What’s in a Name?…

‘What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet….’
Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet Act 2 Sc 2 1.43


As I was walking the dog the other day I noticed a particular road name…Vallescura which means ‘dark valley’ and I thought to myself that I wouldn’t want to live down that street. But, if I hadn’t understood the meaning it would be okay, as it rolls off the tongue nicely – vàl.leskoora (hope that helps with the pronunciation).

I looked around at a couple of other names, Vicolo della Rana frog alley,


and Via Mangibove Eat Ox Street, or it could mean Oxfood Street! Yes, that must be it, Oxfood Street, Petritoli, but it’s only a tiny little alleyway, not a Selfridges or Debenhams in sight!


My mother called me Ninette after the great ballet dancer and founder of the Royal Ballet, Dame Ninette De Valois, at least that’s what she told me, but I think she found it in the back of a dictionary.

Dame Ninette De Valois
Dame Ninette De Valois I met her once and she signed her book for me…I told her that I had never met another Ninette and only knew of her. I’m sure there are many others called Ninette though.

It didn’t go very well with my surname, Hatch, people tended to slur one into the other…Ninettatch… and Ninettartley isn’t much better! I never had a second name and always wished I had so I made sure my children had second names and in some cases three, just in case they wanted to change them. You have to be so careful, to make sure the first name goes with the second and what the initials spell out, what nickname’s might be thought up.

My sister didn’t have a second name either she was Jean Hatch, I think Maria in the middle would have been nice, Jean Maria Hatch. My brother, of course, had a middle name, Anthony Peter Hatch. He always was the favourite!

I would have chosen Claudia or Katherine as my first name and put Ninette in the middle, only because Claudia Hatch is so much easier to say. I do like my name even though it has been fraught with problems. Most people get it wrong to begin with. I get called, Ginette, Annette, Lynette, Nannette but hardly ever Ninette. I have been known as Largette after a few pints of Stella but that was in my younger days!

My dad told me a story once about a girl he knew who had the surname Rose and the parents called her Wild. When she married, her husband’s name was Bull…. I think my dad made it up…

It’s strange how so many people don’t like their given name, what about you? Do you like your name? If not Which name would you have chosen?

6 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?…

  1. Ninette (sorry, I called you ‘Nina’ once, didn’t I? On the blog – not face to face!!) Anyway.. interesting post and I think Ninette is a lovely name. I always do a writing exercise at the start of any new class ‘The story of my name’. It’s something that everyone can manage, it helps us learn everyone’s name and there are always some interesting stories. I was called ‘Helen’ because my mum liked the name (she’d read Jane Eyre while she was expecting me and there’s a character in there called ‘Helen Burns’ – who dies, incidentally, of TB when she’s about 12. Thanks, Mum!). She thought the name couldn’t be shortened… but she got that wrong. I am ‘H’, ‘Hellie’, ‘Hels Bels’ ‘Helstinki’ (don’t ask) amongst many others… I always think it’s a shame when parents don’t give their children a middle name. My partner and his brother don’t have middle names. I don’t have children but my dog has 2 middle names! She is Bonnie Baby Shadow…! (sad, I know – but I love names!!)

    1. Hi Helen…you have a lovely name, it sounds so peaceful and serene…
      I was called, ‘Nettie’ for a long time when I was little, I quite like that. Now, most people call me ‘Nin’. I think I had a few strange nicknames at school too…won’t go into that now!

  2. My mum was determined to make my name end in ‘t’ sounds rather than an ‘uuh’ sound as Bristolians lose the endings of many words! Janette is an unusual spelling and caused me lots of angst when called Jeanette, Ginette, Janet, hence cutting it down to Jan for ease! Funny thing is, I am coming round to being an ‘ette’ again. Must be your influence………

    1. My sister read this blog and made her comment on Facebook not here but….she said she would like to have been Jeanette! Imagine that, Jeanette and Ninette..ha ha ha. It’s a sign of age I think, going back to the name we were given…do you want me to call you Jeanette from now on? 🙂

  3. Hello Ninette Maybe you don’t remember us….It seems years ago we stayed in your gorgeous , wonderful town of Petritoli.. But I so enjoy your stories and just hearing about your life….Ours is pretty good too as have just had our Sydney family here for a few days and am enjoying a sit down after much sweeping up of sand and crumbs….They are so worth it, though. I was prompted to write to you by all the pondering going on here with youngest daughter Sally (she is 37! ) due to give birth early next year and the decision needing to be made about a name!! I have been watching the credits roll up on anything I watch on TV ( No help at all) and I look in the local paper and ooooh are they a bit bogan!!!!!! I guess in the end It’s all up to she and her husband and I won’t have any say at all… Hope you and ” The Man” and all your wonderful family have a very Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.Keep well and no more of that old bursitis!!! cheers from Mary and Peter Varley.

    Sent from my iPad


    1. No bursitis at the moment! How lovely to hear from you. Olivespastavino is off to Thailand for Christmas and meeting up with some of the family, not all but daughter, her husband and my lovely grand daughter will be there. My eldest son who lives there will be getting married on 27th. So all good. Let me know which name is decided on!

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