Old buildings, loved – and not.

 

Twenty five years ago we were contemplating buying this one. But we couldn’t really justify it and it turned out the owner had no interest in selling anyway. Now it is far too late. Someone clearly did love it once (you can just see the hand stencilled trefoils below  the roof and round the windows – unusual decoration for a modest locaterie) Nothing has been done to preserve it, though a few years back the vegetation (jungle) was cleared from the front and I got excited thinking maybe it would be rescued…I make a point of walking past it several times a year but I fear the structure doesn’t have much longer.  And it is by no means alone round this area. There are several abandoned farm buildings, casualties of the rural exodus, which even now nobody seems to want. Such a pity.

This building, though, is in great shape – literally!  It is part of what was a medieval Guild Hall in Suffolk. It apparently became a Free Grammar School in 1577 and has now morphed into a holiday cottage where we stayed for a peaceful week in September. I spent several days trying to fathom out the original architecture – very confusing and I’m sure I failed but the exposed wood is very exciting – lots of detail, carefully preserved. One of my daughters is in Canada for a year, so I’ll make sure I send her pictures of the timber framed houses we saw all over Suffolk – it seems so weird to me to be in a country where you just can’t see any!

 

 

Both Victorian, both still in service.

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The first one – my local in Brighton – is a rough workhorse of a box, scuffed and much painted over. The second is in Tunbridge Wells (sorry, ROYAL Tunbridge Wells) – very pretty design, beautifully maintained and, it has to be said, with just a whiff of tourist about it….

They are both listed – the unsophisticated one as curtilage, not in its own right. I know which one I prefer though!

LYON: Centre d’histoire de la résistance et de la déportation

We timed an airport pick-up around this museum collection – and it was well worth it. Some stunning posters for anyone interested in ‘Work, Family, Fatherland’ in Vichy France – or indeed just in the history of propaganda as a weapon of war.

 

 

Some sobering, some inspiring:

Angeli was a local administrator condemned at the Liberation for having co-operated too enthusiastically with the Nazi regime. Gerlier was Archbishop of Lyon at this period. He seems to have been fearless in speaking out against Laval’s plans to deport Jews to the death camps – and, in particular, he urged Catholic priests to take the children into hiding.

There is evidence that a number of primary school teachers also took great risks to conceal their pupils. I would like to think I could have done the same – but with 5 children of my own to protect I’m not so sure….

I am certainly grateful not to have been tested in this way.

May’d it into June

These terrible headings are getting to be a very bad habit…. enough, enough!

The last few weeks are receding fast. They did involve more music and more cathedrals – French ones this time, Rouen and Lyon:

Fabulous, despite all the construction work going on in Rouen.

But don’t let the current (building site) views from BRASSERIE PAUL put you off – even in France you could travel some distance to find a casual restaurant this good. It’s just outside the cathedral and I really recommend it.

Mixed feelings about the above rather sad photos though. When we arrived at the house we found trees down and branches snapped all over the place. The ancient oak on the left WAS an absolutely perfect shape…. and the mixed foliage on the right is typical of the weird arrangements that had been created. The house is on the northern edge of the Auvergne and there had been a freak weather event just after we left in October – 20 cm of snow overnight. The trees were still in leaf and could not take the weight…. So we spent most of our time sawing and chopping!

The lizard was fun though. I lifted a pillow and found it motionless. I took a photo because it is so hard to get close to a live one. Then I called for the Chief Corpse Remover (we do usually find something in the house) who picked it up – at which point it leapt into the air….only hibernating! Not sure who was the more shocked.

And how about that frog for camouflage?

February (can’t resist ing-ing)

Yes, I know, it’s the middle of March. Keep up, SpinningStreak.

 

But I’ve been busy. Fighting freezing conditions in the way I know best…

Walking over icy Sussex Downs with my lovely sister-in-law – all about the frozen dew ponds and shivering sheep:

 

Hiding away for a week in a cottage in Rye. Entertaining family members from over 90 to under one month!

 

Visiting Tenterden, Hastings Old Town, Tunbridge Wells…

 

Listening to tales of a childhood in the early 1930s and really really wishing I had recorded it…

The weather was frankly grim. The following week, of course, was almost summer – though vanished again now.

IMG_5785Three year old granddaughter’s current favourite place to visit – ‘Pirate’ park in Reigate.

Working, reading, working, knitting, working, spinning – well, no change there.

Some Serious Planning is also going on backstage – but enough – I think I might have just about caught up!