One of the first things Steve and I did when I signed the paperwork in April 2010 was to break in to our house. More importantly, we broke in the day before. And we only broke in because we thought there was nobody here. And we didn’t really break in, we just climbed over the wall. Luckily, we stuck to the garden and the cabin, because had we come into the house, we might just have given the old lady who lived here a heart attack.
Some half-hour after we’d wandered around, we realised a car was out front and we giggled as we escaped back over the hedge, thinking we’d not been seen. We had, of course, and luckily, it was a scene of amusement rather than one ending up in shotguns. The cabin was the subject of our attention.
Just at that place where most people think the garden has run out, where they say ‘And that’s yours as well?!’, there is a rusty old gate. It is held in place by a rusty old pole which is then held in place by a few metres of chicken wire and a good few overgrown shrubs. Behind the rusty old gate and the chicken wire, there is another garden. In it, there’s the poly-tunnel, six vegetable plots, forty vines, eight plum trees, three peach trees, a yew tree and a cabin.
The cabin is the place that time forgot. I imagine the family before me built it as soon as they moved in, for their just married daughter who had moved to the coast with her Spanish husband. And they hadn’t done anything to it since. Thus, it was filled with amazing finds like this:
And this: It was truly like the late 60s and early 70s had been preserved in a very well-kept time capsule. From the outside, the cabin is very dilapidated. When we came back in May 2010, it looked like this: As we didn’t really know what to do with it – the prospect of decorating it still frightens me – it became Jake’s cabin. A place in which he could do as he liked. Truth be told, he didn’t do very much in it. It has electricity. I think. At least, a 50 metre extension cable runs down to it. I seem to recall some lights being on at some point or other. I can’t remember if Steve dismantled the rather suspect 50 metre cable across from the chickens to it. I believe it also has gas, as there is a little gas-run fridge. There’s a little stove, too. There’s no toilet to speak of, and I can’t exactly tell you if the water runs there or not. There’s two bedrooms, a little sitting-room-cum-dining-room, a little kitchen and a washroom. I could live in it if I didn’t mind going back to the house for the toilet.
Anyway, the cabin has now passed hands and ownership to a little nine year-old girl: Maddie. Maddie calls it her cabinet. I’m not sure if it’s some casual French, since doctors and dentists, lawyers and judges have cabinets - business offices, surgeries or practices. Still, she pronounces it the English way, ‘ET’ included at the end, and I feel a little enthused to do it up as a nice little guest house. I am in love with little caravans from the 50s and 60s anyway, and could find at least twenty ways to decorate it.
So you can see the cute little thing I have in mind. And yes, even this: Of course, this is a far-away dream of a far-away thing, since today the cabin looked like this: I bet you don’t envy my task much?! I spent three hours today cutting back all the over-grown shrubs. I was going for brutal pruning. Really, my chainsaw would have been more appropriate. I’m going to sand off all the loose paint and re-paint it. That’s first. Once I’ve sorted out the exterior, it will be on to the interior. A bigger job still.
Still, can you imagine it with white paint and red shutters, with a beautiful gloss trim, complete with a little shady chair outside?
I must have the best imagination ever!
But as I cut back and pruned many, many overgrown years of brambles and ivy and bushes, I thought it would be a lovely spot for my shady plants. I don’t have much shade here, and between the huge yew and the huge pine trees around it, it’s just perfect for hostas and aquilegia and dicentra, as well as a little bench or swing from which to appreciate it all. A girl can dream.
And as for what Maddie will do with her cabinet? I wonder if she plans on opening a psychiatric surgery, like Lucy from Peanuts. Either that, or she can take up crochet with me, and we’ll make granny squares to our hearts’ content.