News from Norfolk

Remembering Ralph Lowde

Between the years 1621 and 1639  the rector of Blakeney, a village on the north Norfolk coast, was a youngish yet very learned man named Ralph Lowde. As someone who now lives in the house once occupied by Ralph Lowde, I naturally wished to see what, if anything, four centuries on, I could discover about my predecessor. 

The most informative source for the early life of Ralph Lowde is the register of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge. According to the register, Ralph was the son of Edmund Lowde, husbandman, of Aighton; he studied at Whalley School under Mr Browne; he matriculated at Emmanuel College in 1606 under Mr Walbanks, but migrated to Caius in October 1608 with William Branthwaite, Master. He took his BA in 1609/10, his MA in 1613, and the prestigious degree of BD in 1622. Finally, he served as a fellow of Caius from 1615 to 1622. 

What are we to make of this terse recitation of facts? 

Aighton is a hamlet in the parish of Mitton, five miles southwest of Clitheroe in the Ribble Valley. After the mid eighteenth century the area was to become notable as the location of the Jesuit foundation Stonyhurst College, but in the late sixteenth century it cannot have been more than a handful of modest buildings skirting the banks of a fast-flowing river.

To have started at Caius in 1608 at the age of 18, Ralph (sometimes Raphe or Radulphus) Lowde (sometimes Loud, Loude or Lowd) must have been born in about 1590. His father, Edmund, seems to have been a rather ordinary, middling sort of landowner. Dugdale’s Visitation of Lancashire (1664-5) would later record the family as being from Ridding, then Kirkham, and armigerous — the arms were argent, three bugle horns, sable, stringed, or — all of this presumably a play on the word ‘Loud’. But it was only during Ralph’s lifetime that the family entered the ranks of the gentry. 

Ralph spent four years studying at nearby Whalley Grammar School, a two-hour walk from his home. Before the reformation, the Cistercians at Whalley Abbey had offered educational opportunities for local boys. Afterwards, as early as the reign of Edward VI, a grammar school was founded — apparently in the upper room of a gatehouse formerly belonging to the abbey — to fill the gap. So when Ralph studied there, the school would have been at once rather old, yet also very obviously much changed over the previous generation or two. I have yet to find anything about ‘Mr Browne’, Loude’s schoolmaster. And if the school fit into the Whalley Abbey’s old gatehouse, it is hard to see how it could have educated more than a dozen or so pupils at any given time. But somehow in 1606, at the age of 16, Ralph was sent south to take up a place at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. 

The choice of Emmanuel College, at least, probably tells us something about Ralph’s education.

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A note on Sir Christopher Heydon and the Great Conjunction

Not much is left of one of my very favourite no-longer-extant neighbours, Sir Christopher Heydon of Baconsthorpe and Saxlingham in the county of Norfolk, who was born in 1561 and died at the start of 1623.

Heydon was the son and grandson of Norfolk landowners — the culmination of intermarried lines of ambitious lawyers and local political figures, in that sense not unlike the Townshends of Raynham or the Cokes of Holkham, except that in Sir Christopher’s case, the upward trajectory was due to receive a correction in the very near future.

Heydon studied first at Gresham’s School in Holt, and then at Peterhouse, Cambridge. As someone who lives in the Old Rectory, Blakeney, it’s quite striking to me that while Heydon matriculated at Peterhouse at Easter 1576, both James Calthorpe — another north Norfolk landowner and patron of the living at Blakeney — and James Poynter, soon to serve as the controversial incumbent at Blakeney and Wiveton 1584-1621 — matriculated at Cambridge (Trinity Hall and Corpus Christi, respectively) the year before, in Easter 1575. Cambridge wasn’t a big place then, so it’s hard to imagine these young men with their north Norfolk connections wouldn’t have known each other.

Heydon’s university education was presumably intended to equip him further to advance his family’s status in local and national politics, but for some reason, after he took his degree in 1578/9 at the age of 18, it’s reported that he ‘travelled widely on the continent’. Once he returned, he attempted a parliamentary career. It was not an immediate success. In 1586, he stood for the Norfolk county seat against another local gentleman and lost. His father Sir William Heydon, who must have been pretty influential at this point, somehow convinced the privy council to call a fresh poll, in which Heydon was duly elected. Unfortunately the House of Commons then embarked on a dispute with the privy council about its right to overturn electoral results, quashing the second poll result. In 1588, when there was another election, Heydon managed to win properly on the first try — but made little impact on the national scene, remaining more interested in travelling across continental Europe, where restless Englishmen could play out the era’s great doctrinal tensions in actual battlefield engagements. This seems to have suited Heydon, whose zeal for reformed religion was consistent throughout his life.

