My name is ......, how may I help you?

OK. So. My name is Nicola Margaret Blacklaws.

I'm actually gonna start with my middle name, Margaret, because that was what my mum originally wanted to give me as a first name. I'm the oldest of three, and my parents had a deal - my mum got to choose names when the babies were girls and my dad got to choose when the babies were boys (I think Dad got the raw deal - he only got to choose one child's name, while Mum got to choose two!). Mum has never given me a specific reason why Margaret, other than she's always liked it. It's from the Greek word, margarites, meaning "pearl", but also carrying with it the ancient Persian meaning "child of light". This is because the Persians believed that oysters rose to the water's surface at night to worship the moon and to collect a drop of dew which the moonbeans changed into a pearl. It's got a beautiful meaning, but I hate the way it sounds, and the fundamental association with it of old, faintly smelly women. Anyways, my mum's mum, my Grandma, saved me from having it as my first name. Shortly after I'd been born, Mum phoned her to tell her about me, and said that she was going to call me Margaret. To which Grandma replied "Oh, you're not are you? I don't like the name Margaret!" So that was that.

Nicola is the Italian female form of Nicholas, which in turn comes from the two Greek words "nike", meaning "victory", and "laos", meaning people - thus, "people's victory." As the female form, my name adopts Nicholas' meaning. The french form of Nicola, Nicolette, was first found in medieval Britain and known through the disguised captive princess of the medieval romance "Aucassin et Nicolette". I don't think any of these nice connotations were the reason why my mum chose the name though. Again, I think it was just because she liked it.

And Blacklaws? I don't know much about it really - only that it's my Dad's surname, inherited from his Dad, who's Scottish. I've never met another Blacklaws who's not related to me, but I hear there's a fair few in Scotland. My mum changed her name when she married my Dad from Walmsley to Blacklaws, although apparently Dad considered changing it to just Black, because you'd be surprised how difficult people find it to spell! We all just say as a matter of course "Blacklaws, black like the colour then l-a-w-s." We get a lot of variants - the best of which was when I joined Guides when I was 11, and ended up on the register as Nicola Darkmore. God knows how...

So that's my story, what's yours?

The End

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