Twelve years ago, almost to the day, I was busy painting and decorating the living room of the cottage
The previous owner preferred a somewhat minimalist palate, and so we were faced with a nasty laminate floor, Plain painted walls and a lonely log burner in an unadorned inglenook fireplace.
The place looked tired and soulless.
I found a carpenter of some note and had bespoke cabinets with glass doors designed and built either side of the chimney breast. These I painted a gentle green. A old fashioned bannister rail was put in and I found an old kitchen door from a reclaimers yard in Penmaenmawr and hung it in the empty doorway to the kitchen. A new mantleshelf, I found in a local junk shop and an old neighbour wallpapered the walls with vintage Laura Ashley wallpaper.
I turned the look of the room from hard to a Miss Marple soft .
One morning, when I was painting the kitchen door a matching green, I heard Finlay ( our first Welsh Terrier) barking, I popped my head around the door and saw two old ladies peeping through the living room window.
They both jumped noticeably when I waved at them and did that surprised, hand wringing thing old ladies so often do when they are caught out at something.
The ladies were Olwenna Hughes and Gwyneth Jones, ladies well into their eighties.
I went to the door and introduced myself and asked them both to come in, I asked them to tell me a bit more about the cottage as I was sure their interest to see what I had done to the place stemmed from knowing about everything that went on the village.
Olwenna had been a small girl when she last entered the cottage. The cottage was owned by one of the few English families in Trelawnyd , and they ran a small coal merchants from the field opposite.Olwenna came regularly to learn piano from the daughter .
" What was the place like when you came , Can you remember it ?" I asked her and she remained quiet for a moment turning around the room stiffly with big swollen legs.
She pointed to our bookcase under the stairs and told me that that's where a small upright piano was situated " The rest of the room looks almost the same!" She mused " I remember the green cupboards well.... and the ticking clock and lots of little jugs up on the beams !"
Olwenna craned her head upwards and pointed to a collection of my gaudy Welsh jugs just recently bought and placed, and smiled
By luck and design I had put back all of the original features of the room to its 1940 style...How weird was that?