Last weekend there was a lady stopped on the street, car running, staring at our house tears running down her cheeks. I asked her what was wrong and if she needed help. She said that she had wonderful memories of visiting her aunt as a child - her aunt used to live in our house many decades ago. I invited her in but she smiled and said perhaps another time...I think she was a bit embarrassed that I'd noticed her but I'd have loved to have heard her stories and have her share some memories of our little cottage...
Although Maple Cottage needs a fair bit of restoration work, a new roof, foundations to be fixed as she is sloping now, asbestos concrete removed etc she really is a grand lady, I imagine her cosily sharing in our conversations, watching over us kindly, giving friendly advice about child rearing...I imagine her as a quirky, cool funky and well read grandma with a lovely blue rinse in her hair, sparkle in her eyes and great shoes. Always surrounded by friends and family.
When we first moved in we had a family of tawny frogmouths in our front garden living in the paper bark - can you spot both mum and baby in the second photo below?
...and a nest in the backyard where a mummy bird would come, rest then head off to grab a drink for 5 seconds before returning to settle on her nest.
Maple Cottage is nearly 100 years old. She is an old double brick californian bungalow. We are her fourth owner, everyone who has lived here has stayed at least 30 years before retiring to the sea or to the country.
About a month after we moved in (after pulling up carpet, sanding floors, painting everything white, scrubbed out the fireplaces, etc - see pics on this old blog long forgotten ready to resurrect once we embark on our grand renovation plans whenever that may be) we received a lovely letter in the post. It was from a complete stranger who used to live here when the house was built, she found the old house plans in her aunt's estate when her aunt passed away and sent the plans to us thinking that 'whoever now lives here will find them interesting'.
Her letter spoke of an unmade street where rainboots were left at street corners for stepping into on the way home and a little mini river crossing the street. That creek has since gone and is now parkland.
I often wonder about the people who have lived here, how much they have loved this home and I can feel the lovely house around me smiling each time I give her a bit of loving care and fix this or fix that.