We’re in a rental car driving the winding English roads. We’ve just left the Cotswolds and are heading up to the Lake District. It’s a scene out of my dreams of pastoral England. It’s early June, after all, and the countryside is lush and blooming. As we near our destination, the scene to our left is a landscape painting of Northern England’s sheep farming country. The land rolls up and down as far as the distant rugged hills. Fields are delineated in an irregular scrawl by ancient low stone fences and are dotted with sheep and cows grazing on the lush green grass. To our right is a hillside painted with a lavish display of floral abundance only an English garden can create. And winding up the hill to a structure barely visible through the trees and flowers is the drive to our home for our sojourn here. Moving through the floral paradise, we arrive in the clearing to see a sprawling single-story Victorian house.
Our hostess, the tall, perfectly weathered keeper of the floral paradise, greets us and shows us through the house with obvious pride in this lovingly created step back into the Victorian past. The walls are bedecked with flocked wallpaper and hung with portraits and landscapes in gilt frames. Flower bouquets are everywhere. The furniture would be recognized and loved by your mother’s grandmother. And our room is spacious and sunny and an old-fashioned haven for travelers who prefer to imagine rural England as it was a hundred years ago.
Over breakfasts in the next couple of days, we learn more about the home from the loquacious host, a former taxi-driver and present day tour guide for the area. It seems that many years ago, when their now grown children were young, our host drove a taxi while his wife raised the children and ran a small hotel in the nearby village. In his comings and goings he had driven past this property many times. It was deserted and overgrown for many years, and he was intrigued. Then one day, he saw a for sale sign in front of it. He went home to his wife and insisted that she come with him to see the property. “Are you crazy?” she replied, “I’m way too busy taking care of the children and running this hotel to come with you to look at some abandoned overgrown property!” He persisted for many days, and eventually, probably to shut him up, she agreed to take a look. They had to fight their way through overgrown weeds and underbrush to get up the hill to the house. She walked in, wandered through the deserted, abandoned, and somewhat decrepit house and said, “This is my home.” They bought the property and moved in with their four small children. At first the water and lights were not working and she would take the children across the road to bathe in a stream on the hillside. Gradually, they lovingly turned it into the home and bed and breakfast it now is.
Note: This posting is in response to the Day Two assignment of Writing 101:
A Room with a View – If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?