During our honeymoon in March 1968, Jackie and I were intrigued by a deserted house in Ockley. We wandered around inside and wondered if it were for sale, but decided we couldn’t afford it. It would, we thought, have been just our kind of project. Now, nearly half a century later, we find ourselves on a similar adventure. Although not previously unoccupied, our current home has probably required just as much work.
The two interchangeable pictures I put up today are both from colour slides taken in that house. As is my wont, I photographed them in situ on the wall, so the reflections and locations form parts of the images.
The two old shoes lying on the newspaper were exactly as I found them. Whose were the footwear? A previous owner? Someone who had sheltered there? We will never know. IKEA did not come to the UK until 1987, so the shelves alongside the photo on the wall of the downstairs loo were probably unknown to the mystery owner of the worn down heel. There is no window in the little room, so photographs made there always contain a light hanging from the ceiling and glowing over the subject in the corner.
As can be seen through its kitchen window, the garden of that old house was as beset by brambles as is ours now. Had someone enjoyed a meal on the dusty plate? Was it the owner of the shoes? We didn’t look inside the box, but were there any rotten eggs inside it? Had the contents filled the plate? How had they been cooked? Who now knows?
I framed today’s picture to show a reflection of our own windowsill which, until recently, had also featured brambles, and, quite fortuitously, my shot included the far end of the ledge containing Jackie’s maternal grandparents’ wedding photograph behind a family heirloom. Mr and Mrs O’Connell, the dapper Edwardian groom and his beautiful wife, stand behind a glass dome containing the bride’s bouquet and tiara which Jackie now treasures.
Adjacent to Apple Court Garden I noticed a horse box being filled with logs, and heard the sound of a chainsaw. I wandered into the garden and spoke to the logger. He was clearing trees for his neighbour. The quid pro quo was that he disposed of the brushwood and kept the logs for his own wood-burning stove. He showed me a pile of ashes that was all that was left of the branches of four trees from yesterday. He also said that any wood could be burnt in the stove. This is pretty much what I had been thinking of doing with our cuttings pile.Whilst I was out, Jackie made an excellent start on clearing the right hand corner of our front drive. Apart from freeing the shrubs from each other and from brambles, this now enables her to have a clearer view when driving onto Christchurch Road.
My lady spent the afternoon completing her preparation of a superb evening meal for us and for her sisters Helen and Shelly and brother in law Bill. We enjoyed a pleasant evening together over Jackie’s blissful beef casserole (recipe) meal followed by tangy apple and gooseberry crumble and custard. Various wines and sparkling water were imbibed and a toast drunk in Cava in celebration of the recent arrival of Helen and Bill’s grandson William (to be known, like his grandfather, as Billy).