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A Very Kind House

When he was six years old Frank was sent, along with his baby sister, to live with his aunt Leonora. Auntie Lili, as he was encouraged to call this formidable person, was not actually his aunt at all, but a sort of cousin so distant that even Mr Landsberg — tutor to Auntie Lili’s sons, and by far the most brilliant person Frank had ever met — had been unable to explain the exact connection. But his summary — ‘Lady Lili is a very kind woman’ — was surely correct.

Lady Lili and her husband the Colonel kept a flat in London, just off Sloane Street, but the house where Frank stayed, and where Auntie Lili lived most of the time too, was a place in Norfolk called Friary Farm. 

Friary Farm had, indeed, once been a farmhouse, but since Aunti Lili had got to work on it — helped by an urbane, harmlessly flirtatious London architect and an army of local craftsmen — the warren of heavily-timbered, low-slung rooms, punctuated by inconvenient beams and surprising doors, had somehow transformed itself into a handsome, well-appointed, intensely charming yet also comfortable minor country house. ‘Well, this is what a sense of style will do,’ observed Mr Landsberg. Then he added, ‘money helps too, of course’. 

Friary Farm was also extensively haunted. No one in Auntie Lili’s family or retinue was remotely troubled by this. Nor, it has to be said, once he’d got used to them, did Frank mind the ghosts either. Frank had known a great deal of change and upheaval in his short life, so much so that the admixture of a ghostly element into his daily routine hardly registered. Indeed, he soon learned from Auntie Lili’s sons to blame any missing sock or jersey on the phantom hound that roamed the long gallery at the top of the stairs, or to salute the old soldier who used to pace up and down in the old kitchen but at its former floor level, so that he seemed to walk knee-deep among the tiles, or to point out to Auntie Lili, who liked to be kept informed about them, the shadowy tonsured friars who could often be seen down at the end of the meadow near the big barn, going about their conventual duties in the indistinct, sweet-scented, late summer dusk.

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The Visitor

The visitor was neither tall nor short, old nor young, nor remarkable in any other way, except for the curious fact that he was wearing some sort of distinctive, possibly religious dress that the woman who had opened the door to him tried in vain to identify. And throughout, he was scrupulously polite.

‘But this isn’t the rectory any more,’ she protested. ‘You want the new rectory, I mean the one they use now, on the other side of the road. Look, come out, I’ll show you the right way.’

But the visitor was having none of it. ‘No, no, my dear, I know perfectly well where I am, thank you. This is the right house.’

‘Or maybe you want the Old Rectory?’ she persisted, a note of doubt entering her voice. ‘It’s the next turning on the left. Behind the trees.’ She could not remember what kind of trees they were.

The visitor laughed, not unpleasantly. ‘Oh, I know the trees! I know them well. And of course I know the Old Rectory too. I’m glad to see that that place, at least, hasn’t changed very much.’ And then he looked around the shiny, cold surfaces of the open-plan kitchen, at the glass and the laminate and the dead screen of some sort of electronic device — it had only gone dead the instant he arrived, for some reason she didn’t really understand — and shook his head. ‘I’m not sure, my dear, that I entirely approve of what you’ve done with this place, but we’ll speak more about that later.’ And then he raised the skirt of his cassock slightly, gave a courtly little bow and seated himself at the kitchen table.

The woman didn’t know what to do. A number of questions were racing her through her mind, which was in any event rarely particularly calm or tranquil. Most urgently: who was this man, and how could he be encouraged to leave her house? But also: her husband was due back soon, and he would take a dim view of a male stranger seated comfortably at the gleaming kitchen table right at the heart of their recently-finished new home. 

‘But I particularly want to see your husband, my dear’ said the stranger, very smoothly, even though the woman was certain that she’d said nothing aloud about her husband. ‘And of course your sons, too.’

‘How do you know about my sons?’

The visitor tilted back in his chair and laughed at her, the confident, cultivated tone of his laughter bouncing off the hard surfaces with an absolute, adamantine shamelessness. But he didn’t answer her question.

