It fascinates me how the meaning of a word can change over time. Nice used to mean exact, but is more commonly used to mean pleasant these days, for example. One such word is quaint or quainte. I came across it when reading “The Canterbury Tales” (written in old English) and the glossary said the meaning was “strange” which certainly wasn’t the meaning I knew.
My dictionary tells me that quaint (pronunciation here) is an adjecctive which means “interestingly old-fashioned or odd, curious, whimsical”. Miriam Webster’s online dictionary adds that something quaint is marked by elegant design or is pleasingly unusual.
Perhaps one person’s “strange” is another person’s “pleasingly unusual”?
I certainly encountered plenty of quaintness on my writing retreat to Salterbridge Gatelodge in Cappoquin, Co. Waterford last weekend. It’s a Landmark Trust Ireland property. They restore pieces of unusual architecture which are in danger of disappearing and then rent them out. The rent, and donations, pay for the next restoration project.
I love the idea, having previously stayed in their romantic castle for two, Anne’s Grove, complete with turret stairs and open fire.
Salterbridge was the perfect place to hole up and write – there was even an antique writing desk. And it’s not every house that has a hexangonal room in it – I call that quaint.
Even better, it gave me an excuse to drop into The Yarn Room in Ashford on my drive down. I spent a very happy hour in the company of Stephanie there finding lovely yarn, fabric, and ribbons for various crafty projects.
But they do have very quaint birds on very quaint trees in that part of the country…
Until next time happy reading, writing, and wordfooling,