Monday, 5 January 2009

ancient and modern

We are staying in a small cottage described as Grade II listed, altho the inside has been ripped up, turned round and plaster boarded out of all recognition to the builders who put up the row of tiny terraced houses in 1825.
King George IV was on the throne [going noisily mad?] when the first people moved into it's one up, one down, plus privy and wash house out the back.
Now it has another bedroom, kitchen and bathroom grafted on. The only original space is probably the chimney space where the range [cast iron stove] was set. I understand people often used to rent then, and moved up to bigger things, as and when they could afford it, as the family [inevitably]increased. So sometimes they would own/rent collapsible ranges, which they would pile on the cart and trundle up the street to the next home.
When I lived in Carlisle with 2 children [in a similarly extended house] I found it rather cramped. Mr Graham next door thought me a total lightweight [for several reasons], he had been bought up with 8 other kids in his family in the same space.
When I was home tutoring in Carlisle, the mother would stick a shovel in the roaring coal fire and carry it next door to start another in the grate for the lesson. Of course they were Council houses, built to certain rules which made sure tenants had good sized rooms and houses to live in, unlike modern mouse traps. Carlisle had one of the largest number of council houses in the country, was told, proudly. Then Mrs Thatcher enabled tenants to buy, and the money wasn't ploughed back into the system...............
Graylag Cottage, our Norfolk abode this week, is flint faced and maybe from the front looks much like it did nearly 200 years ago. The walls are very thick, we haven't heard a peep from either side, and once you get some heat going it is very cosy.
Out back there is a yard and outhouses and then some fields with horses and pheasants doing sentry duty. There is also a rather nice summer house, but not comfortable this time of year, which is a shame as it is very calm out there.
The road is called Freeman Street as it was a toll free way of getting into the town. During the day it is a road busy with cars, but at night it quietens, the stars come out and the Xmas lights add to the glow.
Twelfth night tomorrow, all decorations must come down or mayhem ensue, so we have to whizz home and make sure Hill Cottage is free from curse for another year.
Today we drove to Holkham Beach and marched through the few spats of snow till we got too cold and bored.This an authentic flake of snow.

These are the most interesting sights on a cold beach

Retired Man and Hattie the dog.

Evidence of past potterers.

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