Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The name game

It's been an exciting day here at Tightwad Towers, the holiday plans have been re jigged to fit in a day trip to London. Not a good place to be going to at the moment because of all the security, and masses of people. My friend Carol went last weekend and she said it was horrendous, millions of tourists, chocablock everywhere. But this is a day out I have to do. It's the only time I am going to be able to see the Super Yacht Ilona in person. I will never have another chance to do this, so I have to go.

I checked the location of Ilona on the Port of London website, and sent an email to ask  how long is it going to be there. They very kindly sent my email on to the London Waterways Administrateo at the Canal & River Trust. I had a lovely reply from a young lady who said it is due to leave on the 8th, and I would be able to get close enough for photographs. Whooopeeeeee, I'm going to London to see it on the 2nd. Won't that be just brill, I'm so excited. If I see someone pottering around there I will ask if I can go on it for a little look inside. Don't suppose they will let me, but if you don't ask......

I thought it might be fun to dig out all the bits and bobs I have collected over the years with my name on. When I was a little girl I was always disappointed that I couldn't find anything in the shops, when all my friends bought things with their name on. I hated my name because it made me look different to everyone else, and made it much harder to fit in. No one had ever heard of it before, no one could say it and no one could spell it. I cursed my mother for giving me that name.

Then eventually I began to like it. It was still a pain though to have to explain to everyone how to pronounce it. I say it with a German accent you see, because that's how mum taught me.

So here is my collection. I bought a set of chrome letters to put on the front of my truck. I mounted them on a board and bolted it to the grille. If I had to drive different lorries I would put the plastic number plate type in the windscreen. 

I have five books. The first one was found by a friend as she was rummaging through a box of books at a car boot sale in Southampton. This was the first I knew of a book called Ilona. Luckily it was in English so I could read it. Although I am half German I can't speak the language. I looked on ebay and found the other four, now I have three in English and two in German.

This is a book of poetry given to me by a boyfriend many years ago. I'm not telling you his name, ha ha.

I put Ilona into ebay search and found this cd. She is a young singer from Italy I think, it was recorded in Naples. Not my cup of tea but the cover is nice, ha ha.

I was at a craft fair once and there was a man cutting names out of wood. Of course I had to get mine done. The little yellow badge I used to wear when I was a coach driver.

This is a little notebook, someone gave it to me. Here the letter I looks very much like an H when it is crossed like this. It's a common misspelling.

I've had my little dolly for many years, found her in a shop when I visited Germany. The box is looking a bit battered now.

The key ring on the left was given to me by a friend who visited Germany, and the purpley one from another friend who brought it back from Holland. The bottom one is one I made.

Three mugs with my name on. The Calamity Ilona one is about 45 years old, I bought it from a stall at the seaside. They could put any name on you wanted. The other two were gifts from friends. I have never used them.

Here is a bit of silliness for you. Toodle pip


  1. Very prettily pronounced too! It sounds much nicer than the English pronunciation.

  2. Your trip sounds good. What a nice collection of Ilonas! My gran had the same problem, we never found anything with her name on it - Rhoda. I have often wondered myself about how to say your name, I always thought of it as eye-low-na so I'm glad you have corrected me!

  3. Wow, that's a lot of stuff with your name on it! :) I really like that blue mug!

    People have trouble pronouncing my name too! It's pronounced bree-allen (like Brie the cheese, haha!) It is the Cornish word for primrose. :)

    My sister's name is even worse for people. She tells them not to bother and to call her by a three-letter truncation of it instead!

  4. P.S. London! Exciting, although I think rather you than me considering the run up to the Olympics! I lived in London for a year as part of my degree and I was thinking to myself earlier that I'm glad I'm not there this summer because I'd never get to work on time!

  5. Excellent! Thank you. It is always good to have the correct pronunciation of a word. Living in Wales, there are lots of words to be pronounced correctly - my favourite is Eglwyswrw!! (easy when you've learned how!) Have a wonderful trip and I hope you manage to board Ilona. Ann x

  6. Ilona,
    I had the pronunciation correct! I have to opposite problem. There were six girls named "Linda" in my first grade class. I was just horrified. So, I wanted to not give my children the most common name around. I failed by naming the first two Jeffrey and Lisa. Then, I got it just right with the last, naming her Alana. Then, I could never, nor could she, find anything with her name on it.

    In my son's third grade, there were three boys named "Jeff." Not only that, but all three had a last name that started with a "D." AND, two of those, including my son's, started with "De." It was a very confusing year for my son, the teacher, and me.

    I am going to name my next hen you are not offended.

    Your collection of books is great. I collected books for a friend as a Christmas gift. I had half a dozen when I realized they were all "Rachel" instead of "Rachael." Brilliant, Linda!

    Bryallen, I got yours right, too.

  7. A cute post. Thanks for brightening my morning with this "silly" post! I would have said your name incorrectly too if not for the lesson :-) Have fun in London and I hope you get your wish of going on board the yacht.

  8. Whoops, apologies from me for not reading your name correctly. I've been calling you Iona. WRONG!! I know now, though. Thanks for the German lesson.
    Love from Mum

  9. I think it is a lovely name.

  10. There are two other ships registered as "Ilona" - a tanker and a (German) cargo. Enter Ilona in vessel box at to locate them.

