While the demolition and clearing of the rubble got underway, Pip and Cynthia carried on with their lives, though the plans for the newly built part of the cottage were never far from their minds. This next chapter in their story describes how they came by two very individual additions to their new home.
‘Cynthia and myself went to a most glorious ‘do’ at Deene on the 9th. We had a wonderful time, definitely one of the most enjoyable ‘dos’ of all time – but – just look at my partner!
Starmer and Valentine at the Council offices have proved most friendly and helpful – and a loan should be reasonably easily negotiated from them. Mr Williams came to view the date stone, 1320, found in the debris – and found Cynthia furiously digging one side of the garden and myself gently attacking t’other side. He appeared a little surprised!
We popped over to Weekly Church last Sunday morn and watched Princess Margaret go to service. Later we visited ‘the site’ and chatted with Nurse Henshaw and her sister.. Also nipped in local for a beer. Had tea at Cynthia’s -we went to Desboro’ Church evening service – and I sat imagining us coming down the aisle – quivering!’
May 15th 1952 Red Letter Day!!! Read on to find out why…
June 11th ‘The story of a door’
‘Chicken and I were taking Pete Riley and Betty for a ride around. We had driven up to Finedon Hall and had explored the uninhabited buildings (we thought) when we were hailed from aloft. We espied a woman on the balcony directly above us, who was evidently addressing us in no uncertain terms, informing us that we were on private property. The old place has been turned into a research laboratory – cancer, malaria and other malignant diseases….
However, I deviate from THE DOOR… We then visited the Volta Tower, as was. This structure was originally built as a memorial to a son, lost at sea; it was built of huge ironstone blocks, uncemented. The mining folk evidently came too close with their pits and whatnot and undermined the structure, which collapsed. Behind the mass of masonry, we found a lovely garden, full of roses in full bloom. Then, hey presto, Chick and I saw the DOOR – and decided that that was the sort we wanted!’
Pip planned to try to purchase the door as a surprise for Cynthia but, as he himself acknowledges in his diary, he couldn’t keep the secret and ended up telling her! However he was very ingenious in finding the owner and doing a deal. It involved a trip to The Red Lion in Cranford and then a trip to The Bell in Finedon. Here he met ‘a tall, white haired old man’ who gave him the name of the son of the owner of the Volta Tower and told him he lived in Burton Latimer. Pip’s next step was to call in on the local bobby there and find out the address. On meeting the son, Mr Northen, Pip realised they had been at school together and the deal to buy the door was done for the princely sum of £4!
Pip concludes by celebrating the fact that: we now have…a door…a door knocker…a copper warming pan..a pew….. a chair….and a plan.
21st July 1952
‘On July 4th ( Independence Day) Cynthia and I announced our engagement. I ‘popped the question’ at Triangular Lodge. I also asked Mr Goode’s sanction and blessing. Everyone was delighted…The ring, which we purchased on 15th May, is of a S shaped setting- antique- emerald one side, ruby the other, wee diamonds in between – a real beauty…proposed 20th March for wedding day….I should dearly love to take my love to Capri for honeymoon but !!!….. £.s.d. – ah me!
As Pip and Cynthia’s plans for their marriage began to take shape so did the cottage…and by September building had begun, though the difficulties were not all resolved and Pip remained somewhat exasperated by the need to repair Hopkins’ cottage before their own roof could go on.
Earlier it was mentioned that Pip and Cynthia came by a second item that became an integral part of their home. This is how Pip describes the find;
A stone was found under our original stairs -face down – this stone is carved rather like a church window – and, at my partner’s suggestion, it is now embedded in the wall facing the front door, conjuring up peculiar mysteries of its origin ..’
A part of the Cross or a remnant of Geddington Palace or Hunting Lodge?
Next week we celebrate a wedding and the ‘topping out’ of the home that has emerged from the rubble.