I don’t know about you – but I love house names. Give me a Manor House over 6 Drudgeland Terrace any day!
And given how we love naming and labelling every part of our lives, it’s surprising not more houses don’t have their own names.
But house names – like people’s names (and pet’s names) are evocative. Names have meanings – and even if we don’t consciously mean to do it – we can’t help but conjure up different images for what a Penelope would look like vs. a Shanazza or a Wayne vs. a Quentin.
Names have visual iconography attached to them. Expectations, even.
And so the same is true of house names. When we read the name “Rose Cottage” we expect, somewhat literally, a cottage abundantly doused in roses. If it turns out not to be a Rose Cottage, as it’s name so eponymously suggests, therein lies the Disappointing House Name Syndrome (D.H.N.S).
What tipped me off to my hitherto-unbeknownst-yet-incredibly-significant-existential-dilemma of the D.H.N.S, was happening upon “Moss Cottage” in a property auction catalogue. Now with a name like “Moss Cottage” I am expecting a cornucopia of moss. But alas, there is not even a moss spore in sight!
“Hard Times Cottage” was rather more difficult to prove, although I have to question the sanity of why anybody would name their house “Hard Times Cottage”. Could you imagine trying to get a mortgage with a name that so obviously says you’re F*****D financially?
I was set for yet more disappointment when it came to “The Former Methodist Chapel”. Despite stating Former in the title, I did expect some sort of Chapelesque something rather than just an overgrown rockery site:
But, what really took the full-fat disappointment biscuit was “The White House”. With a name so tantalisingly simple and suggestive you would expect you are going to get a White House – which I don’t think is difficult: it’s a house painted white. Obviously, I know while America has some financial issues, they are not yet desperate enough to boot Barack out of bed. Sadly, the same cannot be said for the former owners of the “The White House”: a non-white office building being sold on behalf of the Mortgagees.