Lest anyone think that I am living the dream, here is a part of it that is more nightmare.
This is one of the walls the so-called wash house at the cottage. Built at the same time as the main house around 1800, it was probably exactly that – somewhere the washing could be done, separate but not that far from the fireplace in the cottage where the water would have been heated. The cottage itself had no bathroom or kitchen at that time – they were additions in the late 1960s. Yes, that late. It was also in 1962 that electricity first came to the cottage. That probably sounds like a long time ago but that’s during my childhood, so it doesn’t seem so to me.
I often wonder about the lives of the people who have lived here over the last couple of hundred years – I have their names and should find out more about them. In the twentieth century, they were mostly older couples and widowed single people, in the nineteenth, families with children and even a lodger who was a weaver – nearby Spaxton used to be a centre for cloth manufacture way back. With no shops for two and a half miles, they probably made their own bread and got their eggs, milk and meat from the farm down the lane. They definitely will have grown their own vegetables. They would have had to walk everywhere, for the cottage is relatively remote and there isn’t space to keep a horse, although there’s a barn over the lane that might have been rented for that purpose.
I don’t feel very driven to repair this wall. It’s not doing anyone any harm and it has a kind of beauty about it; the wash house being built into the hill behind. I like the link with the past that being able to see under the very twentieth-century rendering allows. Although a bit of the ceiling did fall down the other week. Must get that fixed.