Max; the story behind the name

My intention this year is to keep up with this blog; something that I didn’t do last year for no other reason for that apart from nothing happened with the fire engine, so it would have made for particularly dull reading.

The date today is 5th March, 2018. Tomorrow, March 6th, is an important date for this story. You’ll see why shortly, but first, a bit of background nostalgia.

In January 2017, I lost my Grandma. This is a woman who, in my childhood days, would play with us for hours. She would help me trap bees and ladybirds for my cassette case menagerie; collect petals to turn into perfume; and she’d climb trees with us.

When I got my first proper job, I spent a lot of time traveling across the country – often for meetings that required an overnight stay. On occasion, Grandma would come with me – and she’d happily spend an hour sat in the car, reading a Catherine Cookson before we’d galavant around Liverpool, arm in arm; singing along to a Buddy Holly tribute in the Cavern, ordering room service because we were too lazy to go downstairs for dinner, or spending the day in a spa.

One day, I asked, “Grandma, what’s your passport number?”, booked us some flights and off we went to Dublin for the day. She ordered €30 worth of scratch cards on the plane and didn’t have enough time to scratch them all before we got off; then spent all my money on souvenirs, pints of Guinness and an all day bus ride in search of Molly Malone… 


When my Grandad died two years previous, she inherited his iPad. She chose not to use it for surfing the internet, painting, or reading the news as he did regularly, but rather bombarding the family with hilariously ill-punctuated, stream-of-consciousness messages that had to be decoded by the recipient on the other end.

One day, she sent a message to the family group chat and had intended to sign it off ‘xxx’, instead the iPad decided to autocorrect this to Max. She chuckled and kept the joke running, signing off all future messages with, ‘with love, Max.’ It stuck.

She wasn’t just my Grandma; she was my best friend. There was a 54-year gap between her and I, but we felt no difference. We often said that one of us was born to the wrong generation, that we were meant to be friends in our own times – oh, what fun you’d have had in the 50s, she’d say; but in reality, time made no difference. At heart, we were the same age.

Her birthday was 6th March. Tomorrow.

So when the Fire Engine arrived, just two and half months after she passed away, we decided to name it after her. Max.

Max came with piles and piles of paper work that all required translating from German (see above post). Thankfully, Google Translate is a miracle worker and told me all sorts of wonderful information. It was one, small document that stood out to me in particular. There it was, printed in an old-fashioned typeface, slightly faded due to its age:


Max’s build date was Grandma’s birthday.