I come from a land of postal numbers. Our post codes are simply numeric, consisting of five digits, and most of us have house numbers. One of the most famous German house numbers is 4711 which is also the name of a traditional Eau de Cologne. So unless you live on a farm in the middle of nowhere or are the President of Germany and reside in Bellevue Palace you are bound to have a house number. And there are some famous British house numbers too. Who hasn’t heard of 10 Downing Street or Baker Street 221b?
So imagine my surprise when I found out that, in addition to an already very long address and a village name I couldn’t pronounce, I was to have a house name as well; all the same unpronounceable to a non-Welsh tongue and making the whole address too long to ever fit comfortably on any form I ever had to fill in. To this day, and I have moved since then into a house with a slightly shorter name, it almost takes me as long to write my address on the back of an envelope as it takes me to write a whole birthday card. Whereas the first house name looked slightly Italian to me when I first encountered it, I still don’t know how to pronounce it or what it means. Something about someone’s glare, I believe, but the online translator could be completely wrong. Right now I live in “Pleasant Hill” (Bryn Hyfryd or Brynhyfryd) which sounds rather idyllic, properly Welsh and fits the area I live in perfectly.
I’m finding this house naming rather endearing as it can include special historical or topographical features of a building (like Awel Y Mor – Sea Breeze) and makes living in the walls you call home much more personal and unique. I came across the story of an American who was on his way back home, and asked to have a house name produced with Ty Lan Y Mor (House by the Sea) engraved on it and posted to his home in Arizona. He lived in the mountains.* Shows you I’m not the only one loving this tradition.