Tuesday 15 September 2020

The Joy of Old Houses

A friend drew this from a photo I took.
Yesterday Benedict Ambrose and I went to the grounds of our old home, the Historical House, to pick blackberries before dark. 

It was a bit like the Second Mrs DeWinter's nightmare about Manderley in Rebecca. The shrubbery was overgrown, and the recently paved drive was marked here and there were tufts of bright grass growing right through it. A dog-walking couple who recognised B.A. told him there was a mass of hay just rotting at the end of the field; being in the know, I explained that there was so much dog faeces in it, it couldn't be sold for animal consumption. 

Fortunately, the House was okay. The rock-smashed window has been repaired. Whatever has happened to the grounds, at least the House looks fine. 

I felt a wave of nostalgia as we went through the fields looking for ripe blackberries. It's still rather early in the month for blackberries in Scotland, and someone had been before us anyway. I thought about past summers, especially the parties we would have. I felt a bit sad, too, that it is unlikely that I will ever visit our old attic flat again. 

But then I looked at the House, and B.A. quoted a poem by a long-dead owner addressed to its future possessors (us, once, in a way) about using his House and grounds generously and then giving them up cheerfully and with gratitude. And I was happy because this great man actually thought about us hundreds of years before we were born, and, unless there is a devastating fire, his A listed national treasure shall stand there long after we are dead.  

No comments:

Post a Comment