Wednesday, 27 January 2010

The King & Us

It’s an oddish name, Chadwin, and one much given to misspelling and simply getting wrong. For years family tradition had it that it meant ‘man of the village’ but one of my sisters-in-law who studies such things reckons we were originally the servants of St Chad, Bishop of Mercia. I’m sure she’s right. It would explain, after all, why we of the Chadwin diaspora, before our sabbath meal, turn to face the midlands and give the ancient toast of ‘Next year in Lichfield’.

Having a mildly off-beat name has its ups and down. The ups are that it’s different and off-beat. The downs tend to be people persistently getting it wrong. For some reason an awful lot of the populace insist of spelling it with a ‘y’ instead of ‘i’ and I once had a sports teacher who could not grasp that I wasn’t called ‘Chadwick’. And don’t get me started on my first name. Even one of my aunts gets that one wrong. Then there’s the nickname by which I am generally known which, unbeknownst to me, turned out to be shared by a prominent female singer in the late ‘60s as I found out the hard way when I introduced myself at primary school. Don't talk to me about the sweet sound of childish laughter. She faded somewhat into memory and I began to relax, but then a startlingly popular film was released in the ‘70s which, inter alia, featured a heroine with self-same name to whom John Travolta sang a song. Despite having carefully avoided said film I know all the lyrics as said song has been sung at me on many occasions. And people wonder why I sometimes get tetchy.

The Chadwin name is from the paternal side. Meanwhile, on the distaff side, my mother’s forebears once kidnapped the king of Scotland during of a series of rows with the landlord. They were part of the ‘invite your enemies round for a big meal, get them drunk and then slaughter them all’ school of dispute resolution which makes for tense family get-togethers I can tell you. And their name is a right bugger to spell but you really need to make the effort if you want to survive the entree.


  1. you have my sympathies . I was born with the rather boring sirname of Mason but since being van Zon can relate to your problems . I have to announce my name in a rush "van Zon v a n seprate word, Z o n. I have been Mrs Zon, Mrs Van, Mrs Vanson and many more . Thankfully when I get the girls back I hope to change it to Todd - short and sweet and easy lol

  2. Be careful what you wish for. You'll probably end up getting letters addressed to Mr Tod van Zon which sounds like a Bond villain's henchman. 'Mr Bond, if you do not provide me with the information I require I shall be obliged to leave you to the tender mercies of my associate Mr Tod van Zon and his callipers.'