With mid seventies looming up, and near ten years beyond where most folk have retired we have now found a house to retire to next door but two from the farm, (if you count the local pub as a house,) which over looks some of the fields we now farm.
It will be a tremendous down sizing of all house hold items, and can envisage a huge bonfire in the back garden of large old fashioned furniture that has been so lovingly cared for all the years we have lived here.
There are items in the cupboards and on the shelves that have been handed down from grand mothers and grandfathers on both side of the family, who when they themselves retired were only too pleased to find somewhere to unload their surplus memorabilia for safe keeping for the next younger generation. (a policy we would like to repeat for our younger generation, but !!!).
In the wardrobes there are cloths that are well out dated in some cases by forty years, best suits that no longer fit, and only worn a weddings and funerals, out grown and out dated. With a large double wardrobe for all four main bedrooms and the accompanying smaller wardrobe in three of them as well, there has been no need to chuck perfectly good and “as new” clothing away.
It has always been the policy in our house to ware clothing out until it is not worth mending or washing any more, but to ware an old NEW suit to go to market in, or to go about the farm in just to ware it out, would be sacrilege. In the back of your mind is what it cost to buy, and it would make you feel guilty, and it would look to the neighbours as if you were a spendthrift, working in a suit, so it’s kept for BEST, until one day you find out its too small.
Best shoes are the same, some still have long pointed toes, not the extreme ones you used to see in the 50’s and 60’s, but most of them still fit, but hardly any of them have been properly “run in”. With our working boots, they have gradually got wider with ware, and just as they are at there most comfortable, they, after continual daily use, (for years if I had my way) they finally ware out.
The bathroom upstairs here in the farmhouse, would, if you had a seating plan seat upwards of fifteen people. The bathroom in the new (1950's) house will only barely seat one and that in the conventional traditional way. I will, I have no doubt, get claustrophobia if that door were to be shut.
This bathroom we are expected to have to use, standing (or seating) room only for one, you can turn every tap on and off, open and shut the door and the window almost all at the same time, pull the pull switch to turn the light on and off, all this without moving ya feet. All I can say is it wonna cost much to put new lino down, and if ya turn round a bit too quick with the door shut you will find ya cloths hanging on the peg on the back of the door, with you still in them. It will certainly be a steep learning curve for us.
No more having to open six or eight sets of curtains every morning, and from the bed to the bathroom and then down to the kettle in the kitchen is quite literally a sixty yards (or paces, I did count them) trek before ya get ya first cup of tea.
Then in this old farm house, the first pace you take outside the back door and you have arrived at work.
A back door that has been opened and shut as many as hundred times every day, over the last hundred and fifty years.
|This pair of hinges is never oiled, we find that this way we have an early warning of anyone comming through that door by a loud squeek of the hinge, we can hear it right through to the sitting room.|
Only once, in my time here, have I had to lift it off to cut a bit off the bottom of the door to allow for the hinge ware, a process that would imagine only take place once in every generation over all those years.
What has been cut off the bottom of the door is reflected in the gap now appearing at the top, a fly or a wasp can get through, and the draft, but not quite big enough for the swallows and sparrows to come in to nest.
What a difference there will be to close a “plastic” door, with its delicate catch and locking system, after being used to closing an old oak door, and throwing a big blacksmith made twelve inch bolt every night. A bolt that is bright in its shank with once daily use, a door that is rarely if ever bolted during the day, I remember as a kid the back door at home never ever locked all the years I grew up, even when we all went out together at the same time.
I will be looking out through double glazed windows, sound proof, mist proof, rot proof. Walls that have cavity insulation, and a loft, what bit there is compared to the farm house, that are insulated as well.
Afterbeing used to waking on a winters morning to a hard frost, with frost on the inside of the widows, this will be a sauna, but I can well do without the damp these days, it gets into ya bones, so on that count alone it will be nice to move to a smaller and warmer house, even if we’ve been a bit late getting to it.
Can a man who's warm, understand one who's freezing?
Alexander Silzhenitsyn (1918---- )