Remember I said we had disused parts of our house and that’s where I found a pile of framed photos? I thought I would show you one part of it that has become our very own ruin. This is the old farmhouse kitchen, or what’s left of it. The dark hole to the left of the fallen beam in the foreground is an inglenook fireplace, complete with cast-iron fire and surround. Of course, it’s totally unapproachable now – what Health and Safety would call ‘structurally unsound’. Somewhere behind the elder trees that have taken over is a bread oven and behind that a door that leads to even more ruined building. Under the undergrowth is a flagstone floor. This section would have been four rooms downstairs and four bedrooms upstairs, with connecting hallways to the main part of the house, now bricked over.
When we moved here ten and a half years ago, this section of the house was well on the way to falling down due mostly to the want of roof repair. Once the rain got in, the ceilings, floors and their respective supporting beams began to crumble away. Before we had our own indoor jungle, Daniel and I attempted to clear it one day and carried out the main oak beams, cracked in two and so rotten you could push your arm through the centre (should you want to, which we didn’t). We built a bonfire in the garden and put the beams across it. It burned for a very long time.
The moral of the story? Fix your roof when the tiles come off in the wind!