This is a true story that you will have no trouble believing because, as you know, the truth is always stranger than fiction.
This is the story of how I came to be, ‘Charlie Louie’.
When I was born in Wellington, New Zealand, I already had an older sister whose arrival had displeased my grandmother. Displeased my grandmother because the granddaughter was not named ‘Jean’ that obviously is my grandmother’s name. As well as my mother thinking her mother-in-law fell short of that honour, the name ‘Jean’ ranked towards the bottom of my mother’s list of preferred names.
Then I was born and my grandmother suffered another displeasing episode when it was announced that I had been named ‘Charlotte Louise’. To heighten the blow my mother had innocently informed her mother-in-law that they were having great difficulty in coming up with a name and one day, by a stroke of luck, they were wandering through a graveyard and saw ‘Charlotte Louise’ written on a tombstone. And so my name came from a cemetery and my grandmother didn’t think you needed to go to the dead for inspiration when the living were right in front of you.
Six weeks after my birth it was time for my Christening and my father thought it would be nice to take me to his parent’s town so they could be present at this wonderful and special event. It’s just that this meant a perilous three-day journey in an unreliable VW and involved shocking conditions including snow, ice and a bitter southerly. The low point would have been when the roof racks slid off the car and my parent’s possessions fell on the road only to be run-over by on-coming traffic.
But they made it to Dargaville, a town in the very north of the North Island for the all-important event only for my grandfather to announce he wouldn’t be attending because instead he was going out for a hit of golf. My grandmother then announced she also wouldn’t be attending because she ‘hated the name’ and hated the Methodist religion (she was an Anglican which she felt was vastly superior to my mother’s Methodist roots).
So the numbers were down and my mother was wondering why they hadn’t stayed at home and had the now very difficult and very disappointing and very stressful event in the local church that was a short stroll from home-sweet-home.
The Methodist minister was an elderly chap who my father thought had enjoyed a long career ‘in the cloth’ but then found out that he was actually the local butcher who’d taken up this new career in his retirement years. He was also deaf.
As the wonderful moment of my Christening arrived we were assembled around the Font at the front of the church when a terrible noise broke out at the back of the church. It was my grandmother who’d been persuaded by a friend that this was an important event and she should not miss it. So she arrived just in time but refused to sit at the front of the church and instead slid into the back pew.
The minister took hold of me and asked very loudly, ‘We name this child?’. And my father said, ‘Charlotte Louise’. And the minister yelled out, ‘Charlie Louie, we baptise you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost’. At that moment there was a raucous cackle from the back pew as my grandmother fell about with laughter believing a mighty justice had been served.
So I entered the church as Charlotte Louise and emerged Charlie Louie.
My parents packed us all up back into the VW and decided on the way home that their next child would be born overseas.
And she was.
And her middle name is Jean.
And so do tell me, did you come about your name in an unusual way?
Breakfast Basil Eggs
This recipe is really good after a big night out and haven’t we all had plenty of those lately!
Degree of Difficulty: 2/5
Cost: I like to use organic eggs and they do cost a bit more and basil at the moment seems to be expensive. I paid $4.00 for a small bunch at Harris Farm and I think that ridiculous but still, it’s an inexpensive breakfast that’s very good for you and so much cheaper than dining in a café.
2 tbspns extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion finely chopped
4 medium sized truss tomatoes roughly chopped
1 bunch basil – leaves only
4 organic eggs
Heat olive oil a small frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for a few minutes until softened. Add tomatoes and basil leaves and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Crack eggs on top of tomato basil mixture. Cover frying pan with a lid and cook for 2 minutes for runny eggs or 4 minutes for hard eggs. Remove lid and serve.