After we left Victorian Gothic house Neil had fortunately found a place for us out in the country. Serious country. Not quite as serious as where we are now but it was beautiful.

It was a semi-detached (duplex) like the first place we lived and I was worried about that part. Our experiences there were anything but nice. But this place seemed quiet and peaceful. It was beautiful in the snow. The people next door were fairly quiet. She was disabled and he worked. They had an old border collie named Tess. About all we ever heard from them was the vaccuum and occasionally some talking when someone came to visit, or the woman with her six year old voice calling for Tess who liked to explore.

Our side of the building was strange because the front door was on the side. It faced a tall hedge and the honeysuckle vines around the front porch were full of little noisy birds. The side that faced the road had a nice big window and they all had very deep window sills. Kitty liked that. Milk, bread, juice and even a paper was delivered if you wanted it. I tried it for a while but we found we weren't using enough milk or juice to make it worth his while. That was nice while it lasted.

The living room was very large. The largest one I have seen yet in this country. The problem was the wooden floor boards. There was no carpet. Most people would love this but they weren't sealed. Over here, in most older houses, they have a space under the house. There is the ground, then a space of about six inches or more where the air circulates. Above that are floorboards. The floorboards are supposed to be sealed so the air can't come up between the boards. That wasn't done in that house. The purpose of all this is to keep the house from getting the well known "damp". Instead of damp you just freeze to death from the wind blowing up through the floorboards. There are bricks here and there at the bottom of the house with little holes in them to let the air in. Many very cold nights were spent in that house and don't even think about putting your feet on the floor. We ended up getting a big rug for that room which helped a little. I shouldn't be going on and on about this but it was so foreign to me that I never got over it. This house is the same way. Ground, air, floorboards, and a flimsy piece of wall to wall carpet that was never cleaned before we moved in.

Anyway, on to the good stuff.

There were two bedrooms upstairs. I used the smaller one for my stuff and had it all set up very nicely. Out the front window downstairs and from the window in that room I could see wheat and barley fields literally as far as my eyes could see. There were oak trees here and there but the rest of it was a sea of grain. It was amazing. I loved the harvest and would watch them from morning until night. The farmer would wave to me because after going around those huge fields he must have noticed me watching. He has his dog with him in the harvester. Every now and then some girls would go by on horses. I love the sound of their hooves. I'm glad I still get to hear that here. Off to the right of my view I could see a field where a couple horses were staying. It was nice to see them.

Out back was a small garden. On the side between us and our attached neighbors there was a huge hedge and lots of other things that had been growing on our side. There was some fennel that was at least seven feet tall. On the other side there was not much between us and the man who lived in the next semi-detached. There was what was left of a three foot cheap wooden fence but most of it was gone. His garden was immaculate. He lived alone with his ailing poodle. We said hello but that was about it. He was a nice enough man.

All the way in the back was the most magnificent sycamore tree. It sounded like the ocean when the wind blew through it. We bought a bench from a man who made things like that who was down the road and around the corner by the pond. It seems that every village has a pond. Anyway, I loved my bench and put it on the decked area under the huge tree. Behind that was the grassy left-over land of the cemetery that was behind another Gothic church. (see picture below) The grounds keeper, who didn't keep it very well, told me they were going to cut down the sycamore because "it wasn't supposed to be there". Who was he to say where a tree should or should not be? If it got to be so big starting off from a little sprout then it deserves to be there. This became quite a problem between me, the grounds keeper and eventually the owners of the house. I told them that tree was one of the main reasons I liked the place so much. There was no other shade on the property. It stayed and I'm sure he's still angry at me, where ever he is. I started a tree with a sprout from that huge tree and it was over a foot tall and looked like a real tree. Sadly, a gardener here cut the top off, thinking it was nothing important and killed it. Do you see what kind of people we live amongst?

I suppose I'll eventually get to the reason I am writing this. I really liked that place and have some fond memories of it.

In my little room upstairs it was nice to sit and iron work shirts with the window open. The cat knew better than to get too close to the window ledge. On hot summer days I could sit there and watch the wheat and barley blowing in the hot wind. It always reminded me of that Sting song "Fields of Gold". It was stunning.

One day I had my ironing to do so I set up the board, got all plugged in and was ready to go. I was sitting on the spare bed that was in there, facing the window. The cat was in there sitting on the floor in the corner. She seemed to like that room as much as I did. I had left my towel on the doorknob to dry and got busy with my ironing. After a little while I saw something out of the corner of my eye. It was about three feet high and was smoky black and looked like a small person. This smoke (or shadow) person reached out a very long arm and knocked the towel off the doorknob! And as fast as it had done that it was gone. I looked at the cat and expected her to be looking at the towel which had fallen but she was looking up at the space where the shadow person had been. It seems we both saw the same thing. I was a little stunned but what could I do? I just got on with my ironing. I told my husband about it later and he just looked at me like I was nuts. Again. Why can't this stuff happen when he's there? Well, one night it did.

I was in the living room and he was in the downstairs toilet. You have to go through the kitchen and utility area to get there from where I was. I swear I heard him saying something to me from there but I couldn't make out what he said. He replied, "What?" I asked him what he just said. He told me he thought I was asking him something but he couldn't understand what I said. When when we both were in the kitchen we compared stories. Both of us heard the other asking a question in our normal voices but couldn't make it out. The scary part was that neither of us had said anything at all. There was no one around and the people who live next door were not attached to us in that part of the building. There were no windows open that night. I was happy that he finally got to see something strange happen!

Sadly, our neighbors slowly moved out and a woman with two girls straight from the bowels of hell moved in next to us. They were incredibly noisy all day and night. They screamed like they were being murdered all the time. I actually went over once to ask them to please try to be a little more quiet since my nerves were already shot. I was polite and everything. Finally it got unbearable and I found myself loopy on Motherwort just to get through a day. Ear plugs didn't help and why should I have to go through all that just for some peace and quiet? My guts would knot up when they came home. We ran screaming to the place we live now. So far so good. We have been here almost 6 years. I haven't seen anything too strange here. Just a lot of wonderful wildlife and all the fresh air you could ever want.