The old house

Life has been a whirligig these last two months – packing for a house move, moving, unpacking. Not me, you understand, my Dad. He is finally selling the family mansion (3-bed semi-detached) and moving to something more manageable. The house was once my grandparents’. I lived there for the first four years of my life and the last four years as a teenager; granddad and grandma had lived there since the early 1930s; my father had lived there since he was four years old. The house has seen a lot of history, family comings and goings; tons of vegetables and fruit were grown in the long back garden; thousands of bottles of preserved produce had been stored in the cupboard under the stairs.

Nan and Grandad with Socca the golden retriever sometime in the late 1940s

Now, someone new will live in it, probably knock down some walls, add an extension, dig up the garden. I wonder if they will find the remains of the old Anderson shelter my granddad dug at the beginning of WW2? It was buried deep, it seemed to me as a child – lots of worn steps down to a dark cavern. There were the remains of the wire bed springs – two bunk beds on either side of the cave, and a small entranceway where, I believe, the portable commode had been placed. I don’t know how often they actually used the shelter, although some bombs fell in the vicinity I am told, so perhaps there were a few long cold nights sheltering underground. Granddad used it, after the war, as an onion store as the wire bed springs were perfect for drying out onions. When my parents refashioned the garden in the late sixties, they dumped lots of rubbish down the steps, removed the door and covered it in earth. Now it has a fish pond over it, a rockery and some small shrubs.

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