Naming Names

What do you call your SatNav?

Sat Nav

When my husband ignores our SatNav’s command, I warn him that Jane will be annoyed with him (although these days she doesn’t tell him to ‘Turn around when possible’ as often as she once did).

Actually, the voice we now have installed is no longer Jane’s. Her replacement is Serena, who includes mispronounced road names in her declarations, but our SatNavs have been firmly established as Jane since the first one we had.

(I’d rather fancied downloading the John Clees recordings, imagining the Fawlty Towers-style abuse that might replace ‘Turn around when possible’, but in the sample I listened to, John was disappointingly similar to Jane.)


We often give names to our cars too. The much-loved Triumph Herald convertible that accompanied me from my teen years into my twenties was known as ROO – not, I assure you, due to it leaping forward when I misjudged the clutch, but because those were the letters on its registration plate. A more recent car with LC on its numberplate was occasionally referred to as Elsie, but it never caught on in the same way.

And although I occasionally call our motorhome Mo, it’s more often referred to as the spare room.

triumph herald


It isn’t only cars and inanimate objects that are given names.

Back when I was at school, in the era of the Beatles, my best friend used to say she was going to “see George” when off to the loo. (That’s another pseudonym for ‘bathroom’, in case my readers across the water don’t recognise it.) The ‘George’ appellation was taken up by our friends, although I recall other acquaintances, outside school, would go to ‘see Lulu’, which at least made aural sense.

What pseudonyms have you and yours coined for inanimate objects, apps or locations?

18 thoughts on “Naming Names

  1. Someone I knew programmed a satnav with Margaret Thatcher’s voice to annoy the person who used it.
    When we bought an existing wrought iron business it came with a scroll making machine we christened Heath Robinson, if you saw it you would know why, it was still going strong 30 years later when we sold the business on.

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  2. Our satnav gets called all sorts of names. The one we had in Summer (our late and lamented motorhome which was a French marque with the index letters ETE – été meaning ‘summer’ in French…..but you knew that, didn’t you!) was called John, after John Marsh who used to do the road reports on the Terry Wogan Breakfast show (also late and lamented). I’m not too sure it wasn’t his voice that was used. The TomTom we had in the car had John Cleese’s voice until I got fed up with him I could get out now but refusing to carry my bags when we got to our destination. Now we have a sensible Garmin in Flora, our VW Caravelle, so-called because she has the Alzheimer’s blue flower on the back, and Mikki the Mokka relies on Apple CarPlay…. provided I remember to plug my phone in.

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    1. I’m tempted to try a Garmin next time. TomTom has often screwed up our updates in the past. Every time we replace one the operating system is different… and Jane does get some funny turns sometimes.

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  3. I don’t use a sat nav, unless my daughter is with me and uses her phone. Long story about our last trip to France, when the 2and half hour journey my eldest daughter and I had planned for me, as I hadn’t driven there for a few years, became 5 hours, following my youngest daughter’s sat nav! She’d asked for the route avoiding motorways. 😳 I forgave her of course and enjoyed the scenery. I’d asked for a male voice. 🤣
    Yes, I usually name cars according to the number plate. Dylis, which was lovely nostalgia as my inspiring primary school teacher was Dilys. Hew, and now Enid. I keep my cars a long time. ( Had more than that in more than 50 years driving, but they’re the only named ones. Since needing reminders to think of the number plate)

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  4. Great that you give names to inanimate objects haha. I too, tend to do it. Although all Garfields are Garfields, my fave one has a name too haha! As for my car…hmm never thought of a name of it…hmm🤔😁

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  5. I remember I used to research my routes before driving and often travelled around London with the A-Z open on my lap.
    These days, it’s all a blur without my specs and I’ve come to rely on Jane for most of my journeys – even when I think I know where I’m going. She seems to know where the traffic queues and closed roads are. She doesn’t understand about speed bumps though; I avoid those whenever I know the terrain.


  6. As someone who can get lost in my home town journeys were often faced with trepidation. Long before sat navs I had my own version. My husband would make a tape up of directions of where I needed to go often starting with turn right out of the drive way…this was extremely helpful and useful until I put the wrong tape in and ended up miles away from my destination. I can read a map but not while driving and used to worry about being in the wrong lane for a turning so he would often put helpful hints on the tape. Such as move into the right hand lane as you will be taking the third exit on the next roundabout. I would stop and start the tape as I passed each instruction. I used to enjoy those days it was like having company in the car so I never felt lonely on long journeys.

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    1. That’s a novel way of finding your route.I’m not sure my first husband would have known my routes as we worked in different directions. My present spouse was a class one Met police driver so would probably litter his directions with tangents, such as where to go if the traffic’s bad or what dodgy manouevres to expect from other drivers.


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