Monday, February 21, 2011

Yards and Gardens

I was having dinner with a friend of mine recently, the occasion being to introduce him to a special "person of interest" in my life. Yes, at the time we were at that Meeting-The-Friends stage but trying not to be too goopy in public. My friend travels regularly to Texas from his home in England and we were enjoying a beautiful al fresco meal and trading fun stories about how everyone met for the first time and most particularly my taking Mr. Brit around Northern Texas on various tours of the area.

One such story involved house-hunting which I am wickedly famous for doing to out-of-towners. I do admit to a devilish joy in seeing their faces at the amount of housing one can buy in this part of the country compared to just about anywhere else they happen to hail from, especially if they're coming from overseas. For the Englishman his tour began with a simple "3-2" starter home of about 1600 square feet. He immediately went "bonkers" over the amount of space for the price compared to his own digs back home to which I simply warned him that we hadn't even gotten good and warmed up. By the end of the day he went "spare" as they like to say over a 6,000 square foot wedding cake of a house a third larger than the Southfork home less than a mile away and featuring a marble entry and two arched stair cases to the upper floor.

We all laughed as we enjoyed the comparisons between "flats," terrace houses and the different terms for a "single-family" home here in the United States, known as a "Fully Detached" house over there.

"But why," he began the next linguistic challenge, "do you insist on calling a garden a yard?"

"Why do you insist on calling a yard a garden?" We went right back at him. Because, he explained, it has flowers and vegetables and grass. A-haaaaa! In the United States a garden is ONLY for flowers or vegetables. There's never any grass in the garden, the grass is out in the yard unless it's a formal garden which usually comes with a "lawn." We did go in to how some people will make the distinction between the front lawn and the back yard but we didn't get in to the jargon change between raking the yard and mowing the lawn no matter which side of the house it's on.

We learned that evening that in the UK a "yard" is a concrete or brick paved space surrounded by high walls, a courtyard perhaps. My soon to be significant other and I looked at each other and cringed an "Ew" together before we all laughed out loud again in accepting camaraderie. In the case of the New Scotland Yard the yard is actually the headquarters building of the London Metropolitan Police and even then legend has that it was named after the street it was on in Whitehall!

We weren't going to solve that distinction or dive in to the etymological history of how one became the other. That wasn't the point, really. Sir U of the K decided that he was pleased with my choice in potential mates and we went on to finish the evening over a rousing conversation of favorite places to travel.

Thoughts of a British vacation popped immediately in to mind.

Gotta go.

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