Monday 21 July 2014

A Ministry Of Deliverance


This was, of course, Postman Pat’s Special Gifting. I thought about PP last week, as we had lots of stuff to deliver for upcoming church events. Some ‘general’ flyers, to go to homes all round the village, others were letters addressed to specific individuals, confirming places at Holiday Bible Club.

The former were done on foot – the latter Bob and I did in the car – he drove, and I planned the most sensible route between addresses, leaping out to pop envelopes through letterboxes, then going on to the next. This worked out much cheaper than posting them all – and we knew they had reached their correct destinations.

But it made me realise what a strange world we live in. I have a number of unanswered questions. There are clearly some who do not want any communication with the outside world…

  • why grow a rose bush right in front of the letterbox, so you cannot put anything through without being scratched?
  • why bother with a letterbox at all if all the gates to your property are padlocked?
  • why block the pathway with your three wheelie bins [2 days after the binman came]

Because of the current craze for throwing up houses on any available space and selling off the end of your garden so a property can be built there, the whole business of numbering goes out the window. So we have a number of places where houses are numbered things like 4, 4A, 4B, 4C,4D – and if you have been given leaflets for a street you may find you are a few short, because of these extras.

house signs

And please do not get me started on house names. Many of the houses in the more upmarket lanes and drives in our village do not bother with numbers at all. Which makes it harder to find the different addresses, especially when the foliage overhangs the signs. Too posh to prune?

Furthermore, why do people choose such unlikely names for properties? “Miramar” means sea-view. We are one hundred miles from the sea here! If I stood on the top of the tower of our Parish Church, I couldn’t even see Rutland Water [a mere 30 miles away]

Baden_PowellSome names reflect when the properties were built – the village expanded greatly at the time of the Boer War, so Ladysmith, Pretoria, Spion, Mafeking and similar names crop up.

Other houses have names representing their original owners – strange combinations of surnames and first names. Others seem to be called after favourite places [from honeymoons or holidays, perhaps?]

parsons farewell

This lovely Grade 2 listed property was once the vicarage- but  rather than “The Old Vicarage”, the owners named it “Parson’s Farewell”, a very creative way of incorporating both its former use and their passion for folk dancing.

Our house here was called The Shambles when the church purchased it for us – but is now The Manse [OK, it is still a shambles inside quite often!] I hated the original name, as The Shambles is derived from the AngloSaxon Fleshammels (literally 'flesh-shelves') where the butchers hung their meat. I have spent most of my life in  properties called “The Manse”! But although our property in Norfolk has a number, we have also given it a name – Cornerstones. It is on a corner plot, and cornerstone is a good biblical word. [I rejected the suggestion of ‘Dunpreachin’ for our retirement home]

I did decide one thing last week – if I ever lived in the property situated between 2A and 2C, I should definitely have to call it OrrNott!

Does your house have a name- and do you know why it was chosen?


  1. Our house doesn't have a name but we have a small summer house in the garden that L named Spring Cottage. It was spring when we got it and she helped her dad to paint on the wood preserve and when it was fully erected she announced the name and it has stuck.

    1. Oh - now I am wondering if I should find a name for our little summerhouse!!

  2. I once saw a house that I can only presume belonged to a retired headmaster - it was called "Duncanin"!

    1. Unless it belonged to a housebound Scotsman - was the one next door called Alasdairout ?

  3. Yes our house does have a name it's Hillside and that is probably because it is situated on a hill! So nothing very original.

  4. My old house was called Butterfly Cottage (as well as 6A) which my Mum named because she lives butterflies and she developed the garden to encourage them. Current house, no name! X

  5. Oh and my Grandad's house was called Avalon and the one befote that was greenfingers x

  6. All our previous houses, French and English, have had names. This one just has a number.

  7. Some peculiar numbering around here, long streets where about ten consecutive numbers are simply missing, and no, there's not a space where these houses could have been built. Lots of streets don't have a number 13, but in one road the potential number 13 is 12A, usually it would be an odd number ( 11A is a popular choice) on a road that has opposite sides numbered with odds & evens causing confusion down the road on the other side @ number 12, which is not opposite its closely named /numbered house.
    Yes, many letterboxes are very difficult to access, then there are the gardens with dogs ranging free, or the dogs who bite the thing you've just put through the box (never, ever, put fingers through the letter box, use a stick or stiff card to push flimsy paper thorugh strongly resistantly hinged, or stiff bristly draft excluder type openings as these dogs are usually silent until the offending item is posted). Then there are the signs for "no circulars or cold callers" to look out for - often so small you have to get to the front door to see them, let alone read them. Respect to postmen and women everywhere! You have completed a good job in posting all your flyers and letters by hand. Vee x

  8. Mine as you does not have a name but, I often refer to it as My Hovel!
    Eclectic Cottage might be another apt name except it's a bungalow but, I suppose there are one storey cottages as the ones in Scotland?
    I sometimes in Winter, refer to it as the Drafty Hole!

  9. We do have two numbers, but only use one of them, which does cause confusion occasionally. It also means that to someone looking for a house in the street, it looks as if some of the houses are missing, as the numbers on the gates aren't consecutive, ie 22, 24 etc but jump along a bit! All good fun really...

  10. Coming to the conversation rather late - not much time to catch up on reading (or writing! ) blogs here at summer school - but I named our current house Maison des etoiles (Star House) when we moved in as we live on Boulevard de l'Astree - which basically means Star boulevard. We discovered later that L'Astree is the name of a novel by a local bloke, generally considered to be one of the first novels written in France. A friend of mine who is a potter made us a lovely name plate, to my design, which has whales and stars on it, plus the name of the house


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