Places in the Heart

100_0223The printed word has a lot to answer for and has changed the course of many lives.

On this occasion when it changed mine, I was cursorily scanning the personal columns of the Daily Telegraph looking for somewhere to live. My husband was away with his regiment on manoeuvres or practise camp, and I was filling in the trying gap between the baby’s ten o’clock and two o’clock feed.

We had to find somewhere to live for a year, and this night I found a few lines offering a country house in the right area for nearly the right price – for a year. The next day I rang. The owner was delighted – he was off to Greenwich Naval College and wanted someone to keep his house warm. “Chudor, ya’ know,” he told me, listing the bedrooms… We arranged a time that weekend to inspect the place, and when my husband returned the next day he went off on what he called a recce. He came back looking rather panic-stricken. “It’s bigger than Hampton Court,” he said, “and looks like it too, all red brick.”  Undaunted, I persevered, rather fancying the idea of a stately home. We’d never be able to heat it, he argued, and then I saw the light – with an eighteen month old and a four month old, that mattered.

So I returned to the personal columns, and struck gold a week later. “This one sounds OK”, I said,” right area, right rent, and only five bedrooms” (my ideas had expanded considerably since my brush with Layer Marney Towers the previous week). I rang the owner – same story – wanted someone to live in it for a year, this time while he wound up his boat building business in East Anglia. “You’ll love it,” he said, “there’s the garden bedroom, the oak bedroom, the red bedroom, the four poster bedroom, and the end bedroom…” My husband panicked again.

But a few days later we set off on a light June evening driving through quiet Essex lanes, with honeysuckle and dog roses winding in among the high hazel, hawthorn and elderberry hedges. We found Newney Hall dreaming between fields and hedgerows, a small lake – which in the twilight was almost black, and edged with a tangle of lilacs and shrubs – lying between it and the road. The house, Tudor red brick, and Essex pantiles on the upper floor with casement windows, stretched beyond the lake, reaching into a circular lawn with a cedar in the middle. Beyond that, a walled orchard.

As we walked down the gravel drive I could hear the sounds of music coming from the house. A knock on the door revealed a rather vague looking woman with a viola tucked under one arm, and the bow held in her other, as though she could hardly bear to stop between bars to open the door. “George!” she called imperiously, and the seigneur hurried to welcome us. Within minutes the deal was done, and we moved in a week or so later.

The house had been built in the time of Edward the Sixth, Henry the Eighth’s son, and all the land around had been gifted to Wadham College, Oxford in the same reign, so nothing in the landscape had changed for over four hundred years. The fields and trees, lanes and barns were untouched by time, and since there was no sound of traffic, no jet planes practising, and only occasionally the sound of a distant tractor, the whole place lay wrapped in an almost primeval peace. There was no other house in sight.

Wood pigeons cooed incessantly somewhere in the trees, cocooning us in their summer sounds, the donkey in the next field brayed occasionally, the cows mooed as they shambled past to the milking shed at the farm beyond the house. The old red-tiled barns, grain sheds on staddle stones, and stables were laid out around a square, where the cows sheltered in winter. I walked across to the cow- shed every day with a baby on my hip, my eighteen month old trotting beside me, and carrying a big cream- ware jug to collect my fresh milk. We also went there to pick up new-laid eggs from the farmer.

The house was built from huge beams, and filled in between them with a mixture of mud and straw. They were plastered over, and the walls were about three feet thick, with deep window ledges where I put books and vases of flowers. Two old aunts had been living in the house before expiring and gifting it to George. In the mid-sixties they were over ninety, and the house was unchanged since the days when they had been born back in the 1870’s. So was the dust. When I moved an antique chest of drawers to dust behind it, a thrush disintegrated into fine powder.

I spring cleaned from top to bottom, washed curtains, scrubbed floors, polished Sheraton  tables and dusted Chippendale chairs. It was like living in a time warp. No heating, a gas stove so old I’d never seen one like it, and neither had the serviceman when he came. If it’s working, best leave it, he said, shaking his head. I had a big kitchen with a big square scrubbed table in the middle, red and white checked tile floor which needed scrubbing every week, and a real larder with marble slab. My only gadgets a pop-up toaster and a wooden spoon!

At weekends a stream of friends came through, a childhood friend getting used to having MS, school friends with their babies and husbands, army friends with theirs, a friend of my husband, shell- shocked after being court- martialled – a Polish/ French student who had nowhere to go, a girl who was pregnant and needed somewhere to stay – she moved on, didn’t like my food, I think – cousins, godparents, in-laws, family… and then back to primeval peace during the week.

