Now it’s a sweet idea to call your daughter after your favourite flower – if it’s Lily or Marigold, or even Jonquil. But Wisteria?
No child was more doted on, and I adored my parents, but still thought it an error of judgement! Let’s just say I didn’t suffer anything approaching serious bullying, but the fact it rhymed with hysteria and listeria (not to mention, if you pushed it, bacteria) didn’t exactly enhance my schooldays.
True, I had a middle name. But despite myself it felt vaguely disloyal to be known as Anne.
Such thoughts were forgotten, though, when during my first year at university, my Dad suffered a heart attack. I rushed home, and, thank goodness, he made it through, though with a look of fragility that never quite left him and he told us we were imagining.
In one of our heart-to-hearts, Mum asked me if I could have some old-fangled camcorder footage of their honeymoon converted to DVD. I couldn’t myself, but knew someone who could.
I knew they had spent it at a country hotel in Norfolk, not that far away from where we lived in Lincolnshire, but it stretched their budget all the same. My techie-savvy friend Louise didn’t let me down, though the original was already in a parlous condition and after only a couple of days, said, “Its ready when you guys are, Wis.” I wasn’t wild about “Wis”, but had learnt to live with it.
We viewed it that evening, sitting together on the couch in the lounge, and I found myself blinking furiously seeing my parents as kids not much older than me.
I could see why they splashed out for their couple of nights at the Carr Arms. It was a mellow, weathered, quiet and eloquent building.
It had a beautiful garden, too. A garden where a shy, blissful couple, loving each other beyond words, posed in front of a curtain of vibrant purple, drifting down to a pond, both glowing in the radiance of sunset.
Today a colleague asked if I wished to be known as Anne.