29 January 2003

 001      Ullswater.The Cottage  1939 We left Ainstable and we arrived at our new home at Sharrow Bay in 1939. I have a feeling it was late in the year and World War two was about to start. I have no recollection of leaving Ainstable or our arrival at our first Ullswater home in the Cottage at Sharrow Bay, not even a flicker. I wonder why we have complete memory blanks like this? Even to a boy of five years old going on six our move was an important event in ones life and should be memorable. I wonder if the upheaval of moving and the tearing away from ones familiar and happy surroundings to go to somewhere strange has a traumatic effect on a small boy could be the cause?

The cottage was new inside and large, not really a cottage at all. It had three double bedrooms, a sitting room, kitchenette separate toilet and bathroom and a large head high attic. Tacked on to one end of the house was the laundry, which was accessed from going outside. At the other end of the cottage was a large a double garage and workshop as big as the cottage and the two blended together as one. The garage housed two Daimler cars, one new and the other a few years older belonging Mr Nelson at Sharrow Bay mansion.

The cottage really was a conversion. Originally before the advent of the public electricity supply Sharrow Bay had its own private electricity supply. The oil-fired generating plant was housed in the area, which was to eventually to become the Cottage. When going up into the attic area the discoloured roofing timber from the oil fumes could be seen and when sniffed a smell of diesel could still be detected.

The cottage was built of blue-grey Lakeland stone in a lovely position overlooking what was then the enclosed berry garden area of the Mansion kitchen garden. To the garage side and rear of the Cottage stood majestic ornamental trees and large shrubs with a small bamboo grove from which we boys cut spears and fishing rods from the canes. To the other side of the cottage where the laundry was attached there was a large kennel area enclosed by iron railings six to eight feet high. The Estates dogs were kept here long ago but long empty now in 1939.

It was between the kennels and the laundry where my father placed his sectionalised Green Hut, now its third home.

In the year 2000 during our trip to England I visited Sharrow Bay with my brother John and we had a cursory look at the cottage. As we approached the cottage we could not see too much close up due to extensive extensions taking place. The whole building was now turned into holiday apartments and it was now double story the building had been extended outwards into what was the kitchen garden berry section. It was a little sad really nothing really existed of the cottage. Alterations were also taking place where the kennels once stood.

I do wish we could have had a closer look especially the rear.

I’m still trying to remember how long we lived in the cottage, the problem I have some of the vague memories that I have do not seem to not fit together. Ah well… after sixty years.

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