Friday, 16 November 2018

Coincidence


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?


53 comments:

  1. How wonderful John . It looks really homely which I love never give up . You are an inspiration to so many, Best wishes from Sue'
    s MUM XX

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  2. It's not weird, it's fate. The cottage was waiting for you to put it back together. You belong there, I'm so glad you stayed ... and no doubt so is your home ♥️

    Sue ... Joan's daughter xx

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  3. Sometimes, just sometimes we end up in a place we were meant to be. The cottage does not belong to you. You belong to it.
    And long may it be so. Xx

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  4. Sometimes a place cries out for a certain look. Especially old houses and cottages. You felt it, or saw it more likely in your minds eye, and put it back.

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  5. You can be really proud of that, you gave her soul back

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  6. A house is just a house until you make it your own, and it becomes a home. It is a very lovely home.

    But I am disturbed at the regular frequency of strangers peeping into your home. Aren't you worried about creepers spying on you as you walk around in your underpants?

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  7. You obviously are in tune to the house. Nicely done

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  8. You must have good design instincts!

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  9. I love the interior of your cottage and the colours you chose. Am I understanding correctly that there were once cupboards where you had yours built? I wonder why they would have been removed in the first place if that was the case. -Jenn

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    1. Yes there were built in glass fronted cupboards originally which were pulled out in the 1970s

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    2. Okay, that is interesting that you ended up doing that and she recalled it as if they had never been removed!

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  10. No the house told you what it needed. You somehow picked up on it. Looks lovely and comfy anyway xx

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  11. I agree with Rachel! You were obviously in tune with what the cottage needed to become more like itself again.

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  12. I sometimes would like to see inside a couple of the homes I owned in the past.

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  13. But do they really remember what the cottage was like before (since Olwenna was only a small girl)? Or were they just saying it was the same to reassure you that you'd done a good job?

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    1. Perhaps you are right nick...I like to think you were not

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    2. Anonymous1:16 pm

      @Nick How to pour cold water on a lovely story. If you opened a book on period features (you may borrow one of mine) one might even marvel how John, intuitively, got it "right". I speak from experience as, during the Eighties and Nineties friends, indeed myself, bought period properties (Victorian/Edwardian) only to rip out all those ghastly "refurbishments" imposed during the Seventies and restore, often at great cost, original features. Gemma

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    3. I may well be wrong of course. Their memories may be totally reliable. But I must say I remember virtually nothing about my grandparents' house, though I stayed there many times as a child.

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  14. If the original owners of my cottage came back; they'd have a bloody fit!

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  15. Clearly you had a sense of what the house wanted and needed:to go home!

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  16. I love your cottage...somehow, some one has communicated to you what it was and needed back!
    I never understand people who buy old houses and immediately render them featureless.....! Glad you are slowly filling it back up..the chair was a steal!!!!

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  17. You have a good sense of style and what suits. It look lovely. I can't believe it had laminate floor. Yikes.

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  18. Those cupboards are perfect for the cottage. You've done a good job.

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  19. My kitchen has a large glass-fronted cabinet and when we moved in I had it painted a...very gentle green. And so it is now. Funny. Is there a tradition of putting the little jugs on beams? We found a tiny little beer stein, suitable for an elf, perhaps, on a beam hidden in the small closet under our stairway. We've always thought maybe a child hid it there and forgot about it but could there be more to that story?
    Houses hav

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    1. Sorry. Somehow I hit publish before I was ready. What I wanted to say is that houses keep their secrets until they are ready to reveal them, don't they?

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  20. Barbara Anne2:40 pm

    Your cottage must be so very pleased you're there. It was meant to be.

    Hugs!

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  21. You don't have it so much as it has you. It needed you.

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  22. Wonderful post today.

    cheers, parsnip and badger

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  23. There are those who believe there is no such thing as 'coincidence', it's all been pre-determined, and inevitable.

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  24. How lovely! We had an old house in Christchurch, built in 1912 I believe, and the back dining room had a rough brick fireplace that some OIK had painted white. Two hours to paint, 50 hours it took us to get that paint off it.
    Sorry I've been so quiet, just got home from the UK xo

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  25. I can only wish to have half of your taste. My own hovel is one of those 70s builds that lends itself perfectly to magnolia minimalism. I doubt I could ever do anything to make it look homely other than plonking my arse and leaving the dust to get to Quentin Crisp acceptability.

    The little I have seen of your home oozes style and class. Are you an interloper?

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  26. John, I'm driving myself crazy with a case of dejavu regarding your yoof post. Tell me you posted something similar about another Sam coworker, or am I losing it?

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    1. No u are not mad
      See
      https://disasterfilm.blogspot.com/2018/09/butch.html

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  27. Flat out charming.

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  28. Lovely story John. How I wish I could pop round and knock on your door - it sounds so inviting.

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  29. Your blog is very nice,Thanks for sharing good blog.
    Royal1 gclub

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  30. Ah, again proof that you are a classic.

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  31. That must have been a rather thrilling feeling! A lovely account.

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  32. Off to work for two nights.... hate to leave Mary who has gone a little depressed with her cone

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    1. Sweet little Mary will hopefully not need the cone during your work shifts next week. It will all have been worth it when she's healed and happy again.-Mary

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  33. 1940 wasn't that long ago, considering that building has been there since 1674(as seen on the stone carving above your front door).The prior resident that made such similar choices to your own may have also had other things in common with you, such as a love of very old dwellings? You both certainly seem to share "timeless" good taste, in homes, decorating and furnishings. -Mary

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  34. You have lovely taste and a beautiful home John. Try not to worry about Mary, she has all her furry chums to comfort her.

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  35. Thanks for posting. What an interesting coincidence. I think the green cupboards look great.

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  36. Wow! That is weird but a very happy coincidence. The mantle was a perfect fit - I wonder, do the openings of fireplaces come as a standard size? You do have a lovely Marple-esque home.

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  37. You have brought “the cottage” into its truth, a COTTAGE.
    Unique, charming, sweet as can be . . .
    I would love seeing it in person.
    I agree with many others . . . you have great taste, style . . .

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  39. Freaky and wonderful. It just shows what a purist you are. You made the cottage look the way it was supposed to look.

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  40. Maybe you are possessed by the ghost of the previous owner...

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  41. It's nice to hear that the English once brought culture to Trelawnyd - like missionaries in Africa.

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  42. I love your cottage, n am so happy that you're staying in it x

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  43. I don't think it is strange at all dear; it's just the house letting you know that you are exactly where you are meant to be. You are at home.

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