Sunday, 26 July 2015

A Cottage Tells Tales

Miles and Poppy have bought a very rundown old (approx 200 years) cottage in a nice village just a 10 minute drive from Little Bunting.    It needs a lot of work, and the budget is small, so Max and I are helping out with some of the donkey work.

This view shows the sun room and the kitchen extension.    The old brickwork to the front and back of the cottage show just how many alterations there have been over the years, doors and windows blocked up, new ones created, extra height added here and there.   It is a charming mish-mash.

The interior is open and spacious, despite being a cottage (actually 3 tiny cottages knocked into one), it has a corridor which rambles on to nowhere, nooks and crannies galore, and the floorboards are very old and wide.

It is a delight, despite all the dirt and the amount of work which needs to be done.

The old man who owned it, died a few months ago (in a nursing home).  He'd been ill for some time, unable to climb the stairs to the bathroom, so a shower had been installed in what used to be the dining room but had become his bedroom.   This interesting water feature could have been a great topic of conversation at a dinner party, but it was one of the first things to go, so were the (very smelly) fitted carpets, despite their obvious good quality!

Already the house is feeling fresher.

That is the interesting thing about this cottage - I am well known for having a 'sensitive nose' to bad smells, believe me, this place smelt bad...and yet it didn't put me off the place at all.   It feels like a home which has known a lot of love and good times.   Some buildings do, I find.

Just as there have been buildings which have made me turn and leave as quickly as possible.

As we made our way through the house and got our first sight of the gardens, well the delight just increased.   This old garden looked loved.   It oozed it out of every old fashioned rose and beautiful honeysuckle, the masses of poppies (surely an omen)  and the summerhouse.

Max and I had been sent there by Miles and Poppy to check the place out, with a view to them buying it unseen (they live abroad) as a home for the future.    We took photographs of the problem areas, told them the negatives, but they bought it anyhow.

So the work begins!

I have spent the day stripping old wallpaper from the upper landing, peeling back the layers, finding old and new plaster, listening to the building.

Max spent the day dismantling the old kitchen, emptying cupboards and finding treasures of no monetary value, but they interest me.

One treasure was a slip of paper which gives details of Cowslip Cottage and the way it was judged Overall Winner of the garden section of the Village Show.    It was awarded to Leonora, the old chap's wife, so that makes it date from over 30 years ago.

I have discovered that Leonora painted.  The walls have a large number of picture hooks and picture lights and I like to imagine that her work hung on the walls.   The lovely old summerhouse still has two of them fixed to the walls and, judging from the luxurious way it was fitted out, I imagine that they may well have spent a great deal of time out there, enjoying the view of the lovely gardens.

Tucked away in a high kitchen cupboard Max unearthed an unopened box of Cadbury's Milk Tray chocolates.   They went straight into the skip, but I wonder what the story is behind them and who were they intended for.

One final detail to share with you - Max found half a bottle of rum hidden in the bathroom cupboard...  I like the idea that the old chap may have enjoyed a crafty nip of rum now and then, until his legs let him down.

Please remember that all words and photographs are copyright to Felicity at Parsonage Cottage.
If you are reading these words anywhere else, then they have been stolen.  
Scraping is theft and I will take action.

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