I’m sue it must happen to other writers, but every so often you visit a house and it makes such an impression on you that you know it’s going to feature – almost as a character, in one of your stories or books. Today we went to a house on the opposite side of Weston, on the northern hillside in an area known as the Shrubbery. No doubt I’ll write about the history of this small area at some point, but now I’m thinking of the house we visited.
Originally (so it seems) a single detached two storey building, on a steep slope the house – probably about a hundred and fifty years old, is now divided into two flats, one above the other.. We visited the top flat with a ground level entrance, because it’s built into the hill! The path to the front door was barely accessible, through a bee-laden fuchsia bush – someone had cut back brambles because they were strewn on the path – without that surgery we wouldn’t have gained entrance. Even without the pruning, the path was very narrow leading to several steps down to an area the size of a doormat in front of the blue window-paned door. We noticed another window above the entrance, which would throw a lot of light inside.
The door opened into a tiny hall with a door on the right; this led into a good sized wooden panelled cupboard/room – ideal for coats, shoes, umbrellas. other storage. Up a few steps and into a curious shaped but large hall – dredging my memory for school geometry lessons I think it’s a rhombus. It was described as a dining hall… and yes, I guess you could have a dining table there, but it would seem a bit odd to my mind; maybe a folding table which could be stowed away? There was no smell of damp, or mould or mustiness… just that dull un-lived in sort of a smell. The floorboards were old, seasoned wood, and I only detected one squeak throughout the whole flat! There were two bedrooms both a good size, the smaller able to accommodate a double bed and with a door opening into a cupboard, The other generous and lovely with a wonderful views across the town from the two windows.
The kitchen was virtually square,, and a very good size – room for a small table even when it was fitted out, and a pantry! I would love a house with a pantry! There were two windows looking up the hillside to the attractive old houses above. The bathroom was small but with what looked like original bath, basin and lavatory (with wooden seat and a cistern and chain!) There was a small cupboard but with plenty of space for towels etc. Then the sitting room… There was a bay window and another window looking across Weston Bay to Uphill where we live, and with a beautiful period fireplace.
The ceilings of the flat were high, it needed complete rewiring and of course redecorating. Outside was an overgrown garden but with a wooden bench and a stone seat hidden in the undergrowth which would be ideal for relaxing on in the sunshine looking out at the wonderful view. Not a huge space, but enough and manageable! The whole property just seemed so welcoming and open and spacious – so generous… it had a lovely feel and i could imagine a single person, or a couple, or a small family would be very, very happy here… I wonder who I’ll write about who would live in a place like this?!
Many thanks to Geof Sheppard for the photo of the Shrubbery Bridge