In 1960, we moved out of town to the north-east to a Tudor farmhouse, originally called Old Farm House, but now just Old House. The original building had been added to but the old core of the building had low beam ceilings that always a hazard to Dad, and became so to all of us as we grew taller. The garden was large and took a lot of Dad and Mum’s time to keep tidy. A thatched barn was all that remained above ground of the site’s agricultural heritage, but the footings of a much larger barn that had been destroyed by an incendiary bomb in the last war were evident close to the house (I think this barn may have been larger than the house).
One day in 1961, I arrived back from primary school to find that I had a new brother Bill, born in the house. It was a great place to grow up but as I mentioned in an earlier post, agricultural changes were making a mess of the surrounding countryside – I suspect this played a major part in my subsequent career choice.
I visited Old House again yesterday at the kind invitation of Heather and Simon. There have been at least two owners since we left in 1978 and all seem to have struggled with the layout at the back of the house. Heather and Simon have also had to contend with the listing of the house as being of historical interest. This has meant that all changes need to be approved and must add considerable complexity to the upkeep of this fine old building. Their approach has been to strip back much of the oldest part of the structure to the Tudor beams and to replace some of the new additions with oak based structures much more in keeping with the original.