a Doris and I agree with littlebrowndog and elizabethm that it is certain to come back into fashion soon. And well done to your Rose! I have a Rose too - actually she's a Rosemary and she's only three.
annakarenin said…
I remember reading this before signing out for the weekend and thought I had commented.

Anyway I caught your post on the main page and feel for you. What can I say though but that there was a positive note to it and just work on that and keep writing.

Pipany said…
My Dad was the worst for wear when he registered my sister's birth; he named her Shirley (agreed on by mum) and Edna (NOT agreed on by mum). When mum asked him why he put Edna, he replied that he'd once been 'engaged to a nice girl called Edna'!!!! Words simply fail! By the way Chris, don't lose heart about the book (easy for me to say). It WILL happen! xx
Well done to Rose - how proud you must all be.

My mum was called Elsie - I love the name now - but it is not popular - very coronation street. My Gran was Beatrice which is of course popular.

Sop sorry again about your book - but as we have all said don't you dare give in - this is just the start.

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