Sunday, 8 February 2009

Bushfires and The Fourth of the Fourth

I'm watching the bushfires in Australia. I can hardly think of an adjective to describe this horror and find that I am fearful for friends who live close by to the areas concerned, and also fearful for friends in and around Sydney - even though there are no fires burning there at present. My dear friend Liz, who lives in Sydney, emailed me earlier this week to say that Sydney is expecting a heatwave this weekend. The whole country is tinder dry and it's just too easy for a fire to start - or be started.

My heart goes out to all those who have lost family, friends, loved ones in this disaster.

This link to the BBC's Nick Bryant in Sydney tells it all; succinctly.

Earlier today, I was catching up with the lastest post on Pondside's lovely blog. She had been tagged to show the fourth picture in her fourth folder. The result, as always, was charming and interesting. I thought I'd take a peek at my fourth photo in my fourth folder and see what was there. Not too bad, it's an image of my dining table/room, with the table laid for breakfast.


Meggie at Life'sFreeTreats emailed me this week and asked what it is like to live in this old, thatched cottage - do I feel a sense of history?

Here's my reply to her...

I have always wanted to live in a thatched and timber framed cottage/house – it is a delightful time living here. And yes, I do feel a sense of history although sadly there are few facts to glean from the local records at the council offices. It is only about 50 or so years ago that land titles were in place for every sale/purchase of properties in Suffolk – prior to that it was all done the old way; on the shake of hands and on the word of each party. We do know that at one time the house was a pub - but that was common too – many old properties used to have one room of the house where ale was sold to passers-by. The well at the front of the house and the proximity to Bury St Edmunds is a possible clue to the house being on a Pilgrims’ path to the old Abbey (before Henry destroyed it!!)

Just down the hill are the remains of a ‘stone cross’ which is the ancient version of the soap boxes in Hyde Park where people can stand and ‘harangue/lecture/save’ passers by. Very likely local priests or monks would exhort the poor pilgrims to repent etc. Sadly the cross has also been destroyed but the big block of stone is still there so I’ll try to get some photos of it when the daffodils are out a bit later on.

From about 1901 till up to WWII, the house was the local ‘working man’s club’ and the sitting room (the one that has the French doors to it) was the dance floor. It is difficult to find any information about those times – the only elderly man who had been here as a boy would not tell me anything about it as he implied that his information was ‘unseemly’ for a woman to hear. Absolutely infuriating! I was desperate to learn as much as I could about the house but dear old Mr B was too much of a gentleman to offend my delicate sensibilities... if only he had known!!

The house has some history or local lore, of ‘looking after’ people and of being a shelter in times of need. There is no doubt that old houses ‘wrap their arms around you’ and this one has the most peaceful atmosphere. We are very lucky to live here.


  1. too''delicate'' for a woman? ah, there will always be an england. the fires in austrailia are horrendous. say your prayers.......your house sounds facinating, i can see why you want to know more. i just had my breakfast, a muffin and coffee at the local shop. not quite as civilized but tasty all the same. take good care, jc

  2. Most interesting information about the house in which you live! The dining room is lovely (I suppose a man should say "nice" or "stately"!) and I can imagine pulling a chair! A most beautiful room and well set table.

    I really enjoyed reading about the history of your house. As far as the elderly man, perhaps you know a man who could approach this person and ask about the house's history. The older man who does not wish to offend you might share his knowledge with another man. OR you might just tell the man you are not so easily offended and he may tell you something if you ask again.

    I do hope you get a chance to learn what this man apparently knows!

    Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post and have duly delivered one special pat to Mr. Bailey on your behalf!!

    Take care (and the heat wave in Australia sounds most inviting as we sit here in Iowa looking at snow - though to be fair it is rather nice again today).

  3. Hi Jack, Yes, rather charming isn't it!! And your breakfast sounds good to me - glad you enjoyed it. Warm wishes to you, V xx

    Hi Russell, goodness, I promise you that our dining room is far from stately - but it is comfortable and cosy. Sadly, Mr B (who was the butcher in the next village along) died without revealing any secrets or interesting times spent here. Warm wishes to you, V xx

  4. Hi...! Russell told me about the gorgeous photo of your dining room, and I agree, it is wonderful! It sounds as if the house has had a very interesting history. I have always wanted to live in a house like that. Do you have more pictures of the interior you can share with us? Have you done restoration on it? I love the windows!


  5. Hi, Veronica! Thank you for visiting this past very nice to meet you and find your delightful blog! Your ancient pear trees are a wonder! Your dining room is looks something from a magazine. You are in Suffolk. My husband and I love the UK. We've not been much to your area though...hopefully one day! What's happening in Australia is so heartbreaking...each news report more terrible than the last. I worry about many blog friend down under just now...prayers their way. Happy Day to you V! ((HUGS))

  6. Hi Veronica! I live in an "old" house too-200 years old, but it pales in comparison to yours! It just looks beautiful. I agree with Russell that perhaps a man could get the story of your home's history for you from the proper little gent! Hahaha - hard to believe he wouldn't tell you but I'd consider it a a sign of his polite upbringing. :)

  7. Hi Deedee, thanks for visiting my blog - I bet your house is just as beautiful - I love the images I've seen of old style American homes.

    Dear old Mr B was a charming gentleman who certainly was brought up as 'old school' - sadly he has died now so has taken all his stories with him. It is a lesson for us all - pass the information on. Warm wishes to you, V xx

  8. Hi Jo, Thank you for visiting my blog, and for your kind comments about my house too. We have not had to do too much restoration work to the house, most of it was carried out in the early 1970's. Lots of freshening up and redecorating though, and maintenance is pretty onerous on a house this age. If you think that the house is nearly 500 years old, then the timbers (some of which are huge) that went into the creation of the home are probably somewhere between 700 and 1,000 years old.... I love the windows too - but obviously they are Georgian in style, and although we still have the remains of the old window boxes, we now only have 2 remaining mullioned windows remaining from the original period of build. I will try to get some images posted in due course... warm wishes to you xx