Once I dumped his steak and kidney pudding and vegetables on my husband’s head. Mistake. Apart from reprisals, lots of cleaning up to do. And later, I lay in the long sweet smelling grass in the orchard, where I’d seen the red fox glide through, and cried my eyes out under the late evening summer sky. At twenty six I thought no-one would ever love me again.

Not long after, we left that beautiful house to go to Hongkong, where the hectic life and chaos of those times obliterated the memories of that year in the country. But for years I have dreamt of it. In my dreams it’s bigger, and there are many more rooms. The furniture is more elegant and the rooms more beautiful. There is one room which is filled with such treasures that I only go into it sometimes… it feels sacred. I have no idea why I dream so often of this house I lived in for a short year so long ago. I don’t know what it symbolizes. I’ve lived in other houses and places just as magical…  no doubt a psychologist would mine some profound Jungian theory from these dreams, delving into the unconscious and maybe coming up with an archetype!

Daphne du Maurier was obsessed with Menabilly the house she immortalised as Manderley in ‘Rebecca’,  and wrote about her dreams of it, while another writer, Elizabeth Bowen, clung to the memories of her ancestral home in Ireland, Bowen House. Evelyn Waugh immortalised Lygon Hall in his book ‘Brideshead Revisited’.  Like du Maurier writing about Manderley, Waugh’s writing about Brideshead breathes love, nostalgia and an ache, a longing to return.

It isn’t just writers who long for these enchanted places from the past. It’s as though the romance of their lost beauty, surrounded by dreaming country-side, grows tendrils into the heart which can never be untangled. …  and this is not just the experience of a few. For some, it’s the house by the sea, for others, the log – hut in the wood… a longing perhaps for memories of happiness and holidays past, innocent times of laughter and love, for the sweet days of years gone by. It rarely seems to be a house in town that arouses these emotions … mostly these lost demesnes are part of an idyllic landscape. As the years go by, these landscapes become almost mythical places of perfection…

And once we’ve left, we can only return in our dreams. Though we have left something of ourselves behind in these special places, it is a different self, a younger self seeing the world as it was then. To return in the physical is to invite dis-illusion or disappointment. Things change, new owners improve on the simplicity that we treasured, the light is harsher, the house smaller, the garden neglected or smartened, trees and shrubs overgrown or cut down, the lake stagnant, and nothing is the same. So memories and dreams are the best we can have. And they are precious, and time cannot warp them or fade them. These are our private, personal paradises – our places in the heart.

 

Food for Threadbare Gourmets

Friend popped in for a girl’s drink. I still had some delectable rose from lunch together a couple of days before, so she came to help me finish it. Too late to get to the shops, I found I had nothing to nibble… no thin brown bread for smoked salmon and lemon juice, so blinis  were fished out of the deep freeze, but then I had no cream cheese.

So I improvised by hard boiling a couple of eggs, slicing them thinly, and placing a slice on each buttered blini. Next layer was mayonnaise on the eggs, and lastly the salmon with a sprinkling of parsley. I cut the salmon in two pieces for each blini, so it was easy to bite them without wrecking the whole edifice!  They went down a treat, and we had a happy hour laughing at ourselves and the world, before returning to the inescapable task of feeding our always hungry husbands.

 

Food for Thought

“’One pure act of acceptance is worth more than a hundred thousand exercises of one’s will,’ since it is a state of interior silence and quietude from which at the right time, the right action emerges without any volition.”

From ‘Taoism – The Way of the Mystic’  by Jean C Cooper 1905 – 1999  Born in China to missionaries, she grew up learning about Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism from her amahs. After studying philosophy at St Andrews, Edinbrugh, and lecturing in comparative religions, she lived with her husband in a remote Cumberland home (the lake district) where she had to generate her own electricity from a stream.

 

 

 

 

 

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70 Comments

Filed under birds, cookery/recipes, family, great days, happiness, life/style, love, spiritual, The Sound of Water, Thoughts on writing and life, Uncategorized, village life

70 responses to “Places in the Heart

  1. What a fascinating place this was, this magical time warp of yours: in part a transitional home, in part a timeless home.

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  2. For some reason I am touched to tears. I suppose it was that you mentioned some places are best to go back to in our hearts and dreams as the changes will likely ruin the dream. Again I was carried into your world where a 26 year old finds herself unloved for such a silly reason (now). Charmed.