    Seem to recall giving you this link ages ago. So long ago, I'm surprised I remember it!


  11. I feel your pain. My name is Yvonne (and as a 33 year old in the U.S. I feel like I am most likely the only one with that name in or around my age group). As a kid I could never find things with my name on them and to this day I still look for stuff with my name on it. My parents also used an unusual pronunciation of my name Yuh-von phonetically instead of the more common Eee-von phonetically. My grandmother called me Eee-von and that's what I answered to. I will answer to anything remotely resembling my name, always spell my name out and knew by a young age that when a teacher got to a name on the list in school that they struggled with, that it was mine.

    However, the older I get, the more I appreciate having an unusual name.

  12. When I say (in my head) must go and check out Ilonas blog at least I will be thinking the right pronounciation now.

    So exited for you visiting London (and your namesake). Its five years since I last went and I pine for it.

  13. You are SO cute ! Dont worry about London - you can walk around everywhere and avoid public transport ! Dont forget to take pictures.

  14. I have the Hans Habe book Ilona, the one with the buildings on the paper cover. I have had it since the age of 21. I actually called my then Siamese kitten Komtessa Ilona for some reason. I keep meaning to re-read it.

    Have a great time in London and ensure please that we see your photo outside YOUR yacht!

  15. Thanks Brian. It lists 16 Ilona's in total, most of them are dead though. I am keeping my eye on my yacht, I hope it doesn't move before I get there.

  16. Ilona,your name is so beautiful, and the way you pronounce is also very beautiful. Talking of beautiful, your eyes are gorgeous, they are so twinkly,friendly and expressive!
    Jane x

  17. Its a beautiful name Ilona, I really enjoy reading your blog and watching your vidios have a wonderful time in London, cant wait to see the photos, regards Lynne, Australia

  18. Kedves Ilona!
    Amikor rátaláltam a blogodra, rögtön érdekelni kezdett a neved, mert nálunk, Magyarországon ez 1-2 évtizeddel ezelőtt még nagyon gyakori név volt. Ma már ritkábban adják a szülők, inkább nemzetközibb nevek a divatosak. Nekem így a kiejtéssel sem volt problémám, inkább kíváncsi vagyok, hogy angolul hogyan ejtik ki. Egy nagy magyar kötőnek van ilyen című verse, mindenki tanulja a középiskolában (nagyon szép) : Kosztolányi Dezső : Ilona .
    A blogod nagyon tetszik. Jó utazást, kellemes kirándulást kívánok, üdvözletemet küldöm Magyarországról.

  19. Hi Tilia, thank you for your lovely comment, I am honoured that you read my blog in Hungary. You may have read the book Ilona as it is about a Hungarian girl. I copy the translation of your comment here so others can read it.

    Dear Helen!
    When I came across your blog, I immediately began to be interested in your name, because here in Hungary, this is one to two decades ago was a very common name. Today, less likely to give the parents, are increasingly more international names in fashion. So I had no problem with the pronunciation, but I wonder how to pronounce in English. Underwriters have such a great Hungarian poem, everyone learns in high school (very good): Kosztolányi Dezső Helena.
    The blog is really like. Good journey, I wish you a pleasant trip, greetings from Hungary.

  20. I shall start practicing how to say it correctly. Hope to get it right in time for your visit.

  21. Your name sounds pretty when you say it : )

    By the way, I went to Tesco yesterday and spotted that the tins of mushy peas were 4p. I didn't think that they sold anything for 4p. I'm not very keen myself but my husband just loves mushy peas. I've got quite a few tins of mushy peas in the cupboard now : )

  22. Jo napot kivanok, Ilona! In my younger days I worked with people from around the world. I was and still am, fascinated by names,languages and dialects, and would be rather particular about wanting to get people's names right! One of my colleagues was a lady from Hungary named Ilona, and I wanted to learn a few phrases, and she was delighted to help, and we would greet each other in Hungarian!

    Many years ago I visited Poland and my Polish friends there called me 'Wanda' as the nearest Polish equivalent of my name (Wendy). I was tickled to learn that there had been a Queen Wanda -- and I still have the photo of me standing alongside the Queen Wanda monument just outside Krakow!

    I hope you get to meet 'your' yacht, Ilona!

    Minden jot,

  23. I had it right, I've been pronouncing it correctly all this time, although I don't say it as beautifully as you.

    Sue xx

  24. Beautiful name Ilona. Hope I'm not too cheeky in saying wow Ilona you're looking about 20 years younger than you're last video. What's the magic formula? Let me know cos I need some ! Jules

  25. Well I'd never heard your name before, but it's obviously quite popular - books, mugs, keyrings, doll, souvenirs etc. etc.,
    Ive never seen a single thing with my name on it.

  26. I like the fact that you love your name. I always think its a shame when people moan about the name they were given as we have it for such a long time! ;) Your youtube vid was interesting, I didn't realise Ilona was German and it was pronounced this way. It's nice to have something unusual because people will always remember you.

  27. Just found your post -- love the collection you've assembled of your (and my!) name. Indeed, it's not an easy name to wear as a child.



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