Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hard Slog, Hollyhocks and Vintage Stock


We have been taking advantage of the beautiful weather this week and attending to some essential exterior maintenance on the house. We are busy painting windows and carrying out repairs so that we will be waterproof and who knows, possibly even draught-free come the winter months (and come they will!)

The house is unusual because its appearance is different on all four sides. The front of the house has 100 year old render and every window in the house is at least 100 years old too. We were thrilled to receive visits from an elderly couple recently. The gentleman lived in our house in the 1930s when he was a very young man, and his family continued to live here until the early 1950s. They gave us photos of their family and friends taken outside the house and these show the very same windows and exterior finish which exists today, including the stone walls which surround the house and garden. The couple are in their late 90s and have wonderful memories of the village and the house. Indeed, they first met at the end of our drive and within weeks were engaged to be married. The gentleman recounted a very poignant tale of that unforgettable day in 1939 when he was descending the stone staircase and heard the wireless announce that Britain was at war with Germany. We heard how the villagers would walk up the hill with their yokes to fetch water, and how cider was made in our little barn. The wooden porch at the front of the house served as the village Post Office in the early part of the 20th century and one of the photos they brought us was taken in the 1920s and shows the Post Office sign above the door. We are really looking forward to their next visit and hearing more of their stories.

We have also been meeting with other villagers who spent many years restoring their own houses. Their own stories and words of encouragement have proved essential to spur us on when we are flagging in energy, time and funds!

One legacy we have from the people who lived in the house before us is the amazing planting in the garden. The house was empty for a while before we bought it but the wonderful variety of plants are making themselves known, popping up amongst the weeds and grass to give us a wonderful display. One example are these hollyhocks in front of the house, aren't they a beautiful colour?


We have many varieties of roses and shrubs, and an everlasting sweet pea which is abundant. A dessert gooseberry bush has kept us in puddings for weeks and we have a very tasty loganberries! Our grapevines are doing well too. They grow mainly on a south facing slope so we are toying with the idea of looking into wine production!!

So, despite the rubble, dust, debris, draughts and humungous spiders, with every passing week we are making a difference to our new home and are very happy to be living here. So, on that note, just to say we have added a few items to the website and have lots more stock coming soon, please pop by when you have the time and if you are passing through this beautiful part of the country do stop by to say hello and if you happen to have a paintbrush on you, well, you will be made very, very welcome indeed!