Our ‘new’ cottage is in fact quite old. How old is difficult to say. It has a thatched roof, two inglenook fireplaces, cob (i.e. mud) walls and no discernible damp proof course. But it has also been subject to some ‘improvements’ in recent years, not all of them sympathetic, and most of them featuring on my lengthening ‘List’.
Nevertheless, it’s a great feeling when you have just moved somewhere new. It’s chaotic, but in spite of the boxes stacked almost to the ceiling it is just beginning to feel like home. It is ours, all ours and we can do so much with it.
I was wandering through the ground floor rooms as I had this last thought and had stopped at a double glazed brilliant white uPVC door with a view of the garden beyond. By some miracle the original door frame is still in place, along with the old iron pegs that used to serve as door hinges in the dim and distant past. Unsurprisingly the latter now bearing several coats of high-gloss black paint. Movement from outside made me look up. A pheasant was walking, with purpose, down the centre of the path on the other side of the door. It stopped as soon as it saw me and locked on with its piercing brown eyes.
The message was clear: however much money had recently changed hands to secure this place we should not think for a second that we actually owned it. A nice clump of Welsh poppies was growing close to where the pheasant was standing. As if the matter needed any further emphasis the bird delicately nipped off three of the flowers and cast them aside on the path, flapped its wings with a flourish, readjusted some wayward feathers and then continued on his way.