Friday, 13 June 2014

Closing the door on no.42 & no.18

Whilst I believe there is a superstition that says when visiting a house you should always leave by the same door that you entered, it seems more appropriate as we prepare to close our respective doors that we exit via the back door. And here is mine – complete with redundant cat flap – and tiny tin bird, which is beginning to rust. The previous owners had added a very small extension onto the kitchen to house a small utility area, and the back door forms part of that build; I think that is why the walls have been painted – to disguise the use of new bricks.
I hope you have enjoyed looking around. This joint experience of sharing our homes has been an interesting one. It has made me consider and question the objects that I own and the use and function of each room. It has also made me appreciate things that I previously took for granted and to accept that old houses will never be damp free!! Thank you for visiting.

The 'back door' from this house has changed location a few times: firstly through an extension consisting of a small skylit corridor (back door at the end) with a wet room leading off it. (Albert developed emphysema, so he began to live on the ground floor when the stairs got too much to cope with). Again when S built a workshop going from the outside wall and back door into the garden. Lastly, with this 'new' back door seen above, which used to be the far wall and window from the kitchen, when our tour began. Now it is a new exit and view to our tiny but green rear garden. Sharing our stories, secrets and discoveries throughout the tour has been a rich and rewarding experience for ourselves and the Open House Hosts, whose participation in this project we greatly appreciate. If you have joined in at some point of the tour we hope you have enjoyed what you have found. 

Morris, William - "These old buildings do not belong to us only, they belong to our forefathers and they will belong to our descendants unless we play them false. They are not in any sense our own property to do with as we like with them. We are only trustees for those that come after us."

Tuesday, 29 April 2014


I guess that a garden could be called an extravagance, but the extravagance that I wanted to mention is the thing that I like to do when I'm looking at/around my garden. 

Eat liquorice.

Actually I will eat liquorice mostly anywhere, but it's extremely nice (and satisfying) doing it whilst taking time to look at the little piece of nature beyond my back door.

This is the view from my back door. I took this a couple of weeks ago, and the wallflowers are looking (and smelling) even better now. We also have the beginnings of a veranda happening. A roof structure is up with a corrugated see-thru plastic roof, and plans for the decking are being sorted. It keeps raining though, which is a bit of a bind, but good for the plants, anyway.

Like chocolate, just any type of liquorice just doesn't cut it. For me, having tried quite a few different brands, RJ's is my favourite. Pricey, but worth it.

Whilst planting out my sweet peas the other weekend, I found yet another piece of blue and white in the soil.
This plot has given me such pleasure in all that is has, and continues to reveal since S & I moved in: and it's a joy to share its secrets with you.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014


In the back bedroom (or guest room) on the wall is a printer’s case. A friend, who has since sadly died, gave this to D and I many years ago. He was one of those people who had led an interesting and varied life; following an apprenticeship as the Printer's Devil(which, according to his autobiography[!]is an historic term for a printer's apprentice), he went to Australia  on the £10 passage. Here he found work as a journalist and met the Beatles at a party (well, all except Lennon). On his return he worked at the V&A as an attendant, followed by work as a housemaster at a boarding school for children with chronic asthma  - where he ran a printing press in the converted gym.  In later life he bought a van and set up a mobile printing works – designing and setting small letterpress jobs and printing them in the back of his van… but of course this was all before I knew him. He stayed with us on various occasions (often sleeping in his camper van outside!) and during one of his visits produced the wooden case and with it, our names in wood type, as a thank you. It was a lovely gift, but why didn't I discover more… what other wonders did he have squirreled away? Were these oddments of wood type – or part of a full set that he split? Part of me feels guilty that the case and type have become a wall decoration – but it is what he intended.  

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Table Setting

I hardly ever have cream teas, but I love the idea of taking time out to have 'tea'and a cordial chat in the afternoon. No doubt it is re-living nostalgic memories of childhood, when we used to stop off for this tea-time treat on the way back from an excursion whilst on holiday. So although it was only once or twice a year (never to be had at home), the performative nature of the cream tea intrigued me, and I really liked the way it was served, so that I had the choice of whether to put the jam or the cream on first, myself (always the cream)! 
My Mother's Grandmother hailed from Devonshire (never 'Devon').

Monday, 17 March 2014

Granny’s blanket

Ok, I'm in the small third bedroom now – and as we have already discussed the merits of crochet, I thought I would share my blanket with you; made by Granny many years ago, it has several holes (which, if I were able to crochet I would probably be able to mend) the culprit was our old cat who loved to sleep on it, but would regularly pummel it with his claws. I hate to admit this but I have never dared wash it – although maybe I should rectify this situation? 

Monday, 10 March 2014

Kitchen (utensil)

Ok P, carrying on from the bottom of the stairs, we go along the back part of the hall way, past the recent (but as yet, not painted) addition of 'the under stairs cupboard' to arrive at the entrance to the kitchen. As you can see in the second photo (one with my slippered feet) there used to be a door here at some stage, which was removed. We are not going to put one back.

On into the kitchen, a galley type space, with units along one side and the sink, cooker and washing machine on the other. After renovating the kitchen (over our first Christmas holiday in this house), we knocked through
the back wall last summer to put a door (instead of a window) at the end of the kitchen. This necessitated changing the location of the sink, and therefore the plumbing and radiator position. So finishing and redecoration of this space is now being saved as a job for this summer.

On the stainless steel work surface is a spoon rest. It was found in a charity shop for 75p. It looked kind of familiar. It turned out that my Mum had one exactly the same. She doesn't know what happened to it. Maybe it got lost when they moved house?

Monday, 30 December 2013

Alternative bathroom cabinet

Outside the bathroom hang a row of gym bags on a set of old hooks (these were found on a roadside somewhere in Greece, and bought home as hand luggage, not your average holiday souvenir). The gym bags are my bathroom cabinet – the bathroom itself is small with limited free wall space – so the bags, which are themed – hold various bits and pieces; for example spare shampoo, conditioners and soaps in one – all things medicinal in another – etc. Is the medicine/bathroom cabinet endangered I wonder?

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