And for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about – let me explain. We have in this country some of the quaintest places with some of the silliest names. But there is one village, up on the banks of the river Don in Scotland, where every American tourist wants to be photographed. There they stand, grinning next to the sign which spells out the name of the place. And the name of the place is…. LOST.
This raises many a transatlantic chuckle when holiday snaps are processed. But the poor folk who live in Lost were becoming a little bit fed up. Because the village sign was such a tourist attraction that many of the tourists decided to take it home with them. Thus the people of Lost didn't know where they were, because the Lost sign was so often Lost, if you see what I mean.
But signs cost money, which is where Aberdeenshire Council comes in. The Council decided that Lost had lost too many Lost signs, and making more Lost signs is purely for losers. So the Council set up a committee to find a name people would leave alone. They eventually picked a suitably boring one: Donside Farm. There was, they rightly deduced, absolutely no danger of American tourists stuffing a big tin sign in their bags with such a dull name as Donside Farm painted on it.
What they hadn't bargained on was the international backlash. From state after state came US protest mail. Word travelled the world that Lost would soon be lost forever. Mail flooded in from every corner of Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand - even China.
Overwhelmed and embarrassed, Aberdeen Council admitted defeat and sent engineers to put up a brand new Lost sign. Great news. Except it's already been stolen.
By Ed Boyle