We have been reading with great interest the recent letters in your magazine from the people with the names. Of course, everyone has a name, excepting that cowboy that Clint Eastwood played, and those who wish to remain incognito - but even these people will often take an alias, such as Smith or Jones. But you get my point.
This is interesting to us because we have quite a riot with our names actually. We have fun, unlike some of these other people who appear to suffer with their names. It's a great lark for us.
We are three friends and we love to take the bull by the horns and make our own jokes about our names. We are always having a riot at the pub or down the gym, with our remarks such as "my calf injury is giving me jip, I think I'll have to cut the leg off and grow a new one!"
The other night we were sat by the fire at the Prince of Wales and we made a point of getting right up to it when others were backing off due to the heat. "Just another of the perks of being salamanders!" we giggled.
The only problem we do have is nobody knows what we are on about. We keep having to explain, and when we do that, it all seems so pointless. Never mind!
Sally ("Sal"), Alison ("Al") & Amanda ("Manda") - geddit??!!!
I feel such solidity with your other writers who have to put up with having difficulty from names.
When I was at boarding school, and then later when I was in the Merchant Navy, I used to get a lot of ribbing, especially at bedtimes.
It was fine throughout the day. It was just at night when the remarks would start.
It was always variables within the same joke, which, as you can understand, became tedious after the 35th or 36th time.
"You'll never wet the bed, Pete, as long as you just keep saying your name before you go to bed!"
"Remember his name before you get into your hammock to avoid accidents lads!"
"I knew there was something I had to do last thing tonight - good job I've got you in the bunk below, mate. Climbing up above you has reminded me what it was!"
Well, I certainly have a story to tell you, which fits into the category of a name-related tale of woe.
I have always had to brace myself against the slings and arrows of social opprobrium. I suppose with me the only consolation is that the innuendo is at least nothing if not literate.
I've had them all, over the years. Christmas is a favourite time for them, with the old refrains like "don't be a Scrooge", "sing us a Christmas Carol" and "oh no, here's your brother coming like the Ghost of Christmas Past" appearing with the decorations every year.
But a name is not just for Christmas, it's a life sentence. When I moved from Bristol to Manchester, they said "that's a tale of two cities!" At school they would joke "I bet you've got Great Expectations from a career!" Once with the Scouts I was strugging to put up a tent and the Leader said "you're Oliver Twist old chap!" - they laughed like drains.
"Don't be a Chuzzlewit!" I once heard from my wife when I got lost driving through Mercia, and after she returned from a week with her mother recently, she looked at the dishevelled house and said: "this is a Bleak House, it's just like the Old Curiosity Shop!"
I shall not forget our holiday to Scotland and my wife sending me out for tourist brochures with the instruction: "and don't forget to pick up the Wick papers!"
And I shall only wish to sign off with this classic from a colleague in the goosedown pillow business. He was telling me about his cousin Edwin becoming a Druid and his somewhat contrived statement was "it's a real mystery about Edwin the Druid!"
I speak as another what has had it up to her ears with all these name jibes. Any news about eruptions is ever a trying time for me, what is a person who has the misfortune to have to rub along with the type of person who thinks it is a matter of amusement to shout the likes of "don't get Val in a temper, she is like to erupt!"
"I bet you like lava bread, eh Val?" was a favourite of my late mother-in-law when we visited her at her bungalow in Telford. "I ain't Welsh, if that's your drift, Ma" I would say, but it was lost on her.
This time last year, when the news was full of the Iceland volcano, they'd say "it's all Val's fault I can't get to Tenerife" and "I bet Val can pronounce Eyjafjallajökull - due to it's one of her relatives ain't it?"
I used to smoke, and evenings at the pub were sometimes a trial, with friends and acquaintances from Bingo looking at my ash tray and remarking "I thought you'd produce more ash than that, Val" and "ooh don't push it, we don't want her to blow her top, I lava her best when she's quiet!"