I have a bit of a weird house. It’s a T shape.
The upward stroke of the T as in ‘I’ pre dates the cross bar of the T by about 100 yrs.
We live in the centre of a village and if you stand back and look carefully, despite all the add-ons – like conservatories, extensions, annexes, porches etc – you can see that the middle of the village was once made up of a number of small cottages, stacked sideways along the road like dominoes – these original cottages would have been short roofed and tiny.
My house carries the name of a previous owner, a Victorian gentleman who must have made a tidy sum for himself because it was he who tacked on to the side of his cottage a gothic frontage, with pillared porch, a balcony, and fireplaces you could stand in to get to ‘Diagon Alley’. It is an ostentatious folly. He did it, village folklore would have us believe, as a way of flipping the bird to the local landowner at the time who owned most of the village. This was a man who clearly had a gargantuan score to settle, and he crowned this gem by carving his initials with great artistry in to the gate posts at the roadside to remind the world just who it all belonged to.
So indelibly is this house associated with him and him alone, the rest of us who have owned it since all feel like we are maintaining it on his behalf.
The original old cottage has been refurbished time and again over the years to a point where it is quite featureless and whatever it’s 18th century beginnings, it looks pretty plastered and 20th century now.
The Victorian frontage however remains in tact, completely unchanged since c.1900
Original fire places, tiling, architraving, doors,handles, stain glass leaded sash windows, stair casing, picture and dado rails…. hang on did someone just say stain glass leaded sash windows?
Well yes they did – beautiful, gorgeous colour, spectacular size – and draughty as the crypt.
We fell in love with this house – it’s sweeping majesty, it’s quirky set up, it’s authenticity, it’s freezing cold.
Every room with it’s towering ceilings is like heating Kings Cross Station with a fan heater. Tonight temperatures are set to drop to below freezing, this morning we were caught out well and truly as we unexpectedly ran out of heating oil and the next delivery will be in 2 days time. Tomorrow morning there will be something akin to snow on the inside of those lovely old windows!
And we look like the Cratchit family.
We’re stooped over under layers wool, with fingerless gloves, long johns and a hot water bottle each.
Since I have my arm in plaster, I can’t jump in and out a shower stall like ‘jack be nimble’ – I’m for the bath in the morning, if ever anyone wanted to walk in Victoriana shoes, surely nothing could be more evocative than an early morning bath, with no heating and a glorious sash window for comfort!!!