Instead he looked around again. ‘How extraordinary that you have no books in this house.’

‘That isn’t true!’ protested the woman, leaning against one of the kitchen units, her arms folded defensively across her flat chest. ‘We have some books. Look. Here.’ But the visitor didn’t seem interested in following her gesture. He was still polite, even charming, but his mood had darkened slightly. 

He was looking around, from the big plate-glass windows to the recessed lighting to that dead electronic screen. Clearly, he did not entirely approve of her new house. 

‘What you did here was rather extraordinary more generally, was it not? You must accept that, surely, my dear? The old house could have stood for much longer, you know. There was nothing very wrong with it.’

‘I think you’d better go’ said the woman. ‘Please go.’

‘Well, there wasn’t anything very wrong with it, was there? That oak staircase, for instance — I always did rather like that. And the way you could follow the sun around, room by room, from dawn in the kitchen until dusk in the drawing room? Those fire surrounds were, perhaps, a bit old-fashioned. That I will allow. And the leaded windows — someone had put in rather cheap replacement ones. But that might have been remedied. The views out across the downs were extraordinarily beautiful. This new — place — has no views at all, really.’

The woman was close to tears, although whether those were tears of anger or exasperation or of fear, not even she knew, if only because over the years she had taught herself to avoid reflection. ‘Get out of my house!’ she shouted at the enigmatic visitor. 

But he only smiled. ’Your house, my dear?’ The emphasis in the visitor’s voice was very specific. ‘Your house?’ 

‘Who are you, and why won’t you leave? Get out!’

The visitor rose, but instead of leaving, he started to wander casually around, at first just looking at things, but then after a little while, trying the controls of the kitchen appliances, turning door handles, running his long, thin, elegant fingers over all the surfaces. He touched the screen of the big wall-mounted television, which released a shower of sparks then shattered. He laughed at this as delightedly as a happy child. ‘Fireworks!’ 

‘What are you doing?’ she screamed at him. 

The visitor looked up and around, a lingering residue of that laugher still present in his features, then gently placed both hands against the reinforced glass that formed a floor-to-ceiling window looking out towards the south, although because the house was a bungalow the view took in little more than a sullen hedge. Secords later the window simply fell apart, dissolving first into tiny glass beads, which then fell like a waterfall, making a tinkling sound as they hit the laminate floor. 

The visitor turned around and smiled roguishly at the woman. ‘Much better, isn’t it?’ And a wave of warm, earthy-smelling air came in from outside, and with it, the convivial shrieking of the rooks in the beech wood beyond, and across the way she could see the neighbouring Old Rectory, with a solitary light on in one of the upstairs rooms. 

The woman didn’t know what to do. She tried to run at the visitor to stop him, but she found herself oddly unable to move. She tried to reach for her iPhone, lying on the shiny new kitchen work surface right in front of her, but her arms somehow refused to unlock from where she had clutched them across her hollow chest. She tried to cry out but no sound at all emerged from her dust-dry, wide-open, gasping mouth.

She had been very proud of her new home. She knew there were still some minor issues with it — there were strange noises and bad smells, her sons didn’t sleep well in their dark little rooms facing the main road, the electrical wiring played up sometimes. More to the point, she knew that not everyone had liked the Modernist design, and that indeed many local people had opposed the demolition of the old house that occupied the site. 

But in a way that had been the whole point — she and her husband were now the sort of people who could have what they liked, including a fuck-off, architect-designed, contemporary house, and why did it matter what anyone else thought? She had wanted a house with no history, her husband had wanted to surprise and offend — and the happless, harmless boys were, as ever, carried along in their parents’ wake. She had been proud of her new home. It was new and had no memories. Things would be better here. Things would be different this time.

The visitor, however, wandered restlessly around the open-plan living space, slightly bored but infinitely patient. A look of indulgent irony suffused his distinguished features. And then he was laughing again at nothing, at the warm air, at the rooks’ noisy, insistent agitation. ‘Where is your fireplace? You have, I see, a chimney — but no fireplace. How extraordinary!’ And it was true — they had been forced to add a chimney to the plan, as a sort of gesture of appeasement to the reactionary neighbours and supine planning people, but of course it corresponded with nothing in that grouping of meanly-proportioned, sterile, sharp-edged and loveless rooms. 

