Why I am called 'Vole'

Many years ago, when Catherine, my youngest sister, was a bit more than this size, she ran into the room shouting, "I can spell 'vole'! I can spell 'vole'!!"

"That's good." said our mother, "How do you spell 'vole'?"


Catherine was positively euphoric to discover that, not only had she spelled 'vole' correctly but it was a real word with its very own meaning.

Shortly after this it was my birthday. Catherine drew me a card. As she was toiling away writing out, "HaPPy BiRTHDay VOLE LOVE FrOM catherine" in her very best fist, our mother asked, "Why are you writing 'Vole'? His name is Mark."

Catherine is very patient with dumb questions. Still, she couldn't quite hide her disbelief at the stupidity of this parental inquiry. In withering tones she spelled out the obvious, "Because I can spell 'Vole'."

As a postscript to this, another incident from around the same time might just be related. Someone used an old nail to carve the words "VOLE VOLE VOLE VOLE" into one of our windowsills. The culprit was never apprehended but the fact that 'vole' was spelled correctly leads us to suspect...