The answer could well be that they all have names that I find easy to remember – which is a definite bonus these days.
The new school year has brought with it a whole set of new name problems for me … and I used to think I was good with names.
Having finally got to grips last year with the unfamiliar Chinese names, and got accustomed to the retro British names, I now find myself back to square one.
For a start, I have a whole set of names that haven’t been seen in a school register in England since the 1950s. In one class there’s Valerie and Clive, who sound more like veterans of the golf club than nine-year-old children. Then there’s Muriel, who is always referred to as Unfortunate Muriel, for a variety of unfortunate reasons. Marvin and Mervyn sound like a couple of second-hand car dealers, while Audrey must be the mad maiden aunt who’s probably into spiritualism.
Bryan is still the single most popular name in the school, and I have at least one per class. Then there’s Dim Keith, Fat Ian, and Kayleb, whose parents are obviously into phonetic spelling. Cherbelle and Crystalbelle sound so like Disney characters that I wasn’t surprised when a boy accidentally referred to Crystalbelle as Tinkerbell one day, much to his embarrassment once he realised his mistake.
Then we come to the Chinese names, and I seem to be beset with Xs and Ys this year, with a few Js thrown in just to add to the confusion. In one class there’s Yu Xin, Xin Hui, Xin Yen, Hao Yen, Ya Jing – and in another there’s Chui Yi, Jia Yi, Shu Yi, Jian Jie and Jia Min. I just call out a name and try not to look as though I have no idea which child I’m talking to.
Another difficulty with Chinese names is that there seems to be no way of distinguishing between boys’ names and girls’ names – so Li-Ann is a girl, but Lian-Ann is a boy – and what’s more he’s a boy who I accidentally called Denise one day, because he and Denise have the same surname … oh dear!
And finally – what do Donald Trump, the Prince of Wales and three ugly-looking ladies have in common?
The answer is, of course, that they have all been unmasked as robbers and are now banged up in prison for the next ten years – what an interesting thought.