Thursday, 15 March 2012

A Modest House in the Country.

In the book "A breath of Fresh Air" F.C.Ball recalls memories of a country childhood before the First World War. The father of the family takes his brood to live in the countryside in a free cottage.

“The new house was in a country lane, ten feet wide. It was made up of four rooms; all on one floor, with iron bars at the windows, which father said were there to keep them from ever getting out again. There was a little porch at the front door, with a set on each side, and father had to fight back the rambler roses to get the key in the lock. The front door had been made for a family of very small people about 1860.

The ceilings were just above father's head, the windows were three feet square, and mother said how thankful she was that they didn't possess much furniture.

The back yard had a water-closet in one corner, discreetly overhung by a bush of convolvulus or 'piddlepot', a rain water tank in another for flushing the W.C. and a six foot fence all round to keep the family from staring at the ladies in the garden where father was to work.

Across the lane was a dark wood of pines whose branches were swishing over the roof and dripping rain on it.

The lane continued to a place which the children heard mother say must be 'Godknowswhere' and there was another house about half a mile away.

"I'm afraid you can't have a cup of tea," said father, "the drinking water is up at the house. We ought to have brought some with us to-night." Mother said it was all right, she was ready to go to jail, once an or all, because there they had to feed you, and you would be missed if you got lost, but not out here, she said.

In the morning, when Mother happened to glance out of the bedroom window, she saw several cows gazing at her from about three feet away, and she dropped the pot she was carrying. It was a welcome to the country and apparently a genuine one.”
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