A couple of days ago we had an electrician out to work on the continuing problems with our heating system. He was a mere 76 years old and the first thing he said was, 'When did you add the porch?'
We were rather flabbergasted that this little old man, that was there to fit a safety valve, was questioning us on our choice of porch. For the record, it isn't our taste, it came with the house and will one day go the way of the dodo for a better, bigger porch-come-log-store (for the heating system that doesn't quite work yet but more on that later this week). We asked this little old man called Norman why our porch so offended him and his reply was that he'd lived in our house from 1936-1943. From the day he was born to the age of seven he had lived at Pig Row, even knew that this was the nickname for the row of houses and the area. He took us on a guided tour, coffee cup in hand, of his childhood home. He was glad that the old stone sink was still there and that the three rooms we had inherited that make the kitchen had been returned to the one room he'd known. Then we came to were the water tank lives under the stairs and it was his turn to be flabbergasted. 'Were are the cellar steps?' he asked. We didn't know, it wasn't as if we'd personally stolen them. It appears that we have a cellar under the kitchen. Norman told us that his Dad worked down there on a lathe and when the bombs fell and the sirens sounded they would use it as an air raid shelter. He was surprised it was gone but not as surprised as we were to find it. Under our new kitchen floor, lovingly laid by Andrew, is a cellar. Norman couldn't remember whether it was vaulted but we have always wondered where a certain draft comes from in the lounge and this may be the cellar entrance. We will have to go investigating further. Norman took us upstairs and shook his head at the box room at the top of the stairs, again he told us that this was never there, that is was open and more a communal space than a pokey bedroom. He was glad that we plan to reopen this space and go into the loft at a later date to get another room. He was slightly amazed that we were so interested in his stories about the house and I think in the end we scared him away with our incessant questions. Anyway, now we have to see if there is anyway into the cellar or whether it is now history, filled in sometime after Norman left.