Young Faris has been rushed into hospital with breathing difficulties. I blame the smog, the Saharan dust, the government, just about anything that might have conspired to bring Our Little Soldier down.
When I phone his mum, the Middle of the Darling Daughters, in the middle of our choir session (having received a slightly alarming text from her sister) she tells me to listen for
the background noises. These prove to his worried Nanni that her boy is chatting away to all and sundry, making squealing noises to attract attention and generally seeking to exercise his considerable charms on the nursing staff. I am somewhat
relieved though I won’t be totally happy till he is discharged and safely home.
The Youngest of the Darling Daughters reminds me how she was rushed into
hospital at the tender age of eight months and whisked immediately by concerned nurses into a oxygen tent. Three days later she had completely demolished the tent which hung limply around her hospital cot like the useless bit of plastic it then was.
I should say here that the Youngest of the Darling Daughters does not remember any of this personally, phenomenally talented babe that she undoubtedly was – but it is a story which has passed into family folk-lore. It says a lot, I ponder, on the way
that we have focussed on remembering the one remotely funny thing that happened over one of the very worst weeks in my life.
To take my mind off my worries over
the youngest grandchild, I try to keep myself occupied. Keep busy, I can almost hear my dear Mum advising me. Which reminds me – did you read in the newspapers today that my Mum’s name, Doris, is now on the list of “endangered
names”? My sister will doubtless have something to say about this. She has never quite forgiven our parents for landing her with Doris as her second name, believing (perhaps with some small justification) that it should have been I, the older daughter,
who was thus afflicted. I mean, named. Instead I was lucky enough to be given the second name Anne which I like so much that I called my oldest daughter Anne in my own honour.
Mildred (my Mum’s second name) is on the “at risk” list along with Cyril and Bernard. Cecil, Bertha and Gertrude have been officially labelled “extinct” which seems a bit previous to me as I still know people who answer
to these names who are very much alive and kicking. The thing is, what are we going to do about it? My first suggestion is that we should create a manufactured boy band – in the mould of One Direction – and insist, as part of their contract,
that the boys adopt the names of Cecil, Willie, Rowland, Clifford, Horace and Norman. We could call them The Other Direction to recognise and celebrate the fact that we are trying to reverse a trend here. We could also suggest that Prince William
and Kate name their second-born (whenever he or she arrives) Blodwen Hilda, which would be a rather tactical nod to the Welsh while also saving these two names from extinction.
You can tell which names are popular because you will find them on those stands selling badges, pens, key-rings and other items. Try finding a Hazel on any of these, it’s well nigh impossible. As for Faris, well dream on. But Morgan –
the other slightly unusual name among the youngest generation of our family – can generally be found, sandwiched neatly between Liam and Nathan.
out my own name on Wikipaedia and discover that it has been used in Britain since the 17th century. There was also a physician called Jacqueline Felice de Almania living in 1322 and a Jacqueline Hopkins described as a Mayo woman and ferret enthusiast.
With such sound credentials I trust my name will stay off the endangered list for some years to come.
The Middle of the Darling Daughters phones to tell me that
Faris will be in hospital for at least another night. She sounds exhausted. We tell each other, over and over again, that he is in the right place. Faris apparently agrees, based on the fact that he has his very own TV for his cot. The nurses
laugh and say he will want one at home now.
Hopefully he is on the mend even though he’s not quite up to writing the blog from his hospital cot. I know
his many, many fans will be thinking of him and wishing him better again soon.
Faris, by the way, means “a knight.” An appropriate name, indeed,
for the way our Little Soldier is facing up to this latest upset in his otherwise charmed life. I feel such a long way away but I’m hugging him in my heart.
just hope he can feel it.