21. Oct, 2014

I am only resting!

 I often wonder why some old houses came to be abandoned. On The Gower Peninsular in South Wales, there are many such places and each of them has its own story to tell.

     As a child, I travelled to school on a double decker bus, via many miles of country lanes. During the entire journey, which lasted an hour, I hardly spoke a word as I stared out of the window at the wonder of it all.

     Sometimes, weather depending, the rickety old bus would take us over the old red sandstone ridge, or better known as the backbone of Gower, manoeuvring its way around the wild ponies, sheep and cattle. A spectacular sight was King Arthur’s Stone, standing defiantly on top of the Bryn.  Many years ago, during the Bronze Age, this ancient land was used for ceremonies and rituals. I often wished for the bus to break down (which it often did) so I could run free through the bracken and search for the hidden wildlife.

      And from the hilly downs to the flat marshlands where cockle pickers were already hard at work, the bus would pass by my favourite place. It was just a lane, nothing particularly special but it was where the ancient cottage stood, alone and abandoned! Its old stone walls arched inwards, clinging to the tile less roof. I would stare at the rooks and envy their position in the hollow of the ivy clad chimney. 'I will own you one day,' I used to say,  but as time went on I imagined the house to be resting not abandoned and I hoped it would stay that way.   

       Five times a week for almost five years I made that journey and each time I saw something different as well as the cottage. It's what kept me alive, I often thought rather dramatically. It made going to school so much easier. And I came to see that the cottage was far from lonely, in fact I was probably lonelier! With each passing season, came birds, animals and plants to keep it company and warm. I kept a diary so I would never forget. You see, even in those ‘olden’ days, my head was full to overflowing with ideas and curiosity. And that old house still stands today and is a home for the many waifs and strays that take shelter in its crumbling walls. 'Do not look at me sadly,' it cries, 'I am only resting!'

 

       Ironically, all these years later, my kind and unassuming husband and I live within walking distance of that ‘resting house’ and I sigh each time I see it. No, not because it makes me sad but because its presence comforts me.