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Wednesday, 01 October 2014

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Lucky Florence wasn’t born in Cockermouth

When you come into the world called Pickles, you learn at a very early age not to make too much fun of other people’s names.

Always bad form in any event. Simply not done. But tempting – oh yes, sorely tempting.

Needless to say it was Endellion that started it – temptation to ponder less than obvious names, that is.

Florence Rose Endellion. A lovely moniker for a baby Cameron. No cause for sniggering there. But crikey, what pressure was imposed on two deservedly-elated parents to name their newborn daughter after a holiday spot.

Endellion apparently refers to the little Cornish village of St Endellion, close to where the Camerons were holidaying when Florence decided on early arrival and somewhere David Cameron has visited many times over many years.

They’re a persuasive lot, the Cornish – not unlike Cumbrians, as it happens. They pressed for a locally significant name the minute the little girl made her entrance in Truro. The Camerons, in an extraordinary gesture of politeness, generously chose the name Endellion – having ruled out pasty at an early stage.

Lucky they weren’t holidaying in Silloth or Cockermouth, eh?

Seemingly it’s not at all unusual for parents to choose names of romantic importance for their children. Happy holiday birth places and those of memorable – erm, conception have all found their places in the list of baby name favourites.

Florence, Rio, Paris, India and Sydney make up the top five. Somewhere lower in the league Amalfi, Verona and Cairo appear.

The Beckhams chose Brooklyn, Michael Jackson selected Paris – since their babies had been conceived in those places. Had I known earlier – as in years ago – of this fondness for naming in honour of conception, I might have made closer enquiries about my one-time schoolfriend ... called Cortina.

What’s in a name? Crumbs, sweet young Juliet must have been idling away too long a time on her balcony. She didn’t know the half of it.

It turns out there are all kinds of things wrapped up in a name: Humour, secretly coded cruelty, family and local history, tradition – and holiday destination.

Anne, I learned yesterday, means grace. So, why my mum and dad didn’t call me Grace is anybody’s guess.

Mind you, before I was born they’d holidayed as husband and wife only in Seaton Sluice – and I guess I was probably conceived in Dewsbury – so options were somewhat limited.

But imagine the possibilities these days for more widely-travelled young couples planning their children with an accompanying family album of happy memories in carefully chosen names.

Benny Dorm; the very musical little boy Tenor Reef; a child called Yorker, to whom his mother can so proudly point at every opportunity, with the doting words: “That’s my Yorker”.

Closer to home we might find the significantly-named offspring of staycationers. Those two rebellious sisters Thirlmere and Louise; beach loving Mary Port; free spirit Gretna Green and her quiet little brother Glen Ridding. Allen Bee, Gelt Woods and my favourite – Connie Stone.

The Camerons’ choice of middle name for their new daughter was met with delight in the village of St Endellion in Cornwall.

Locals were said to have been thrilled that the Prime Minister and his wife had been inspired by their village. In truth, the couple seemed not have had a lot of choice in the matter.

It would have appeared churlish had they opted to shun all entreaties to add something Cornish to their baby’s name and snub their hosts by adding Mayfair or Notting Hill to her birth certificate.

But it sure looks as though they could be onto something big – whether voluntarily or not.

More than 18,000 parents have chosen to call their babies after places such as Bali, Capri and Cuba over the past 10 years. There have been 1,255 Devons born in the last decade, six Brightons and four Dublins.

Records for baby Cleator Moors, Egremonts, Gilslands and Heads Nooks are unavailable right now, for reasons none seems able to explain.

But since England remains the most likely leisure destination for parents for the foreseeable and Cumbria a firm favourite with stay-at-home holidaymakers, we can surely expect a rush of christening homages to this fair county.

In creation of new life there is continuation of fond memory and cementing of everlasting love.

“Name this child?”

“St Bees Flimby Pie”

“Why Flimby Pie?”

“What a silly question. Great holiday but who would call a kid Brampton Mince ‘N’ Tatties?”

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