Whats In A Name

It was my father who told me once, that if you wanted to enjoy a sensible conversation with my mother it was important to catch her attention before noon. As he said, “She does not object to swallowing but will not suffer the drudgery of chewing too early in the day” by which he meant all her nutrients, up to that hour, were taken in liquid form and were normally stiffened with a decent supply of Vodka: her conduct became increasingly ‘random’ as the day progressed, possibly helping her express her “Inner Calling,” as a Conceptual Artist: no I don’t know what that means either.

I tell you this because it makes some things clearer. My mother, in lucid moments, and perhaps more vocally in her,  “Charismatic Interludes” was a fanatical fan of Winston Churchill. When I also mention that she went to the town hall at three-thirty in the afternoon to register my name, following a celebratory luncheon with some of the town’s finest, you may now understand why my first name is “Winsome,” which is probably as near as she could get to her intended target after a bottle and a half of the sacred fluid.

“Winsome Green”  does not carry the weight  our famous statesman enjoyed, but it still raised eyebrows in a variety of venues as I progressed towards adulthood.  My mother’s brittle and inflexible grasp on what she considered to be “the facts” meant that no one, including my father, had the nerve to suggest she had made an error.

Being a  “Conceptual Artist” meant she was called on to behaved oddly, and strike up strange and often embarrassing poses in the most regrettable of places and circumstances, sometimes using what we might call “A minimalist wardrobe” if I am to continue the artistic theme: she was arrested for her art on a number of occasions by men in blue who insensitively called her moments of “Interpretive Brilliance” , “Drunk and Disorderly Conduct.” I’m not sure if this calling ever involved the transfer of monies into her bank account, but, to quote her; “Uninspired realities should not influence the life of the Gifted,” amongst whom she deluded herself.

My father, who used to refer to his marriage to my mother as being like “Trying to hang on to a barrage balloon in a gale” left her when I was fourteen  and ran or rode off with a traffic warden after a brief courtship originating, most unusually, in a disagreement over parking bays. However odd that sounds, I can tell you that they are still together and show every sign of being a devoted couple. When I asked my father what the secret of his happy marriage to his second wife was, he replied, possibly unkindly, “Relief at ending the first:” Some people may understand his point of view.

Needless to say, following his departure, my remaining childhood was spent in exploring the opportunities for under-achievement in various schools and colleges before I entered my working life as a trainee bicycle engineer.

None of this is relevant except, following my interesting childhood, I met up with a girl who was a cycling enthusiast and, for undisclosed reasons, she appears to love me. Indeed she told me once that what drew her to me was “I could take all the love she had to give” which tells you quite a lot about her character and my history I suspect.

I am pleased to announce that we are now expecting our first child, but must also tell you that my mother is coming over for a celebratory luncheon to discuss possible names for the unborn infant. I shall be attempting to keep her away from the town-hall during any official ceremonies. Her new hero is Roald Dahl: try saying that after a bottle or two of some challenging fluid. “What was that name again!?”

About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, childhood, creative writing, Fiction, humour, Life, Peter Wells, Relationships, Talent, Uncategorized, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Whats In A Name

  1. mimijk says:



  2. What a character the mother sounds like! Very intriguing 🙂


  3. catterel says:

    Still chortling twenty minutes later 😀


  4. This is a fabulous little tale in which you have given so much away about each of your characters whilst retaining real economy with your words – and what great characters! I must admit that the name ‘Winsome Green’ particularly brought a smile to my face as it instantly brought back ‘Winston Green’ which (you might recall) was the original name of Birmingham prison! I may be wrong, but I did suspect that this might have been an intentional ‘in-joke’ given the trauma of your lead. A really enjoyable read, Peter.


  5. Aww, such a master. The curse of our parents moments of butterfly brain.


  6. Al says:

    I have great empathy for your mother as one who knows the difficulties of life when the rest of the world is out of sync, yet we shoulder the blame.


  7. ksbeth says:

    wonderful and my father thrived in his second marriage too, life became somewhat normal for him again, after surviving time with my mother. i understand all of this. i’m happy you went on to a happy and loving relationship and am so happy to hear about your upcoming addition to the family. good call on choosing your own name for your child, and when your mother suggests jilly wonka, just smile and nod and choose your own name.


  8. gotham girl says:

    So loved this! Great story and I must echo “mimijk”…Congrats!


  9. Loved your story Peter….well done! It sounded exactly like a real account of ones life. Since I have a challenging mother and an alcoholic father (who is sober now) I understand the dilemmas *sigh*


  10. Congratsssss! XXXXX


  11. Your writing always brings a smile :)-


  12. bluebee says:

    ‘Oompa Loompa’ has a nice ring to it.


  13. Wonderful. I was planning to tell you how impressed I was the father and son were so patient with the afflicted mom/wife–and then he divorced her. I guess one can only take so much.


  14. Ina says:

    WInsome. I like it. 🙂


  15. Good luck – with the baby and your mum!


  16. Hahahaha… oh you’re a delight 🙂


  17. jules says:

    What a wonderful piece. Amusing and great imagery! Will definitely read more.


  18. Oh Peter, you have me in stitches! Laughter is indeed a fantastic medicine and you provide much of it. Thank you for such a brilliantly entertaining read; you are a star and often lift me out of the doldrums. 😊


  19. CCKoepp says:

    😀 Thanks! I needed a good laugh today.
    When I was teaching I ran into several interesting names and bizarre spellings. In some cases, I realize the parent(s) were trying to be clever. In others, I suspect some adult beverages were helpful in selecting the name of the child.


  20. The girl who name means “Lost or Alone in a Field or Meadow” appreciates your humor more than you know!


  21. nelle says:

    Ooh, I like this one, you came at it from such a great direction. Unfortunately, my mom was not drunk when she pinned a boy’s name on me.


  22. davidprosser says:

    I empathise with your character but it was a great story.


  23. You have a great sense of humour and it comes across in your writing. Both of your parents sound like very entertaining characters, probably not what the teenage you appreciated at the time. I love the way you describe them, especially your mother. I’m so glad you dropped by my blog or I would never have found you. Looking forward to more of your posts. Best wishes for your new ‘arrival’ and the journey that you will be setting out on as a family.


  24. IThanks for stopping by my blog. I enjoyed this post. Reminds me if memoir writing…


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