Some time earlier this year, a well-meaning idea almost went horribly wrong. Basically  the Natural Environment Research Council tried to include members of the public in the commissioning of a new vessel and asked for suggestions to name it.  A DJ decided that Boaty McBoatface was as good a name as any and following his broadcasted suggestion, a whole load of other people agreed.

Such is the power of the internet that the idea quickly took hold and the hashtag #NameOurShip was quickly overwhelmed with votes for the name. The situation was ultimately resloved with a committee deciding to forego the most popular choice for the vessel and they setted on the David Attenborough as the name, reserving Boaty McBoatface for one of the boat’s submersible crafts.

Such is the risk one takes when asking for suggestions online. My brother and his partner are yet to confirm the name they have chosen for their new arrival but my other brother from the safe distance of another country, offered up a couple of suggestions of his own today in case their list of choices was not already long enough. Top of his: Merrington.

I have no idea what inspired him to suggest a small village in Shropshire as a potential name for our nephew, but I gather the suggestion was treated with little enthusiam. He seemed surprised, especially (as he pointed out to me) that it could be shortened to Merrin, which he felt was a name that stood out in a crowd.

‘A crowd, or a spice rack?’ I asked him. Merrin to me belongs with Cumin and Saffron – in the kitchen cupboard.

Still, my brother is nothing if not resilient – he has a well established track record of seeding ideas successfully. Last Christmas it was The Gentleman’s Relish, after he wondered aloud what that was all about and if you could still buy it.

Not in Perth, it turned out, but that did not stop me trying to buy it for him as a gift. I am sure I have seen it for sale here, but as I never eat the stuff it could have been ten years ago.

After having a lengthy discussion with him about the pros and cons (cons mainly) of a number of ludicrous suggestions he put forward – I mean D’Artagnon may be OK for a French Muskateer but not for a young boy growing up in New South Wales and in the 21st Century – I finally felt I had made my point clear and the push for Merrington, which to me sounded like a street name that Reginald Perrin might walk down, was going to be finished.

It appeared not, though. An hour later, I was rechecking the closed Facebook group, the latest posts of which were photos of the little fellow now home for the first time, wrapped tightly in a baby blanket and gazing up with large brown eyes from his brand new cot.

And beneath it the latest post from my brother, ‘Sleep tight, Merrington. Sweet dreams.’

I suppose it could have been worse. He could have suggested Baby McBabeface.


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