She heard a car turn in at the gate outside, scraping urgently on the gravel drive. 

‘No fireplace! Quite extraordinary, my dear — a chimney and no fireplace! What were you thinking? Well, we’ll fix that.’ And suddenly there, at the edge of the kitchen, a little fire had started, and licked its way across the steel and the glass, shattering here and causing little explosions there, all incredibly quickly. Within seconds, it seemed, the flames were clambering across the inner surface of the roof, shooting out from where the windows used to be, and the air was unbearably hot. 

Outside there were car doors shutting, voices, shouting. The woman felt a great surge of relief. She knew that the new arrival was her husband, bringing the boys back too. Soon he would open the door and come in and deal with this visitor. Soon it would all be over, whatever this was, and things would be normal again. And this time things really would be better. 

‘Ah,’ said the visitor easily, the tongues of flame reflected cheerily on his pectoral cross, looking happier and more relaxed than ever, ‘yes, here they are! Well, now they’ve arrived, we can all go together. That will be by far the best way. Greetings, my friends!’ And now he was shouting to all of them, gathered together there in the kitchen, none of them able any longer to move or speak or react. ‘Don’t worry, we have plenty of time. There is nothing more that any of you need to worry about now, nothing at all, my dears.’ 

Killing places: memory and a Norfolk village

bootscraper

This is an iron boot-scraper. For the better part of a century, it stood outside the front door of a Church of England rectory in a Norfolk village perched on the cusp of the eastern England, a liminal place where a vastness of greyish-lavender salt marsh softens the edges of the North Sea.

The rectory sat on a hill above the rest of the village. Next to it was the late medieval ex-rectory it had superseded in 1924, and which its design consciously echoed. Across the way and slightly to the north, on the highest ground in the village, was the parish church, a 13th century building altered by major rebuilding campaigns in the 15th, 19th and early 20th centuries. Nearby were the old schoolhouse and the newer, early 19th century parish school with modest 20th century additions. Another neighbour was a house called Highfields, a modest Victorian farmhouse that had been enlarged and re-ordered in the 1930s by the same architect who built the rectory — a local man named John Page, who lived in or near the village for nearly all his long life. John Page had also worked on the older rectory, just as he would go on to work on many other houses and buildings in the village.

Anyone traveling to the village either from the nearby market town of Holt, or indeed from the fine cathedral city of Norwich, necessarily passed between the buildings listed above. The rectory was, more or less, the southern-most building in the village. As such, its tall chimneys and distinctive 1920s Queen Anne roofline provided visitors with their first impression of the place they were about to experience.

In 2016, however, the rector decided that the rectory in which she had lived, apparently happily, for a few years was no longer wanted. The diocese agreed. In 2017, the ex-rectory was sold to private owners for £1m. After local objections that went all the way to the High Court, all the necessary planning permissions were obtained.

And so it happened that a year ago today — 21 January 2019, at 3.14 in the afternoon — a lone hydraulic excavator tore down the central tall chimney of the rectory. As holes were smashed into the distinctive 1920s Queen Anne roof, throwing its red sand faced Hartshill rooftiles everywhere, a strangely sweet, fresh smell settled over the area. It was the resin, suddenly released from all those 1920s softwood battens, making contact with the sharp damp air of a winter evening on the north Norfolk coast. It persisted for days. It was actually very pleasant, as long as one tried to forget the act of senseless, irreparable violence that had created it.

demolition
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Two Oaks, Kelling: the case for saving an ‘unremarkable’ interwar house

Two Oaks, Kelling

At present, the modest, interwar building shown above — Two Oaks, in the village of Kelling, Norfolk — is threatened with demolition. The planning application requesting demolition is here, on the website of North Norfolk District Council.

North Norfolk District Council has form for allowing the demolition of interwar buildings, including my own village’s New Rectory, an important early work from 1924 by local architect John Page.

I have, needless to say, sent a letter of objection to the NNDC’s Planning Committee, for their consideration, but in the interest of making the relevant case more widely, I reproduce my letter of objection below. (In the version below, I have also provided web links absent from the original document, as not all the enterprises mentioned, while presumably familiar to council members, will be known to the general public.)

___________

To the Planning Committee of North Norfolk District Council

I write to object to PF/19/2071 — Demolition of detached dwelling and change of use of site to agricultural land.

