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The Day Before Yesterday: 115 - A Large Eagle

...As we walked in the white front door, a broad staircase ran up to the right of us. Before us was a large stone floored entrance hall, painted soft yellow and white. The floor was mosaic tiles and at the far end of the room, a large mirror stood about six feet high, decorated all around with oak leaves and acorns in a gilt frame. A large eagle sprawled on top...

Gladys Schofield falls in love with a house.

To read earlier episodes of Gladys's autobiography please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_day_before_yesterday/

Our two youngest daughters had received the same presents from Santa this year, (peddle cars. Linda's was a bigger model than Pauline's. Both were painted red and had a name on the bonnet. One was 'Royal Prince', the other Thunderbolt'. I remember their big brother David, used to push them too quickly sometimes and trap their little feet under the peddles and was told off for this.

I often dressed these two little girls alike. I had a favourite high class shop in town. I dare not look at the prices throughout the year but come sale time the prices would plunge for these beautiful coats and bonnets. The children were just one size different, not many people knew this shop sold a few items of children's clothing as they were not often on display amongst all the adult ones but I had spied them upstairs when I visited the shop one day.

They had dusky pink outfits one summer. I made little silk floral dresses with rows of smocking under the yolk. They looked like little princesses. I know someone else who was proud of his little sisters or maybe they were a 'Sprat to catch a Mackerel' as Alan would take them to the park sometimes on Sundays and use them to draw the ladies to his side.

Looking through the 'For Sales' one Saturday, we saw this larger house at Crosland Moor. It sounded far too grand for our family and stood well back from the main road we travelled up to see Mum. Alan was keen and we were desperate for more space so thought a look would not hurt anyway. It was a few weeks after we had lost Dad.

Cliff was not available that day but Alan was eager to accompany me, so leaving the children in the care of their brother, we set off. The stone residence was semi-detached, the two houses sitting in their own grounds up long drives. A large garage the size of a bungalow itself, stood in the back yard. It was old but majestic and the age in the stonework, said 1888.
We heard it had belonged to the owner of one of the mills scattered in the valley below this hill and had needed decorating to a more pleasant colour than the brown. Everything had been inside, this person had only bought it for that reason and was ready to now sell it again. She certainly was artistic as her choice of papers and paints had enhanced the character of this house.

As we walked in the white front door, a broad staircase ran up to the right of us. Before us was a large stone floored entrance hall, painted soft yellow and white. The floor was mosaic tiles and at the far end of the room, a large mirror stood about six feet high, decorated all around with oak leaves and acorns in a gilt frame. A large eagle sprawled on top.

I had only seen the hall and realised this could never be our home even though we did have two sons contributing to the house keeping and was all for going no further but the lady, eager to show off her handiwork and needing a quick sale, as this was her job, decorating houses to make a quick profit and then on to the next.

I had noticed central heating in the hall and was told it ran by coke from a large boiler in the cellar. The roomy kitchen had a large stove fed by coal or coke, this heated the water and had two ovens, one fast and the one beiow this was a slow oven. It also made this large kitchen cosy. I noticed a gadget on the wall with the number for every room displayed. It had been put there when maids attended the household. This room was papered with sprays of blue roses in panels, escaping into another paper of brickwork. She had cut some of the roses out to make it appear they were overflowing onto the bricks. A real artistic lady. The doors of the dining and sitting rooms were embossed with figures in the wood work, the panelling also continued on the walls and decorative ceilings.

I can't explain all the details we took in. No expense had been spared when this house was built. It was made to last a long time. It had four bedrooms, three of these had their own wash basins. The antique bath in the bathroom was also one of its kind on claw feet. You could bath or shower or just have gentle sprays from tubes running up the sides of the shower, which were enclosed at one end. This was a gentle way to shower children who didn't like the heavy plunge of water. It must have been put in when the house was built. How we wanted that house, it had such a happy atmosphere about it and just seemed to be waiting for a family like ours.

We went back home but could not get the house out of our minds. I hadn't even considered the amount of work I would have to do each week to keep it looking nice. All I knew was how we could afford to buy it. Cliff was told about our discovery on his return that evening and at last with Alan's prompting and support, we persuaded him to go and see it.

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