Restoration work to No.3 started in the Spring of 2004. What was to follow can only be described as an ‘experience’. We were completely green and naïve, neither of us having ever attempted such a venture before…. We made mistakes and plenty of them…. Some are still waiting to be put right today.
Would I do it all again? Probably not….but I’m glad to have had the experience. I feel I know this old cottage more than intimately…. Having been stripped, virtually back to its bare ‘bones’ – it has revealed its soul to us….
When you start a large scale project, it’s a little like embarking on a long journey – or in this particular case – a never ending one! Very often, it’s only when you pause and look back, that you can appreciate just how far you have come….
Obviously, I have been reflecting a lot recently, on the time we spent renovating No.3 and it has all come flooding back (especially after digging out the photos) just how big a task we undertook….
There were times of frustration and despair. On many an occasion I asked myself the question “why the hell are we doing this?” If I’m honest, in the very beginning, I was not sold on the idea of restoring such an old property…. Although I like to think of myself as a creative person, I had trouble visualising the end result. John and I had made several visits to the Weald and Downlands Open Air Museum. He was totally fascinated in the way these old places were lived in all those centuries ago (I always knew he had been born in the wrong era) – I was terrified he was expecting us to live in a similar manner! Of course, I should have had more faith….
There were many setbacks and hurdles along the way but somehow we overcame them. To be truthful, although there was a rough plan in place, we pretty much made it up as we went along. That was something we learnt right at the onset – plans have to adaptable!
Possibly, you are considering or are actually undertaking a similar venture. Hopefully, you are managing to take it all in your stride – but if, like I did, you sometimes find it all a bit daunting and ‘too much’, then I hope this will give you heart…. It’s always good to know that there are others who know what you are up against. If it’s a word of encouragement you need – then you’ve come to the right place. Trust me, it might seem like an awfully long road but it’s definitely worth it in the end!
Maybe you are just curious to know what it is like to live in a place like this…. I will endeavour to give you a flavour of that….
Or perhaps you are more interested in our swan family. I promise they will feature frequently….
So, whatever your reasons, thank you – it’s nice to have you along…. I’ll quit waffling now and get on with the story….
2 thoughts on “So, the journey begins….”
Absolutely wonderful hazel. I have loved reading this . Such a heart warming story of No 3. I am really looking forward the the next update. You have loved cherished and brought back to life the little ( not so little , I know ) cottage. We need people like to you to caretake our heritage for future generations. All the nooks ,crannies and cracks in the walls must hold some stories. … Beautifully written with love and fondness . Thank you for sharing this hazel. Xxx
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Thank you, Lisa – I was hoping we would find more in the nooks & crannies… you hear stories of Mediaeval offerings – unfortunately all we found were a few very large acorns (I mean huge… maybe they were offerings..!!)…. & some old fashioned Kirby grips under a window sill…. Oh – and a heap of bones under the stairs… that’s for a later story…. x