Two Oaks, Kelling is an extremely attractive house, compact and pleasing in its simple symmetry. It is also richly evocative of the interwar period in which it was constructed, and of the wartime period which it survived intact. As such it should be preserved, renovated and cherished as an important part of the North Norfolk Coast’s built heritage.

North Norfolk sometimes makes much of its links with the Second World War. The Muckleburg Collection, established in 1988, is now visited by thousands each year. Langham Dome has received awards as a successful educational enterprise and tourist attraction. Private initiatives such as the successful Control Tower B&B in North Creake trade on nostalgia for interwar design as much as the desire to experience a site of wartime interest. North Norfolk Railway’s 1940s weekend goes from strength to strength — drawing thousands to the Holt/Sheringham area, offering everything from 1940s jazz to vintage vehicles, it is now one of the largest such events in the UK. At the other end of the spectrum, people from all over the world make private pilgrimages to visit the places where loved ones served, and sometimes died, amongst our Norfolk airfields and along our coast.

Yet those in charge of North Norfolk’s heritage can be casual to the point of negligence when it comes to preserving precious reminders of ‘the greatest generation’ and the world they inhabited. Astonishingly, seriously important 1920s and 1930s buildings — in good condition, often with their internal fixtures and fittings intact, sited prominently in their villages — are still demolished without question or comment.

This is not only grotesque on environmental grounds (the embodied carbon in these buildings means that their demolition is invariably far less ‘green’ than preservation and retrofitting would be) but also on historical ones. A building from the 1920s or 30s is clearly not ‘old’ in the sense that a building from the 1820s or 30s is — but if the younger building isn’t cherished and protected, then it will never have the chance to become old. In a century’s time, our descendants will scratch their heads and wonder why our generation did not fight harder to protect this part of their historical birthright.

Two Oaks may not be ‘remarkable’, in the sense that it is recognisably a normal interwar house, but it is certainly part of Kelling’s history. For some of its time it was apparently the village police house. And for many long decades, it has occupied a prominent position along the busy coast road. Its handsome silhouette is clearly visible, for instance, from Kelling’s War Memorial. And there is something poignant about this. How many troop carriers passed by this house? How many wartime aircraft overflew it? Did Churchill himself drive by on one of his various visits to the area? To anyone who knows or cares about 20th century buildings and happens to drive past Two Oaks today, all these questions are very pertinent. And they may matter even more to those passing by in 100 years, or in 500 years’ time.

There is, after all, a great deal more to North Norfolk’s history than the lazy cliché of flint-built, pantile-roofed fishermen’s cottages. At some level, local government takes account of this. The parish summary for Kelling on the ‘North Norfolk Heritage Explorer’ website expends two long paragraphs on still-extant wartime defensive structures and other built legacies of the Second World War including pillboxes, gun emplacements and anti-aircraft batteries. Increasingly, however, the public understands the history of that war not only through its explicitly military heritage, but also through reminders of the Home Front, civilian experience that underpinned and enabled it.

Two Oaks is very much a part of that Home Front history. In its modest way, it is a monument to Kelling’s wartime experience, and a reminder of that pivotal moment in our region’s history. To demolish Two Oaks is to show contempt, yet again, for the vanishing past, no less significant for being relatively recent.

Please insist on the preservation of Two Oaks, and please reject this planning application.

[Signed etc.]

On May’s Brexit deal

[This article also appears as a guest post at the excellent Paul Burgin’s Mars Hill blog.]

Brexit, even after all these months, is still capable of surprises. A few weeks ago, I had dinner with a couple of old friends. They’re both Leave supporters. I’m a Remainer, as was my companion. We had met each other — all four of us, actually — through the student politics of the late 1980s. None of us is shy about expressing a point of view. And yet this dinner, which by rights ought to have ended either with a flaming row or, perhaps worse, with a display of ever-more-icy contempt for each others’ abject wrongness, was — from my point of view, at least — an extremely happy occasion.

