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Well fancy that !

Having finally had the call from the garage, it suddenly dawned on me that I was now free to leave the house. One of the things I wanted to do while in Norfolk was to visit Hethersett, the village I grew up in, and look at the houses where I lived. It's only three miles away so I pottered down in the car.
  I visited St David's Road first: I was born at No7 and lived at No12 through high school and sixth form. I couldn't see much of 7, and we oved out of there when I was two, so don't remember it anyway. 12, of course, I remember clearly. It had the same stone cladding on the front but I was surprised to see a small, sort of one and a half storey extension squeezed on the side. I sneaked a couple of photos from across the road and made off before anyone thought I was a stalker.

After a quick look at the memorial recreation ground (can't for the life of me recall what it memorializes), I went round to see High Shutters. This was a big house that my parents had built at the very end of the 60's. It's the first house I remember living in. Other than a few months in Lancashire in the mid-70s, we lived there from around 1970 to 1978. I loved that house and garden, and have many happy memories of it. From the outside, it still looks much the same. One of the features on the long porch is an outline of a rearing horse, in wrought iron. I really wanted a closer look at the house, so I decided to ask permission to take a photo of the horse. It's outside, so I hoped it wouldn't seem too obtrusive.

Well, I rang the bell, and explained to the lady who answered that I used to live in the house, and that I wanted to take this photo. She thought for a moment, then asked "Is your name Gillian ?". I told her it was and she said she had something for me and invited me in. When her husband had been digging in the back garden the week before, he'd unearthed a tiny, delicate silver bracelet with my name and a 1967 date engraved on the inside. It was actually a gift for my Christening. It's over 30 years since we left the house, and the current owners have been there 20 years, but the bracelet only showed up in the last few days, just about the time I decided to come and visit.
   The couple who live there now were delighted to return it to me and more than happy to talk about the house. It's much as it was inside, with the same lovely open wooden staircase and the original internal doors. They clearly love the house as much as I did and have taken care of it. I only saw the downstairs, and was pleased to find that I'd remembered correctly about the room off the scullery that went into the back of the (huge) garage. They were welcoming and chatty and I would like to have stayed longer, but didn't want to impose, and had been out longer than intended already.
  We have some photos of the house when it was new, and I've promised to email them copies. Must have a look for them.

So that was definitely a highlight of the week. What a lovely treat, to see the house again and know it's so cared for.

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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
miss_next
24th Aug, 2010 22:25 (UTC)
How lovely! :-)
vilakins
24th Aug, 2010 23:28 (UTC)
Did they have the horse made at your request?

What an amazing coincidence that they should find the bracelet just before you turned up.
san_valentine
25th Aug, 2010 11:13 (UTC)
The horse was one of the original features of the house. I was two at the time we moved there, so I have no idea if it was requested by my parents, or part of the overall house design, that they approved.
There was also a large, flat wrought iron sculpture of a vine-like plant rising from a pot, that went on the end porch wall, facing the front door. Unfortuately that was removed two or three years ago, as it had got very rusty.
little_frank
24th Aug, 2010 23:44 (UTC)
That's wonderful :-)
musichalldiva
25th Aug, 2010 08:20 (UTC)
Some things are ordered in life! :-)
nextian_cutie
27th Aug, 2010 05:44 (UTC)
What a serendipitous find! And how lovely that the current owners were so inviting. Heartwarming, indeed :)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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