Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What's my house like? 

It's a modest 2 storey, stone and rubble construction cottage built in about 1895 - 1900. It has local Welsh slates on the roof, and a lot of slate mantelpieces and fireplace surrounds, plus the red and black quarry tiles on some of the floors. The windows are single glazed ones that look like sash windows, although they are top opening casement since the old sashes were replaced twenty or so years ago. It sits in its own plot of land and has a great view westwards to Anglesey and the sunsets over the Irish Sea (on a very clear day you can see the Wicklow Mountains, about 90 miles away, although that's quite rare). It's about 800 feet up, and  more  or less west / east oriented, which means it gets sunshine for a good part of the day. Assuming it's sunny! The weather up here, with prevailing south-westerly winds and lots of rain coming across from Ireland, is 'interesting' to say the least! High winds for much of the time, not much frost or snow, occasional thick hill fog or sea mist creeping up the hill, fairly high rainfall, and the occasional still, sunny, warm day when it is a tranquil paradise.

It's been in my family since 1951, although I've only been living here for three or four years. As it was used as a holiday home in the 1960s and 1970s, it escaped the wave of modernisation that swept over most of the neighbouring houses of a similar age : rooms knocked through, fireplaces taken out, original floors ripped up and all the rest of it. A mixed blessing! It means that the original slate surrounds and mantelpieces are still in place, the rooms have not been touched, there are still built in cupboards with what may be Victorian wood and glass in the parlour; there is a (non-working)  range built into a recess in the kitchen that may be from the 1930s or even older. (I'll photograph all the nice features in the near  future.) But of course no central heating, only an old immersion heater for hot water, and the house loses heat through the stone walls (which are cold to the touch on the inside) as well as through gaps in the doors and the single glazing. It's the sort of house that has 'character', as people say, meaning it's interesting but not  the easiest place to live in...

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