House Names

Where I live we have a surfeit of riches in house names. On my walk today I particularly noticed Wahroonga, Kashgar, Ajunta, Wildernest, Finches rest, Araluen and Idelwilde. It set me wondering why the names were chosen. Does the name have a special meaning? For instance, did the people who live in the house called ‘Wahroonga’ once live there? Or have family living there?

‘Mawddach’ is my childhood memory of a house name. The big shiny sign (very 1930s) was attached to the house of my maternal grandparents. It was a reminder for them of where they came from. Mawddach is the name of river in Wales; my maternal grandmother lived near a town on this river, Abermaw (or Barmouth). My father also spent part of his youth in Abermaw and I have a photo of him standing on the Barmouth Bridge.

Memories of my childhood came trickling back, sitting on the front steps eating home-made ice-cream, watching my grandfather in his workshop, running around the beautifully manicured lawn out the back, hiding in the fernery at the side of the house, avoiding the thorns on the roses in the front garden as we chased balls and playing hide and seek in the small orchard which sat behind the high lattice fence dividing it from the back garden.  Also, sitting around the piano as my grandmother played and grandfather sang – he had such a glorious voice.  Sunday dinners of roast and vegetables followed by my Nain’s delicious apple pie, and learning to sew on her old singer treadle.  All that (and more) from one word, Mawddach.  I wonder what memories the other house names evoke.

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