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  3. Thank you Lesley for such a lovely response… yes it was a time of joy in the babies and the beauty around me….

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  4. Ahhhhh…your story reminded me of a beach home I had for about 4 years many years ago. Really it was a lot of work to clean up but in the end it was very enjoyable. I often wish I still had it. There is such a peace to living near water but I guess you already know that.

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  5. I often dream of a house. it has huge rooms, wide wooden floors and no furniture. The balconies look out to sea.. What a wonderful memory you had of living in your big house, I lived in a few when i was being a Nanny in the UK. Not quite as much fun but we did have staff! c

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    • Hello Celi, I can’;t believe you have time to read blogs while you’re there in the bosom of your family, and fending off bears and mountain lions !!! I’m still concentrating on getting my blood pressure down after all the anguish over you getting there!
      Wouldn’t you love to know what these dreams mean?
      Staff – I could have done with them…I just seemed to wait on everyone hand and foot – come to think of it, I still do !!!!

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  6. I would love to live in an old home. I mean really old, like the one you described. The history lives on, and the aura …. I simply love old buildings, old architecture, and to live in such a place would be, indeed, magical.

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  7. Hello Kathie… yes, there’s something very romantic and very fulfilling about living in a place where you can feel other lives and so many layers of llfe gone by, isn’t there.?
    Architecture is the really big thing I miss in this new country….

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  8. Valerie,
    Whereas my childhood home was wrought with dysfunction and held more trauma than any child deserves to experience, I was able to recall quiet moments when I found refuge on a hot day on the back patio with the hose trickling like a magic stream, and the sweet free nourishment from the plum and kiwi trees when there was nothing else to eat. Sometimes it’s easy to find a bit of good in just about any situation. Thank you for sharing your eloquent memories.
    Sincerely, Carole

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    • Hello Carole, so good to hear from you, hope all is well with you..
      so glad you enjoyed my little trip down memory lane… your sweet moments sound so nourishing… thank heavens we have them !!!

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  9. I feel as though I’ve visited Newney Hall from your vivid description, and it was beautiful. I drove by my very first childhood home, many years after we moved away. Although tempted to knock at the door and introduce myself, I panicked and left before doing so, worried I might be disappointed. I’ve used the picture I took that day to show my family and revisit the past without the intrusion of the present. You are very wise, Valerie! Your recipe sounds delish, but you’ll have to let me know what blinis are someday!

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    • How interesting about your return trip to your old home…no, it rarely works going back !
      Blinis… if you go back in the archives to 29 July – Real Olympics, the blog was called – I put the recipe for blinis in on that day. So easy, and delicious little morsels to have with a glass of wine or champagne…

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  10. I loved your description of the house in Essex. I was born in Brentwood and grew up in Loughton, but never saw much of the county as we only had bikes in those days (I emigrated in 1966). I have returned and discovered the county more over the years and it is dear to my heart. I rarely revisit other countries we have been to as it invariably spoils the original memories. Things change and become modern and I am an old fashioned girl. Joy

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    • Hello Joy, lovely to hear from you – Essex is a surprisingly beautiful and under=rated county isn’t it.
      Change is rarely for the better when we have our own memories, I agree !

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  11. Oh Valerie, I savored each word of this post. Thank you for bringing us back in time — when you were 26 with an 18 month old and a 4 month old, and the beautiful places, the lovely memories.

    Oh my, these words really took me there… ” driving through quiet Essex lanes, with honeysuckle and dog roses winding in among the high hazel, hawthorn and elderberry hedges. We found Newney Hall dreaming between fields and hedgerows, a small lake – which in the twilight was almost black, and edged with a tangle of lilacs and shrubs – lying between it and the road. ” Your command of the language is impressive — its brushstrokes, colors, and perspective. Wonderful! Dee

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  12. “It isn’t just writers who long for these enchanted places from the past. It’s as though the romance of their lost beauty, surrounded by dreaming country-side…I love, this…”
    For me has always been Simplicity and care, giving a sense of security and timelessness…And that’s the aroma of spices and herbs and garden flowers, that my Grandma’s home always exudes…It’s sunny side always made me feel safe, and protected as a child…Even that winter when Santa came through the window next room, and left before the branches had time to still their waving…I knew I was safe!

    George.

