Friday, July 11, 2014

The cottage

Today I have been through my photos, looking strangely enough for the coins stuck (by who knows whom) in a stone, part of a 'megalithic mess' of a supposed stone circle called High Bridestones up on the moors just outside Grosmont.
Well if you scour old folders of photos, memories come up.  So instead of writing about old stones I shall write about the cottage, as most of the photos brought back memories of happy times with my rather large family squashed up in the small sitting room chattering away.  Well of course they moved over to the other side of Yorkshire a few months back and my son-in-law Darron is busy renovating their Victorian terrace house there, something he enjoys but leaving our cottage in Whitby rather stripped of a useful role in our lives.
The looking for a cottage for me must have started five years ago, and as Darron and I trogged round a  meagre selection, the one we chose for its feeling of warmth and cosiness (though it was icy cold in winter when we saw it) was tucked away in a small Whitby yard.  It was not in a bad state, just stuck in a 1970s time warp and really needing some tender loving care. 
The survey report revealed dampness and a leaking chimney, but otherwise it passed the test.  New bathroom suite for a start, and a terrible plastic window needed to be demolished here, water tanks from the top bedroom removed, and gas central heating put in.  Electricity plugs also, the chimney problem was solved many months later, we waited ages for the scaffolding to go up.  The cottage had acquired two TV aerials perched perilously at the front, these were removed, after negotiations with the neighbours, and a decent one installed at the back, which served the other two cottages, I still live in dread that Mary next door will complain that her television is not working properly!
Builders, plumbers, electrician and Darron all working away, Mary did not get up before 10 am in the morning, so there were little complaint notes popped under the door about the NOISE, serious discussions every time we went up there.  Mary is sweet but she more or less 'owned' the yard and we were newcomers.  Unfortunately she  become very ill over this period, age had crept up quickly, so we listened and gave in, though you will see the cottage door is a beautiful turquoise and not the horrible brown we inherited even though she said it was not 'historically' correct and wanted it changed back to brown.

This is what we saw when first bought.
I still remember that tartan carpet

Bedroom panelling, we found six different paints under this

Stairs and large cupboard, in which practically everything is fitted in.

The panelling underneath looks quite good, but was very thin, and Darron insisted on painting over it, it took him ages to scrape the original paint off though

So how does it look now? it is clean, white and magnolia paint though boring freshens it up. New furniture and carpets with pretty curtains from Laura Ashley (no expense spared) and it still feels friendly and warm.  In fact when we go in we always look round for the long dead captain of a Whitby ship who once owned the place wandering around admiring the change.  It is paying its way this year through holiday lets and yet weighs heavily on my soul.  Should it be sold, I have more or less hinted to the family that next year possibly it could go on the market.  


  1. What a shame to put it on the market if you love it. I have to say it looks absolutely full of character, and Whitby is such a lovely place.

  2. The problem is of course Pat, is that problems do arise, and we are not there to sort them. Of course the letting agent is very helpful. What stops me is the effort and work that went into this small place to bring it up to date, it feels like a betrayal ;)

  3. That tartan carpet was amazing. You could probably have sold it on eBay for a fortune.

  4. It was a shock ;) Darron probably covered it in paint, think they were Scottish the previous owners!

  5. I do like to read tales of house renovations--such a horrific and heroic effort [sigh!]

  6. Hi, I hope everything goes well with your move.. there is an end result sometime in the future and then you will be able to relax with patchwork and cats....