Tuesday, 5 May 2015

May 5th 1992

23 years ago today we became the owners of a dilapidated run down 5 acre smallholding previously owned by a potty woman and an alcoholic Scottish bloke. She had to get him drunk to sign the Sale papers and he spent hours the first night we were here sitting in his van in the driveway!

The grass was knee high all round the house, the house had had almost nothing done to it since 1955 when it was built.It was very scruffy and needed everything that you could think of doing to it. There were 3 big buildings, all looking very rough. 3 old caravans were standing around falling apart  as well as several bits of farm machinery. A local farmer refused to cut the hay field because he didn't know what rubbish was hidden amongst the long grass. The only way to get from the garden to the field was to climb over a stile.There were no fences or gates that opened. Everything was held together or tangled up in old baler twine.There were bits of broken glass all around the garden.The "garden shed" stood on a base of broken rubble.The "fitted" kitchen was an old sink unit and an even older gas cooker and some shelves on the wall.

All the pictures below are photos of photos so not as sharp as they should be, but you get the general idea of what things were like in the summer of  '92

 This is how our son learned to drive aged 10!

I towed over a trailer full of stuff and Col towed the caravan, we arrived early as they were supposed to be moved out the day before.She was still here and the sheds were still full of rubbish.

We lived in a caravan and awning on the back "lawn" for the first two weeks but we had to buy a mower to cut the grass before we could get the caravan in.
The house had to be completely rewired before the Building Society would complete the mortgage so we had a bridging loan for a month to see us through.

There were apple trees, plum trees, cherry trees, gooseberry bushes, blackcurrant and red currant bushes, raspberry canes, loads of rhubarb and a huge walnut tree.

The electric company were still good old Eastern Electricity and they arrived on time and got the house rewired in two weeks.

The vegetable beds were there ( just buried amongst the grass)

The cattle shed hadn't been cleared out for years so there was a ton of well rotted compost for the garden

There were almost no neighbours, everywhere was quiet. The local schools were smaller.

It was the only thing of this acreage in Suffolk that we could afford, so we made the best of it.

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We worked almost non-stop for the first 5 years tidying up and sorting out and it's only in the last 4 years that everything has been done and we can see it as a finished tidy smallholding.

And now we are thinking about moving!

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