We got in the car and couldn't agree on which way to go. Then it occurred to me that what I really wanted to do was visit my old home, the place where my eldest two boys grew up and where my then husband and I started our fledgling knit design business. We also had a menagerie of animals: dog, cats, two ponies, a donkey, a horse, goats, chickens, geese, ducks and bees. People used to ask how we filled our time stranded in the middle of the countryside, but there was never a spare moment. In fact, as we were growing most of our own vegetables as well, we really needed a 36 hour day to fit everything in.
|Goat and chicken sheds - a watercolour by John Snelling|
The house is quite isolated, four fields back off the road through farm gates, which had to be opened and closed. It had stood uncared for and empty for years after we relocated to York - a reluctant move, mainly because the logistics of sweater production were becoming impossible from there. At the time we were designing and manufacturing sweaters for both my own collections and also several US designers, and the articulated trucks that delivered the yarn were constantly getting bogged down in potholes on the farm track, especially in the winter. Also, as we were so remote, it was difficult to get help with the finishing and shipping and after much deliberation we decided reluctantly to relocate to the city where we could rent a workshop.
On our previous visit to Low Bellmanear we'd found a building site, suggesting a major renovation was underway, but as it was the weekend there was no-one there to ask. So two years on, I was becoming increasingly curious to know how things had turned out and even more to see if anyone actually lived there.
|Unmetalled road to the house|
So we arrived at the entrance of the track that leads to the house, parked the car and set off walking the 2/3rd of a mile.
|The track leading to the farm outbuildings in the distance|
|Water colour of Dutch barn, fold yard and stone barn by John Snelling|
We knocked on the front door, but alas found no-one in - pity, it would have been great to introduce ourselves to the new occupant and, curious as I am, maybe get invited in. However not this time.
From what we could see looking on at a distance, the old stone barn had been demolished, as had the fold yard where Mr Lamb (no pun intended), the farmer, used to dip his sheep. The orchard was no longer in use and completely overgrown, Diggory the donkey's wooden shed had also been knocked down, and horror of horrors, all the paintwork has been painted yellow!
|Watercolour of the back door when we lived there, painted by John Snelling|
|Back of the house when we lived there, with derelict barn attached.|
Watercolour John Snelling
|View up through Fizgig where the primroses are spectacular|
at this time of year
|John Snelling's watercolour of Fizgig viewed from the back of the house|
|Much of the wolds are now down to arable crops|
|Walking back at the end the track, the sun was setting over the lake|