Saturday, 21 February 2015

Talk to the Wall

I've been talking to the wall.
Early this morning I had a word with one or two folks at the market stalls, later I phoned a woman and listened for fifteen minutes, and after making the stew I spoke to the wall.
It struck me this wall had something to say about the life that had passed by since 1812 when it was erected, possibly as cottages for workers at the 'Big Hoose' behind us.
The 'Big Hoose' has long since gone and been replaced with the Police station, hence the regular sirens you hear while reading this.  Whether the owner of the 'Big Hoose' remains there is unknown.
So I asked the wall about previous residents, mostly in recent years short term tenants of a few months to a couple of years, except me obviously.  
The landlord took over the place from the doctor.  He moved in during the thirties and used the house as it then was as his surgery.  Scratching around it appears to me his dad lived round the corner in one of the expensive houses there, dying in 1944, and the doctor happily practiced for many years until selling out to my landlord.  Why I ask did he have to practice?  Did he not study enough?  Anyway I have the feeling he served in the Notts & Derby regiment during the Great War, being 'gazetted' in 1918.  This a regiment that was billeted on this town during that war but would they be billeted on such a house as this was then?  My neighbour heard tow women mention this as 'that used to be the doctors house' as they passed.  Doctors appear to be something women do not forget. This however makes me wonder how the house was set up then. Certainly it was changed when the landlord converted it into flats and rebuilt the back end with little major change since.  Did he live upstairs and operate, if you see what I mean downstairs?  Not much room and lots of nosey people looking in as they pass too.
Before this  a couple married in 1930 moved in.  No idea what he did but to buy or rent this place at that time he must have been well paid.  Too little time at the moment to investigate and relying on details I discovered a long time back. Certainly he moved out when the doctor needle arrived and lived until 1981 somewhere cheaper in the town.
Before him, at least during 1926, a woman describing herself as a 'corsetiere' worked from here. She knew how to get around women!  I suppose that explains the whale bones that turn up every now and again.  
The wall saw them all.
It saw some strange things when the doctor was here, his examinations, his explanations and the often tearful response of his patients.  The couple with a possible family may have been more fun of course while the wonders of corsets and the sight of those requiring them may have made the wall look away!
During that time the town was lit by gas, the street lighting until 1956 indeed. The houses may have had electric light but did they have bathrooms by the first world war?  The wall saw, or heard, bombs fall during two wars but remained unmoved, horses clip-clopped past while folks ran out to help their roses grow. Gas lamps and more often oil lamps, candles and roaring coal fires lit the house during the hours of darkness.  No radios until the thirties, no TV, no noise for most of its life bar human voice and movement.  A occasional phone when the doctor was here perhaps.  
The original dwellers may have had a family of up to a dozen children running around.  Possibly a senior employee of the big house moved in, maybe a manager on a farm, there were lots around.
Just how many folks have lived here intrigues.  Their ups and downs would make a better TV show than that shown today.  The wall however will not reveal if any buried treasure in the garden, it claims he could not see from here!  Bah!



Jenny Woolf said...

Great post! What an interesting idea. Sometimes when I listen to the characteristic sounds of our house (the front door noise when it slams etc) I wonder how many other people heard it and felt "oh, yeah, I'm home".

Lee said...

Many times it has been said..."If only the walls could talk"...and after reading of the conversation you had with your walls, I can understand why.

My walls are far more uninteresting than yours. Thank for for an intriguing, fun and very good post. :)

Adullamite said...

Jenny, Glad you liked it. There again I often talk to walls!
I have had trouble with Fly's posts also. She sends them as normal but they do not appear. I find them in 'Awaiting Moderation' on the comments section of Blogger. All the others come through. I use Googlemail and maybe that is a problem.

Lee, Indeed walls have seen many things.

the fly in the web said...

What a super post....I don't think that this house has seen much apart from machetes at dawn, but the one in San Jose is a lot older and must have seen the refugees from the Cartago earthquake setting up their shanty town around it over a hundred years ago.

I wonder how you can make that wall spill the beans on the buried treasure...threaten to wall it up?

Adullamite said...

Fly, I have threatened to knock it down but it says nothing yet.

Lady Di Tn said...

My oh my this was a fantastic post. I love to look at old building and let my mind wonder about all that has happen. I need lessons on wall talking. As for the walls of this house, it was built in 1965 and my MIL is. One of the original owners,thus all these walls would tell family secrets.Peace