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    • Oh what lovely memories, George, and beautiful;that you remember feeling safe… I sometimes think that’s the most important childhood memory of all. Thank you for your vivid comments, I could smell and see your grandmother’s sunny garden

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      • Thank you for inspiring me: Your story went straight to the memory vault: Top shelf, filed under 8 months-to 4 years 4 years of age, “grandma’s memories”.

        So yes it is me thanking you, Valerie.

        Have a inspiring afternoon,

        regards,

        George.

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  13. I am thinking “China Court: the Hours of a Country House’ by Rumer Godden. Haven’t read it for years but I now want to read it again. When I read it for the first time, I felt I had found someone who understood! Penelope Lively touches on this connection we have to a house in some of her books. My house which I return to again and again is my grandmother’s. The house no longer exists except in my dreams. Sometimes the connection, the longing, the wandering through the rooms (often larger and bigger and stranger than they ever were in reality) is unbearably poignant and that is in my dreams! I used to think it was a longing for belonging, because of my rootless life, but I don’t know. I just know it is so and I am so glad to learn that you know it is so, too.

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    • Thank you for your lovely comments Gallivanta…I must try and find that book by Rumer Godden, who is a lovely writer…I recognise your description of wandering through the house, and the poignancy… I’d love to know what the symbolism is…

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  14. So beautiful. This made me long to visit some of these houses. I miss these older structures living in a place as I do now with shiny glass skyscrapers and cookie-cutter suburban houses.

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    • Thank you so much…glad you enjoyed it… don’t you live in New York… I thought it looked rather romantic in the film ‘Performance’, or was this just an illusion???. But I do know what you mean about skyscrapers and suburban boxes… soul-destroying…

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  15. Eha

    ‘You can’t go back, it isn’t there’ is very true in the physical sense: I have made the error of expecting my memories and recollections to mirror the ‘now’ times more times than once. But isn’t it lovely to remember . . . ? To go back to Manderley . . .[read du Maurier first in my romantic teens, and just recently managed to get an omnibus edition . . .on paper quite an enjoyable journey . . .]

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  16. Yes, memories rarely match the present… I’ve recently re-watched Rebecca on Youtube, the one with Olivier and Joan Fontaine…incredibly Hollywood, but fun all the same..

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  17. Valerie, this was so lovely for me as I have never stopped dreaming about the house that I grew up in, which was also very old – Queen Elizabeth took shelter from the rain one wet afternoon! I also visited the are where Menabilly is last year and wrote about it – so I felt quite moved as you drew your conclusions about the people who have been mesmerised by the places they have lived. (I also loved that little cameo of the woman with her Viola!)

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    • Hello Gabriela, so you’re a dreamer too… interesting how many of us are… what a marvellous anecdote about Queen Elizabeth… yes, I’ve visited that area of Cornwall, Daphne du Maurier country, and stayed with friends at a country house just across the ferry from Daphne Du’s house… they gifted much of that area to the National Trust… and have a glorious ruined church in their garden… and there’s a monument to a chap who was shot by the Roundheads up on the cliff there. They’d sighted Charles 1 across the river, but just as they shot, he moved on and the other poor chap got it ! It’s stiff with history all round there, isn’t it… but I won’t bore you with any more !!!

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  18. Juliet

    What a fascinating post Valerie. You evoke the house, garden and lifestyle so beautifully, and you’ve set off memories of my own: houses of the heart that I have known. Thank you.

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  19. Valerie, I too have lived in many different places. Your write justly ‘Though we have left something of ourselves behind in these special places, it is a different self, a younger self seeing the world as it was then’.
    Do you think it is true for that we didn’t leave something behind only, we have also gained something of all places and have taken that with us? I have never felt European, till we lived in Asia. Upon returning to Europe, I felt more Asian than I thought I would feel.
    Home is where the heart is, indeed.

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    • Oh yes, you’re so right Paula… I think we take fragments of place with us wherever we go… part of the all layers of memory and feeling.. it’s really fascinating when you think about it, isn’t it…

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  20. so enjoy your posts–you tell wonderful stories and give us delicious slices of life

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  21. Anonymous

    Good one. I need to read again when I get home.
    Coffee shop computer here – expensive!

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  22. I knew this would be a post that speaks to me. So lovely. I have been running the Google on Newney Hall. I want to see photos! This is my Gearhart, where my soul resides.

    Derwood and I were talking about house dreams just the other night. I dream of houses all the time. I thought it meant I had a deep interest in real estate but a therapist told me that in dreams, houses are our lives. Different rooms are different parts of our lives. As expected, moving furniture around in a room means that you are working on that part of your life. Once I thought of it that way, those dreams made much more sense.

