Going potty

Going potty

Over the last few years I’ve developed a deep affection for having a garden.   In my younger days, it was a hassle – something that took up precious weekend time, but now I thoroughly enjoy watering, weeding and getting a bit of dirt under my fingernails.

Adam and I had a rambling cottage garden in the U.K., complete with terrace vegetable patch. I desperately wanted to replicate our bags of potatoes and pots of peas, tomatoes and lettuces this spring, but the timing of our trip back to England for our wedding, meant it just wasn’t feasible and we’d miss picking the fruits of our labours.

In a bid to satisfy my earthen cravings, I’ve compromised and decided this spring I’m going potty…

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It’s all in the name

It’s all in the name

When I worked as a journalist in south-western New South Wales one of my favourite things to do while driving long, straight roads for hours at a time was to look out for the names of farms. The name seemed to the give the property a personality and I liked the concept of the land almost becoming a member of the family.

Santa Clause mannequin sitting beside a property name sign in western New South Wales, Australia
A festive property sign west of Hay, NSW, Australia.

What I’ve found in England and particularly Malvern, is that names aren’t just reserved for farms.  Many suburban houses have names, often dating back centuries.  Houses are sometimes named after the family that originally lived in the home or the surrounding landscape.  I also love that mail is addressed to the house name. It isn’t 16 Smith Street, rather ‘Valley View Cottage’, 16 Smith Street.  Perhaps it’s the daydreamer in me, but I just think that’s utterly delightful.

There are so many different types of name plaques too: painted ceramic slabs adorning house fronts, wrought iron signs on gates, wooden plaques, sandstone etchings or sometimes the name’s just simply painted on the side of the house.

I’ve always wanted to live in a house that has a name. The house Adam and I are living in does – so it’s a bit of a dream come true! Our downstairs neighbours even have a beautifully painted watercolour of the original house before it was split into three separate apartments.

I’ve been lucky enough to do a bit of travel, but I must admit I’ve never really noticed en masse houses with names anywhere except the U.K. Does your house have a name? What is it, and do you know the story behind it?!

All the pretty houses

All the pretty houses
“Old houses, I thought, do not belong to people ever, not really, people belong to them.” – Gladys Taber 

One of my favourite things about living in England is the houses. Every village, town and city has its centuries of history preserved in the homes its residents live in. While Australia has a small amount of architectural history, it pales in comparison to places like the U.K.

I’m pretty sure I’ve pointed out a home I’ve liked to Adam almost ever day since our arrival. Being a sucker for a good story, I get so much delight out of thinking about all the people who’ve lived in these buildings over the years.  What were their names, what did they do, what food did they cook and what flowers did they plant in the garden?

Large cottage in English town of Malvern, Worcestershire

House on the eastern edge of the Malvern Hills overlooking the Severn Valley
Chimney pot envy.

Looking through the front gate of a property near the Malvern Common in Worcestershire.

Cottage with white fence nestled into the Malvern Hills, Worcestershire.

Ivy and ferns cover the front entrance of a house with a sage green arched door.
That door!

Georgian style house in Malvern, Worcestershire

Can’t you just imagine sitting in a slightly worn, super squishy armchair with a good book, roaring fire and mug of tea in front of some of those front windows?! #bliss