3 years ago moved into our little cottage. A new family with a new baby and a lot of work ahead of us. It had taken a few months to make the place even liveable.
A lot has changed since then, a wedding, another baby and an awful lot of hours spent fixing, painting, sanding and generally finagling a previously neglected old house.
We’ve had so much help from family, friends and neighbours that it almost seems like a betrayal of their efforts to be moving on. But moving we are, to another part of the same village. One thing we have learnt is that Stewkley, Bucks feels very much like home.
The house is over 100 years old, a simple working cottage that has been battered, fixed up and repaired throughout it’s life (with varying amounts of competence and success). And now it’s our turn, taking back the layers of one of the rooms to the horse hair plaster. A week in a room. Sanding, filling, fixing and painting. Hands cracked and sore with paint under my nails. It’s not finished. It never is, but it’s more finished than it was before. Incremental changes.
An increasingly digital world means that change is often accelerated and effort is mental, an ever more complex brain teaser of optimisation and Moore’s Law style improvements. The physical efforts and calluses from my week of ‘home work’ are difficult in a different way. The rewards slower.
We started peeling back the history of our house before we were able to move in; revealing fireplaces, layers of paint and failing plaster. These pictures were taken about 90 years apart but on the outside little has changed. The people in the picture have long gone, but finding the picture creates a connection with the previous occupants of our little terrace that was only previously glimpsed in their choice of paint colours hidden underneath layers of woodchip and artex.