Renovations - the Early Years

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Re: Renovations - the Early Years

Post by Wendyf » 17 Sep 2016, 10:34

Yes Kev, it was a Traveller and the colour was "Rose Taupe".

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Re: Renovations - the Early Years

Post by Stanley » 18 Sep 2016, 03:39

What strikes me is that Wendy was taller than her Mum......
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Re: Renovations - the Early Years

Post by Wendyf » 18 Sep 2016, 05:56

Mum was tiny, 4ft 10ins at her tallest.

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Re: Renovations - the Early Years

Post by Stanley » 18 Sep 2016, 07:09

But perfect I'll bet. We had a saying, "The best goods come in small parcels".
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Re: Renovations - the Early Years

Post by Wendyf » 18 Sep 2016, 08:33

She was a demanding Little Madam!! But I miss her a lot now. :smile:

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Re: Renovations - the Early Years

Post by Stanley » 19 Sep 2016, 04:35

She sounds like my Janet, the runt of the litter but a fireball! I always said that if you were choosing a pup from a litter, always go for the smallest bitch! It never fails..... They have to fight for anything they want, watch how the strongest go for the back teats which generally have the most milk.
[Isn't it wonderful the gems of knowledge that crop up on the site....]
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Re: Renovations - the Early Years

Post by Wendyf » 19 Sep 2016, 09:03

She wasn't the runt, all her family were small! :smile: She was born with dislocated hips and spent a lot of time in hospital which made her a bit special. My dad treated her like a princess and everyone else had to do the same! She had both hips replaced in one operation in 1973 and never looked back....Dad's boss paid for the operation to be done at Wrightington hospital by John Charnley, the surgeon who pioneered hip replacement.
Before we leave Mum and get on with the renovations here is a link to the story of her Wartime Walk.

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Re: Renovations - the Early Years

Post by Wendyf » 19 Sep 2016, 13:03

We started getting Scottish newspapers and Col applied for a job as a test engineer with Ferranti based in Edinburgh. He was offered the job with the house removal costs thrown in.
My in-laws were unhappy with the house they had moved to a couple of years before and were keen to buy our cottage. They were downsizing as Col's dad had been made redundant from his job running the boiler at Bowater's paper mill in Ellesmere Port. He had previously spent many years in the haulage business and intended to go "on the tramp" as Stanley puts it, so the space for parking up a small truck at the cottage appealed to him.

We set off for Edinburgh one weekend armed with a tight budget, our backpacking tent, the Scotsman newspaper and the Morris Traveller....which turned out to be more important than we thought.

We were looking for a place in the countryside, with a decent garden for about £10,000 max, and we saw some very depressing places. West Lothian was the cheapest area, with sad little cottages in Tarbrax and Fauldhouse (both ex shale mining villages) coming in over our budget, but then we struck lucky and found the most wonderful little place that we fell in love with straight away! A tiny wooden house right beside a burn called Rosevale....

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Re: Renovations - the Early Years

Post by Stanley » 20 Sep 2016, 04:52

Hee hee! You can't escape me by going to Scotland Wendy. I delivered cattle all round there! I like the fact your dad was on the Tramp, bad for him, a hard life but that and fire-beating.... We would have had a lot to talk about.
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Re: Renovations - the Early Years

Post by Wendyf » 20 Sep 2016, 06:10

Stanley wrote:Hee hee! You can't escape me by going to Scotland Wendy. I delivered cattle all round there! I like the fact your dad was on the Tramp, bad for him, a hard life but that and fire-beating.... We would have had a lot to talk about.
I know that Stanley, all the local farmers used Lanark market. Your cattle truck was remembered by some of them I spoke to recently. It was Colin's dad not mine. He ended up doing furniture deliveries for catalogue companies, heavy work when he was in his sixties. He didn't pay enough attention to his diabetes and died in his early seventies from kidney failure having lost both legs to the disease.

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Re: Renovations - the Early Years

Post by Stanley » 20 Sep 2016, 06:38

That's nice..... I was well known all over Scotland because of the cattle. A haulage contractor once told me that his drivers were getting more directions to obscure farms from me than from him. The local drivers often came to me and I used to pull their legs unmercifully! I mat some wonderful men and have never forgotten them.... I think the story is in Volume 2 of me memoirs. (Still available on LULU! Search for either Stanley Graham or 'Stanley's Story'. Sorry about the advert.....)
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Re: Renovations - the Early Years

Post by Wendyf » 23 Sep 2016, 07:42

Rosevale was basically a 30ft by 20ft wooden shed, built about 1912 in a wooded half acre corner of ground belonging to an old estate sawmill. It sat on a pile of bricks at each corner, had no insulation whatsoever, and an asbestos tiled roof. We put in an offer at the guide price of £10,000 which was accepted. We didn't put in the highest offer, but the elderly lady who was selling liked us because we had the Morris Traveller!
When we bought it we had no plans for it's future...it was just a lovely place to call home. No mortgage available, so Dad to the rescue again for part of the cost. We moved up there in August 1979 and spent the first freezing winter shivering and drawing up plans. The sensible thing would have been to demolish and start again, but we didn't have enough money for that. I remember drooling over pictures of Scandinavian kit houses, but they were way over our budget.
The house had a rickety porch and an extension tacked on the back, both of which were in poor condition but the main part of the house was in remarkably good shape. Colin decided that we could use it as a timber frame and build around it, underpinning with foundations. A new flat roofed extension on the back would give us some extra space.
Remember that Colin was a draughtsman when we first met? This is where I discovered that not only could he do electrics, plumbing & joinery, he could also draw architectural plans....useful!