It says something sad about today’s politics that I found myself, afterwards, picking apart why this conversation — unlike so many conversations about Brexit, both online and in real life — had been so interesting, constructive and friendly. For one thing, as we had all known each other for so long, it was possible to appeal to a corpus of common assumptions. It probably also helped that, as we all genuinely like each other, none of us immediately assumed, the minute someone said something with which we disagreed, that the speaker was either a monster or an idiot — that there was quite a lot of good faith on show. Indeed, the climate of mutual respect was powerful enough that I found myself thinking, at various points, ‘that’s not the way I see things, but if X sees things that way, maybe it’s worth considering’. Finally, there was a pervasive sense, hard to pin down but expressed at all sorts of points, that it wasn’t worth falling out over this.

Did the conversation change my mind? No, but it probably did help to remind me that conversations about Brexit are not only possible, but perhaps also necessary. Read the rest of this entry »

On Sir Roger Scruton

Were our present government marginally less aimless, abject and impotent, it might almost be possible to believe that the appointment of Sir Roger Scruton to chair the ‘Building Better, Building Beautiful’ commission — a public body which, according to this Guardian piece, ‘aims to expand on the ways in which the planning system can encourage and incentivise a greater emphasis on design, style and community consent’ — was an amusingly cynical attempt to pick some sort of culture war scrap, just as all of us are coming down off our various Vegangate high horses, if only to distract us from the national howl of puzzled existential despair that is May’s Brexit. As it is, however, it’s probably just a fascinating, entirely avoidable and indeed rather tragic mistake.

The attempted appointment of Toby Young to the board of a new university regulatory body, followed swiftly by his resignation once our ever-helpful Twitter had unearthed his considered views regarding breasts, has set a precedent. Perhaps, as with many precedents set in the course of the development of our unwritten constitution, not everyone wanted this to become a precedent. But that isn’t how unwritten constitutions work, is it? At present, Twitter represents the review body for HMG’s own internal due diligence procedures. Based on that insight, I am by no means certain that Sir Roger’s appointment will end happily, either for the man himself or for those who appointed him — certainly not for the built environment. Twitter, on the other hand, may enjoy it all enormously. Guido Fawkes, Tom Holland, Niall Ferguson, David Icke and, err, Toby Young have already piled in, supporting Sir Roger.

As often happens, the first salvo in this spat is possibly better as tracer-fire than meaningful attack. Is Sir Roger a friend of the deeply unsavoury Viktor Orbán? Read the rest of this entry »

On the Ben Uri Gallery

There is something distinctive and, yes, slightly thrilling about the sound made by an auction house catalogue being pushed awkwardly through the letter-box then falling, cushioned by its soft plastic envelope, onto the worn-out coir matting beneath. And indeed, this morning I was glad to discover a Sotheby’s catalogue arriving in just such a way.

It was only when I extracted the pleasingly bulky softback catalogue from its plastic that I felt a lurch of alarm.

The cover image was, surely, David Bomberg’s great [Woman] At The Window (1919). It’s a work that’s been in the Ben Uri collection since 1920. I last encountered it in the brilliant Bomberg show that took place earlier this year at Pallant House in Chichester, organised in conjunction with the Ben Uri Gallery. Read the rest of this entry »

Old Tom: a ghost story

When I was a little child, not more than four winters old, my mother used to sit up with Parson Poynter, when he was dying, in his chamber upstairs at the parsonage. Sometimes, she would take me with her. This was in the year before the old king died. I mean King James.

My father didn’t like it. He knew what everyone said about Parson Poynter and, more to the point, what everyone was likely to say about a young woman — for my mother was still young then, better-looking than some, and sharp-witted, too — who sat alone with Parson Poynter, in his chamber, even though he was almost dead by then, or at any rate so feeble and diminished in his powers as to be past much mischief. But in any event, my mother, who in many matters would defer to my father, would simply take up her things, grab me by the hand and set off up the hill toward the parsonage, as if my father had said nothing at all.

Be quiet, said my mother. We were in the kitchen. It was a long, low room. Two massive oak beams ran the length of it. On one of the long walls there was a huge brick hearth, surrounded with pots and cooking irons and so forth, with a bread oven in the wall to the right it. The kitchen smelled of smoke, meat, fat, spices, ale, cats and warm bodies. Be quiet. Just sit down and don’t bother Gartreud and for heaven’s sake don’t bother anyone else, either. Just sit down and be quiet.

There was a bench along one of the short walls, near enough to the fire to be very warm, so I sat there. Don’t you worry, little one, said Gartreud, once my mother had gone up the kitchen stairs. Read the rest of this entry »