All 3 of us camping together in one room was the practical solution as none of us knew what to expect from a night in such a large and totally empty old house. Even the slightest noises we made echoed, so we assumed that we would all get fairly spooked during the night. In fact, we were surprised that there was no creaking and no strange sounds at all overnight, other than on Sunday night when some drunken neighbour played his music until 3 am and occasionally added heartfelt vocals
The house definitely has a sunny disposition. Because of this, even the enormous spiders didn’t freak us out. I tried to sweep our bedroom using the broom which was in the hallway, but my heart wasn’t really in it so Baz took over. As he swept the handle snapped off and we saw that it was riddled with woodworm….
We slung a line over the stairs for our wet clothes and towels from the swimming pool. Luxury it wasn’t, but there was nowhere else clean enough to put anything, so we felt it was excusable
On Saturday we all pitched in and scrubbed the floor of a smaller bedroom and we moved our stuff into there on Sunday so that we could start removing the filthy artificial silk fabric off the walls of the Jewel Room. This took us to a whole new level of grime, as we were engulfed in filth. I was gagging, desperately trying not to vomit. Some of the electrics have been positioned over the fabric so we could only do some of the walls, but clearly there is more wallpaper than plaster underneath. We have found patterns from the 50s and the 30s so far, and it is something of a miracle that the chimney breast had not caught fire at any time, because the entire thing appears to be charred and brittle throughout.
In other news, the cellar is flooded. Baz and I ventured down the worn stone steps on Saturday morning to trace where the strong ‘damp’ smell was coming from and Voila! – several feet of standing water. It doesn’t seem to be effluent and it can’t have been flooded too long because someone has been in there to replace joists below the ground floor within the last few years.
Now this might all sound a bit doom and gloom, but it’s really not. This was an initial fact-finding mission and were will re-group and return to face up to the problems. The important thing is that Baz and C have now seen the house – and they love it. It’s summer now so they didn’t care about the lack of home comforts or the inches of dust everywhere, just the sun and the atmosphere in the town. And they know, as I do, that this house has a beautiful bone structure – despite the inevitable osteoporosis