    Thanks again for a beautifully written blog.

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    • Oh Maggie, how fascinating… it seems obvious, now you tell me, that dreams of houses are about our lives. I had a good giggle that you thought you had a deep interest in real estate!!!
      So glad you enjoyed the blog…

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  23. Amy

    So true, once we’ve left, we can only return in our dreams. …These are our private, personal paradises – our places in the heart. — so beautifully said.
    Thank you for taking me back to my dreams, Valerie!

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  24. OH! I so could live there and would jump at a change. In my dreams I am in my childhood home…I wish I could relive those times…I would like to be a better human starting there would help.

    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com
    http://deltacountyhistoricalsociety.wordpress.com

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  25. Luanne

    Oh, Valerie. Another brilliant journey with you–in this case, through this marvelous and difficult house. I can see you’re in love with its memory, and you shown me why in vivid colors. Absolutely gorgeous. I’m putting your blog on my blogroll and don’t know why I didn’t think of it before.

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    • Hello Lianne, thank you for your lovely comment, so glad you understood the house..sharing is the joy of blogging isn’t it…
      What does it mean – blog-roll – I’m still so technologically dumb that I don’t even know what a referrer is when I see someone’s name there…

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      • Luanne

        I have a little “widget” on my home page which lists very special links. I only list my other two blogs (one about adoption and one my family genealogy), one other blog I really appreciate, and now yours. The idea is that someone will notice and follow the link to your blog.

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      • Thank you so much Luanne – both for the mention and for replying. I am very honoured.

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      • Luanne

        You certainly deserve it. Your blog is so special.

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  26. What a lovely post…it brought back childhood memories of a house we lived in when I was 4 yrs old. It was not much and I don’t remember a lot from the house – we lived on an Army post but for some reason that house holds a few special memories of a 4 yr old. My mom was always amazed at the things I remembered.

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    • Hello Patti, so good to hear from you, I think of you and hope your life is coming together… you are amazing…
      Glad you enjoyed my little story… how lovely that you have such good memories of being four….go well…Valerie

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  27. Oh how I envy you having had those opportunities to sample the Stately H of E. Mind you, I would have jumped in and condemned the infants to a frozen state, overcome by the romance of the edifice! The Hall does sound lovely, though, and it seems you stole a slice of the Dornford Yates ideal for a while.

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  28. So glad you enjoyed the post… I know what you mean, and have ever since plumped for romance rather than practical…some people think we’re mad!
    Dornford Yates – haven’t read him since my early twenties… you’ve made me curious to sample him again…

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  29. Dear Valerie,

    Like an artist with a large palette and a skillful hand you render and paint pictures that I can see with clarity. I find myself looking forward to your posts to see where you’ll take me next.
    It’s easy for me to romanticize but I’m sure that having an infant on your hip and an 18 month old beside you wasn’t always easy. I raised three sons and my husband was in the military and often away for extended periods. Challenging times to say the least.

    Thank you and shalom,

    Rochelle

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    • Dear Rochelle,
      You are such a generous appreciative reader…
      and how interesting that you read between the lines… It was a hard tine actually, my husband was sent to a Cyprus emergency when I was in the middle of labour with our first baby, and by the time he returned months later already had his first affair notched up…It was the beauty of that place that got me through that year.
      How interesting that we have military marriages in common – they are different aren’t they ! Did you manage to write then?

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      • Dear Valerie,

        It sounds like we have “war scars” in common. My husband was overseas in the Persian Gulf for the better (or worse) part of two years from 1990-1992. My three sons, ages 7-16 and were quite a handful. I had to make some torturous decisions in my husband’s absence, ones that he applauds me for now but was hostile about then.
        As for writing, yes, I wrote pages and pages of poetry. Some of it is still painful to read and I’m not really sure if it’s even good. It was my form of journaling.

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  30. What a treasure to read. I almost wished I lived in one of those rooms with you; it was so real. After burying my mother-in-law this past week and returning to the home she loved and the home we built close by, I know the real meaning of holding on to the places in the heart. Even though we prepared ourselves for the inevitable changes to both homes, the disappointment was impossible to erase quickly.

