Wednesday, 20 July 2011

House Names

I wish we had a name for our house.

In Aylesbury I called our house Hagia Sofia (Greek.  Means 'holy wisdom'), though the name never really stuck with the Badger, so we mostly called it 27 Tindal Road.

When I lived in a tiny 2-roomed apartment in Hastings I called it Gezellig, because that's what my friend Carien, visiting from the Netherlands, said it was.  Gezellig, she said, means comfortable, but also like a place that has soul.  It used to be an Old English word too - going back into and before the Dark Ages now -  where its form was gesaelig, meaning ensouled, overtones of the holy.  'Saelig' morphed into 'silly', which meant innocent back then.  It came to mean foolish and lightheaded because people born with learning disability were seen as holy innocents - silly - soul-people.

When I sold my apartment I bought a lovely little house - cosy and homely and friendly.  The perfect house, I thought (still do).  At the time our Fi was working down in Dorset in a retreat house, and to get there we had to drive along Godsblessing Lane.  I loved that name.  So I called the new house Godsblessing House.  Grace lives there now (sounds appropriate!).

Then we came to this house.  I've had various ideas for its name, but it isn't just my house, and all my suggestions have been received with indifference at best. Hmm.

We were talking about this yesterday over supper, when I said High Dudgeon would be a good name for a house.  In fact there could be a whole street. Ivory Tower could be next door.  Hebe thought one of the houses might be called Coventry. Alice named one of them Side Partings .  I think one of them might be called The Sticks - or, for the classically trained and pretentious, The Styx.  And I suppose there'd inevitably be some nouveau riche honeymoon couple move in who would lower the tone of the whole street by calling their house Kenbarbie.


Elin said...

I loved my previous apartment, I can really relate to the feeling of a house having a soul. This place had a soul and the apartment was a perfect match with me. I just loved it despite the tiny kitchen and the windows being drafty. The apartment we live in now is 'nice' but it doesn't have that special feeling that the old one had but I knew that for me and R to be happy living together we needed a bigger apartment. The balcony on this apartment wins though it is bigger and better situated and for a balcony farmer that is important.

I have never liked when people named houses, I have always thought it to be rather silly but I have almost always had a name for my bikes. The present bike is pink and is therefore named Rosa which is also the Swedish word for pink. My favorite bike was named Bettina, why I don't know, it just fitted her. On names of houses, my family's weekend country house is named Vinkelboda which suggests that it has a lot of angles and corners which it has as it has. Boda or bod is a house used for storage which one part of the house was used for, what is now the kitchen was once a storage house for food. I find that name rather silly too but at least it fits the house, I don't like when people call their house something that doesn't make sense at all.

Ganeida said...

Out here going with an Aboriginal name often works. In Sydney we lived in a house called *Bungawitta* place of possums ~ & yes, we had them in abundance! I hated our first house. It had no soul & consequentially no name. Dearest named this one Kanarta Christus ~ but it doesn't really fit & hasn't stuck. You either get it right or you do without I think. Some houses just seem to name themselves.

Ember said...

Hi Elin, hi Ganeida!

'Vinkelboda' What a *wonderful* word!

Gerry Snape said... the post...we have a motto/ house name "paulatim" ... little by little in latin. A friend once asked why we hsad called it after Paul and Tim!

by the way the word verification is chant!

Ember said...


Bean said...

When I look at the picture of your home the name Solomon comes to mind, don't know why, but that is the name I see :)


Ember said...

Solomon! Love it!

Julie B. said...

I have always loved the way the English name their homes. I think the next house we have should have a name and I will ask you to help me with that, Ember. :)

Instead of naming houses, our family names vehicles.

I would hate to think what I would name this house...Thiefhouse or Whittle Away Downs or Lacrymose Manor.

Ember said...

Oh... maybe just 'Good Riddance', then? x

Linda said...

I have a name picked out for this house "Murrindindi" aboriginal for home in the mountains. I haven't had a plague made for it, I suppose I am a bit timid about it. My other house that we are selling, when we were set to move in I was going to put up "Kirkwall", it is where my Dad's family came from and there is a view of a lovely church there.

Ember said...

:0) I like 'Murrindindi' Linda - and that's a corker of a typo!

Linda said...

Lol. Yesterday I wrote 2001 instead of 2011.

Fourwheeler said...

When I first lived alone it was in a two-up-two-down terraced house. Up to then I'd always lived at 'no., street' addresses, but this time I felt I wanted a name, wanted to be distinctive. I called my home 'Ty Mawr' ... Welsh for 'the great house'.

Then someone in my church - I'd often admired the way how in his South Wales accent he pronounced 'Luke' with a 'y-sound' in the middle - discovered where I lived, and asked, "What idiot gave it that name? It's tiny!"

I had to come clean, and confess that it was I - and add in justification my reasons, that it was for me a great adventure, living alone, but also the fact that the contrast between the name and the truth was something that amused me.

Ember said...