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Re: Renovations - the Early Years

Post by Stanley » 24 Sep 2016, 03:13

You found a treasure when you tripped over him in the long grass....
I know exactly the sort of building you describe. I always called them high class hen huts but having seen what can be done with them I look forward to the next instalment.
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Re: Renovations - the Early Years

Post by PanBiker » 24 Sep 2016, 14:33

1912 Wendy, you are basically describing Clarion House and grounds. Same year and construction. Looking forward to the next episode.
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Re: Renovations - the Early Years

Post by Wendyf » 24 Sep 2016, 16:17

Even the windows are similar to those in Clarion House Ian. There was a metal name plate, from a company in Glasgow who must have provided the kit, on one of the gable ends. I posted this picture before but never mind.

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Re: Renovations - the Early Years

Post by Stanley » 25 Sep 2016, 03:22

Reminds me of the States. Many large mail order companies sold kit houses.

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Martha's house in Northfield was the oldest in the town, around 1860, and is a kit house with subsequent extensions.
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Re: Renovations - the Early Years

Post by Wendyf » 25 Sep 2016, 08:49

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There was a row of sheds in various stages of dilapidation down the side of the garden with their back ends dangling worryingly over a steep ten foot drop to the burn. Each one was packed with stuff when we moved in. The garage had shelves full of tobacco tins containing .....well anything small enough to go in!

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Inside there was a good sized living room and 2 bedrooms. A long narrow bathroom fitted with a bright blue plastic bathroom suite had been squeezed in next to the living room. Looking at these pictures reminds me that we were quite happy to live with hand me down and home made furniture. It was years before we bought anything new. The little painting above the fireplace had been a gift from my godmother, it shows a stone longhouse very similar to ours now, with a hill in the background that looks like Pendle. I always loved that picture...

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The kitchen was tacked on the back...there is that blue plastic again! Lovely to see our milk jug...again in blue plastic...the local farm dairy supplied untreated milk in square plastic pouches which had to be used with the special jug. Nice sized pantry though, even room for the twin tub!

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It was cold that first winter!

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The house was really sited the wrong way, the large windows to the living room & main bedroom at the front were facing a high hedge and the north, while only the tiny kitchen window looked at the lovely rear garden and the sunshine. We needed to turn things around.

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Re: Renovations - the Early Years

Post by Wendyf » 25 Sep 2016, 09:05

Was our move down here on the cards years before we decided to come?

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Re: Renovations - the Early Years

Post by Stanley » 26 Sep 2016, 04:25

What year are we at Wendy....? I was struck by "we were quite happy to live with hand me down and home made furniture", that was how it was in those days. Mind you, I'm impressed by the twin tub. I'll bet the house took some heating that first winter, what heating did you have?
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Re: Renovations - the Early Years

Post by Wendyf » 26 Sep 2016, 06:00

1979 Stanley. There was just the open fire in the living room. I remember setting the chimney on fire trying to get a good fire going, our neighbours phoned to tell us that there were flames coming out of the chimney....scary in a wooden house

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Re: Renovations - the Early Years

Post by Wendyf » 26 Sep 2016, 08:54

I have just realized that I haven't said exactly where Rosevale was. It was in a scattered community called Harburn, about 16 miles south west of Edinburgh and roughly mid way between the A71 and the A70 (the Lang Whang). You turned south off the A71 in West Calder and it was 2 miles to Rosevale. Harburn had once had a station (on the main Edinburgh-Carlisle line), a school, a police station and a gunpowder mill, all gone by the time we arrived. There was a golf club and a wooden WW1 hut which served the community as "The Hall". It was basically a farming community, with a scattering of big country houses and workers cottages, Rosevale was initially a temporary structure built for a chap who ran the sawmill, there were 2 other houses clad with corrugated iron...one which went live during a thunderstorm once!
So, we are down the Sawmill Brae, beside Bog Burn and next to Annetscross Bridge.

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Re: Renovations - the Early Years

Post by Stanley » 27 Sep 2016, 03:56

I missed you.... It was seven years before that when I came off the cattle wagon.
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Re: Renovations - the Early Years

Post by Wendyf » 27 Sep 2016, 08:34

By summer 1980 we had building warrants and planning permission for the changes, subject to a couple of conditions which I think covered the colour of the roof tiles and the finished walls. There was no one style of house in Harburn, some of the older cottages were stone with red pantiles, but our immediate neighbour had white painted render with a grey roof so we went the same way.

I've mentioned before on the site that Colin has no interest in gardening and would prefer to fill a space with rusting vehicles than plants. As the renovation project took off the lovely gardens at Rosevale started to disappear under piles of building materials and waste....ah well.
Colin was always at work when deliveries arrived, I always had to deal with lorries backing in and blocking the narrow lane!
That's my little moans out of the way....here is the first pile arriving.

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Our first job was to underpin the house with foundations big enough to take an outer block wall. We took it in turns to dig while the other barrowed away the soil.

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The house was propped up a corner at a time.

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It must have been autumn when we had the south west corner exposed because I remember a tremendous gale when Col & I sat up most of the night in a state of terror drinking too much whisky!

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Re: Renovations - the Early Years

Post by Tizer » 27 Sep 2016, 10:04

That pile of bricks reminds me of one of my work colleagues in the 1980s who wanted to build himself a small garden wall. He was known for being tight with his money and he ordered a lorry load of bricks `because they were cheaper in bulk'. He used about 5% of them and spent the next 10 years selling bricks to anyone he could find who needed them!

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Re: Renovations - the Early Years

Post by Stanley » 28 Sep 2016, 04:15

Lovely post and what a good job someone did the pics!! Wendy, any quantity of whisky consumed is 'an elegant sufficiency'.
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