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  31. Lynne, thank you so much for your comment, and for taking the time to read when you are in the middle of family upheavals.
    It must have been a very sore experience to go back in those circumstances… I hope you find some comfort in your happy memories, warm wishes, Valerie

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  32. “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”
    ― Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca

    Rebecca was a favourite of mine from the very beginning. First of all, for the name, and then for the memories of time and place. We all want to go home, and yet our spirits strive to explore. I have a recurring dream that I have moved to a new home – each home is different, quite unique – but always I turn away and remember that I am already home.

    I do enjoy your posts and the dialogue that follows. I find that as we age, we have more memories to draw upon. They give comfort, especially when our loved ones move on their journey. Just today, my husband and I walked by a water fountain and I remarked, how pleasant it was to hear water. My husband replied – “it is because we are made mostly of water and come from the earth. These sounds speak to our souls.” We are home.

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    • I loved your comment, Rebecca, So true what you say about memories. Your husband’s comment was absolutely beautiful – you must have a true meeting of minds.. Maggie who commented, told me that her therapist told her that dreaming of houses is about our lives… which I thought was interesting… dreams are so intriguing aren’t they…. That first line from Rebecca is so haunting isn’t it…

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  33. Oh, so beautiful… Complete with the dinner on the head! I love how you dream of that place, and I wonder if it is something that happens … Not only when the imagination was captured, but when the time in a place wasn’t ready to end? Symbolic of…I don’t know, something left in suspension there? At any rate, I can see why it would capture the heart 🙂

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    • Oh Alarna, thank you – I love to know that you’ve enjoyed it!
      Yes.. I was never ready to leave that place, and the first moments when we landed in crude noisy brutal dirty Hongkong were so shattering after the peace of that place, that I sometimes think I’ve never got over it !!

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  34. I always try to define and describe why Texas is my heart home, why I always return here no matter where else I have been, no matter what beauty I have seen. It is because only here, only in Texas do I have places of my heart, roots I have sunk deep and tendrils that have grown into my soul, capturing me and holding me tightly.

    No home. No house. No single place, but different places all tied here. Hearts home.

    This was beautifully done, food on the head and all. How perfectly you exposed both the joy and the feeling of loneliness and fears of a young woman. Thank you.

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    • Hello Val, what a lovely comment…I loved reading how Texas holds your heart ( I love that song The Yellow Rose of Texas – is it a Confederate song?)I think I feel the same way about England… you just can’t tear that deep attachment out of your heart, can you…
      Thank you for your lovely comments, I really value that you saw what you did in what I wrote.. you are so perceptive.

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  35. Dear Valerie,

    As your writing transports me I am reminded of the last lines of Norman McClean’s first novel,
    ‘Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.’
    In my life I have accumulated a store of treasured memories of times and places that filled me with peace. They rise above the mists of other less vibrant memories and I return to them often as I scan the night sky, trying to see them again as I experienced them so long ago. Still, I wish that I had paid more attention to detail. I didn’t know then what I do now, that time is fleeting and moments that are magic will cast their spell forever. A mantra I recite on the long now I traverse is to see all that I can in the moment.
    I see the beautiful old house spinning slowly in an eddy of time. I you crying in the orchard. I see you walking to the barn, baby on your hip, for milk and eggs. I see the fine dust of the thrush and, through the beauty and timelessness of your writing, I hear its song.

    Thank you for writing.

    Kia ora and Aloha,

    Doug

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  36. Dear Doug,
    What an exquisite message… lovely lines about the river and the rocks.
    What you say about memories is so moving… and I can imagine you watching those spacious and bright night skies in a place where there’s no pollution… it must take you to treasured places in the past and in present.
    What you wrote about Newney Hall was a poem in itself, your words are so beautiful, and they add another layer of beauty to the memories I already had. Your vision of the ‘ beautiful old house spinning in an eddy of time’ was magical, and gives me another dimension of loveliness for that place of my dreams.
    Your thoughtful comments give me such joy, Valerie

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  37. Oh Valerie, what a truly wonderful piece. from the descriptions of the house, the humour, the fun, and your dreams and memories. We place a lot of importance on homes don’t we, maybe your dreams are connected in some way. whatever the reason, it still stands as a marvellous piece of writing – thank you

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    • Claire, thank you so much for your lovely comments. It’s such a treat to know that others enjoy the fun I have in writing this stuff…so yes, thank you again for your generous comments
      yes, it really is home sweet home for most of us, isn’t it….

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  38. Just a lovely piece of writing – I’m fascinated by this whole area of ‘revisiting’ houses, the Menabilly connection and so on, so was just swimming in the atmosphere!

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