Is it pretentious to give your house a name? Obviously not if you live in The Manor or The Grange? But what if you live in a road on an estate of similar houses?
Well I have never bothered. Mainly because I have never been able to think of a suitable name and also I have always had a number (19 at the moment).
Carol Midgley, writing in The Times today talks of Jeremy Clarkson (who doesn't - he does rather invite controversy doesn't he) and how he insists that the locals who have made such a fuss about his new farm shop (Diddly Squat Farm Shop no less - rather opening the whole debate don't you think?) tend to be incomers (Londoners) those whose houses have been given fancy names rather than those who just use addresses like 22 Oak Avenue.
And I thought back to my childhood Lincolnshire Village where, as far as I know there were no road names (very small village) and where every single house had a name. And yours truly knew them all. I used to push my red doll's pram from one end of the village to the other. There were only houses on the top side of the road. The bottom side was low lying and close to the River Witham which was subject to flooding in the Winter.
Every house had a name on the gate, Were they pretentious? I don't know - I never thought of them as such and I am sure that the postman appreciated the help they gave him. I can only remember one now all those years later - and that was EMOCLEW - if you haven't realised by now that is Welcome backwards!
This was of course long before television and our evening entertainment was usually pencil and paper games (obviously organised by my parents as an important part of my education - for which I thank them all these years later). When it was my turn to choose I often chose house names in the village because all those walks with my pram paid off - I was always nosy (still am) and I knew all those house names off by heart so I always won.
But food for thought here: Carol Midgley speaks of Billy Connolly and his wife Pamela Stephenson buying a house near Windsor and changing the name to 'Gruntfuttock Hall! When they came to sell it and wished to do so privately with as little fuss as possible, the Estate Agent advised them to change the name and they changed it back to Forest Lodge.
Yes I suppose we are all pretentious to a degree. On the front of my bungalow, as well as the number by the front door, I also have a Green Man on the wall. It was given to me by friends but I did put it up didn't I?