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I could just as easily have titled this post, why Arboard is the patron saint of sandwiches.

Voila, les witchy boots by the way. I promised Charley Descoteaux. Obviously I don’t climb many mountains in them. Although I think the toes might double as crampons…..Think of the grip you could get on a mountain with them.


Voici the Clachaig Inn handtowels being waved in the background there. 

Of course our little party looked happier and less drookit earlier on. In life, it is always possible to look happy and less drookit when one is unaware of what is round the corner.

 All right. So, Arboard, you may be asking. Who knows but you may even be googling – I do wish spellcheck wouldn’t keep telling me to make that goggling by the way – to see what category he is in, Was he a martyr? Or a secular saint? When was he canonised? And do we have an image of him perhaps, with flames shooting from his feet, or something?

Well, the answer is we don’t. That is because Arboard worked his way into family canonisation in the middle of a Florida holiday when my older daughter stared at the menu list and duly uttered the immortal words – sorry, bad pun – ‘I would like a St. Arboard sandwich.’ Arboard is only known to us.

You know, I really am ashamed of her shocking lack of education. The restaurant had a harbour, boaty theme after all. I am even more ashamed of myself, because there was this minute when I thought. ‘Arboard? Arboard?  Who the hell was Arboard?’ But it was the heat of the day and we were tired.

 Let me tell you when this revolting thing arrived on a platter and she next desired to swop me it for my chicken fish combo, I was also…emotional, is not the quite right word for it. Why is Arboard the patron saint of sandwiches? He was the only one who would eat it. Although the thing was certainly well named. Eat it and you would in all probability, heave it, yourself, or your stomach contents over the side.

Maybe you would heave all three.

Maybe instead of bringing the daughter all that way, we should  have taken her  to Specsavers instead.

 So, names….names of characters is what I thought I might blog about today.  Because I was inspired. I thought about all these saints. St. Ar (the patron saint of pirates) St . Ew (lady sheep. Smelly socks) and St. Aircase, St. Ench and St. Ammer. I even named a character Stannes at one point. Yes, I confess. All right, but the mother was first cousin to St. Upid.   Obviously. She would have to be to call her child, Stannes. But the child had been conceived there.

 We all know, don’t we, or if we didn’t we do now, Scarlett O’Hara was originally called Pansy. Then it was Robin. Angel was also a contender. As was …wait for it…..St. Orm. See I always knew Scarlett had a touch of saintliness about her.  Ahem.

Personally I sweat as much, choosing a name for a character, no matter how minor, as I did choosing names for my children. Ardent doesn’t even appear in my current wip. He’s dead.  And he was originally called Thomas. But I had already used that name in my contracted book, where I wanted rock-solid names for the surrounding characters to kind of highlight the hero and heroine’s more.  And the hero of the current wip has a fancy-ancy name so obviously his brother would too. Names kind of run in families that way. I mean  you think about how the Christmas or the birthday card will sound. ‘Birthday greetings from the Holmes boys,  Sherlock and Bert,’ or ‘Merry Chrstimas, from Rhett, Scarlett and Zepheria,’  doesn’t have anywhere near the same rightness of family interraction, as Sherlock and Mycroft. Rhett, Scarlett and Bonnie. 

But names can also say something about a character. Think of the wonderful names Charles Dickens christened his characters. He created more than the character when he created Ebenezer Scrooge. He created the word. Of course he didn’t know he was. It’s still something to give a lot of thought to because the hardened sound of that word, does not suggest a kind and lovely gent, fond of children, work colleagues and the poor, as we can all see from the picture here.Arboard is of course rather extreme. I really don’t advocate calling anybody that. But the thing is I actually didn’t think that day….what the hell kind of name is that? No. What I  saw was him delivering his little sandwiches on boards. Pretty, triangular ones of every kind of filling.

As for Ardent? Ardent was just that. Devoted. Zealous. And it drove the hero nuts. He is the opposite. The black sheep. Changing the name quite set fire to the hero.  He’s even doing things to prove he can be gentlemanly too.

I spent hours choosing the names for my leads in my contracted book. The Unraveling of Lady Abby does not have the same ring as  The Unraveling of Lady Fury.  Although I like the name Abby and I ran with it first.  I also ran with the name Finn for the hero, which became Flynn…which became Flint.  It’s a better name for an ex-privateer.

Let’s face it would Scarlett O’Hara be such a vixenish minx of a character if she had been called Pansy?