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Curiously incurious

There are 200,000 listed properties in the UK (I forget where I read that). I’m pretty sure we looked into at least half a million of them before we found what we were looking for. No, it wasn’t one of these pricey horsey things — I just needed a screencap.

There are still LOTS of wonderful, heartbreaking properties that anyone with a fistful of money can buy — and many need LOTS of heartbreaking repair and renovation. Outside (most) royal palaces, these homes have been continuously lived in and altered throughout their lives.

We looked over one house with a 13th Century cellar, a 15th Century kitchen, and a fine 18th Century façade stuck on the front. Heh. Modern architecture.

I really liked that one, but it needed a lot. We still drive past it often, and the new owners haven’t done much with it. Uncle B calls it Hell House. He worried about the drains. And the funeral parlor next door. (“It’s very quiet,” the tenants told us, “but sometimes late at night, you can hear the refrigerators kick in.”)

We were told there was “probably” a 16thC smuggler’s tunnel connecting that house to the (still extant) pub across the street. And I’m like, “what the FUCK is the matter with you people?!?” You tell me there’s “probably” an ancient tunnel under my house, and I’m “probably” out back digging a hole with a spoon within 15 minutes of signing papers.

Jesus. You can take the whole blasé English thing too far, you know.

So it’s just as well we didn’t buy a house in one nearby lovely, haunted old town. Most of the houses there, you have to sign an agreement not to dig more than 18″ deep in your own garden. On account of you’ll almost certainly dig up something important and Roman. Or the plague.

They were really hard hit by the Big One of 1348.


Comment from scubafreak
Time: December 10, 2008, 8:53 pm

Well, you could always meet the owners in the pub sometime and chat about the rumors of the old smuggling tunnel. Then, on the way out, give them a copy of the movie “The Boogens” as a housewarming present……

If they think it’s creepy NOW…………

Comment from Dave in Texas
Time: December 10, 2008, 9:26 pm

The “big one” of 1348.


Oh, shit, you kill me. Also I’m a dork and I remember what that date means.

Comment from Sarah D.
Time: December 10, 2008, 10:02 pm

We need to send you a metal detector for Christmas!

Comment from Tennessee
Time: December 10, 2008, 10:24 pm

Dave, you remember 1348? Whoa dude – you’re OLD!!

Comment from MCPO Airdale
Time: December 10, 2008, 11:44 pm

Yeah, but it was in Dorset, right? Not like they lost most of Bury St. Edmunds and had to establish the new market in New Market, right?

Comment from Lemur King
Time: December 10, 2008, 11:53 pm

1348? Well, hell… that’s when me and Cruel Wife got married. Seems like it was about then, anyways. God, no… it must be longer than that, surely…?

I don’t know if the Brits really can carry the whole blasé English thing too far, Weas. Once you perfect something it’s hard to “let it go”, you know?

I’ve been working far too much to do more than post at the folly and read a bit, but I’ll throw it out there – do you need any care packages sent your way? Velvet paintings, moon-pies, or maybe some Dukes of Hazzard re-runs?

I’m just rememberin’ culture shock moving from the Left Coast to Michigan, so I figger about now you’re missin’ something.

Comment from TomH
Time: December 11, 2008, 1:10 am

Post about the non-weasle food when you get a chance. thx

Comment from XBradTC
Time: December 11, 2008, 4:29 am

My sister subscribes to Country Life and pours over the real estate listings every week- calls it here “real estate porn”.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 11, 2008, 5:29 am

Very kind of you, LK. I had me some serious culture shock moving from Tennessee to Rhode Island in the Seventies. I’m having an easier time (so far) with this one. Maybe because I’ve spent all my vacation time here for the last decade. Also, through the magic of the Internet, most American delicacies can be procured here, and the price isn’t TOO punishing.

Uncle B bought me a metal detector last Christmas, Sarah D. When we were trying to find the machine gun in the garden. So far, I’ve found a rusty nail and part of a buckle. I think the yard here has just been dug up too many times to yield any treasure.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 11, 2008, 5:46 am


Allen’s lovely great 10-kilo bruiser. He’s an outdoor boy, but he came in for this shot.

Am I wrong to want to see him shaved into a lion pattern?

Comment from iamfelix
Time: December 11, 2008, 10:40 am

Am I wrong to want to see him shaved into a lion pattern?

Nooooooo … ‘Cuz I’d like to see that, too!

And remember, Stoaty, don’t forget to write when you need MAYO. 🙂

Comment from Jill
Time: December 11, 2008, 11:18 am

Wow…I’m constantly finding old marbles, bits of pottery and religious items in my yard when I dig.

‘Round about 1911, my grandfather built the house I live in.

My grandmother would bury broken religious items in the yard, and I guess someone would dump broken dishes or whatever over the rear hillside.

I’m thinking that with all of the boys that have passed through here, that accounts for the marbles. About 10 years ago, I found a small oxblood-colored leather Mary Jane (shoe) that I remember losing when I was about 6 or so.

Mom had great trouble keeping shoes on me.
I still kick them off as soon as I get a chance.

Comment from Allen
Time: December 11, 2008, 11:22 am

It would be funny to see but, I don’t relish a trip to the Urgent Care place. That boy has some mean claws.

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: December 11, 2008, 3:18 pm

“You tell me there’s “probably” an ancient tunnel under my house, and I’m “probably” out back digging a hole with a spoon within 15 minutes of signing papers.”

Yeah, I’m with you on this, there’s a point at which you get too steeped in history and begin ignoring it.

Comment from nbpundit
Time: December 11, 2008, 5:25 pm

On those chilly damp winterish nights you should read this:


A loverly historical novel about the plague hitting
Salisbury a couple of times in the past 10k years.

If you get to the Cotwolds….look up Paineswick, and if it’s still there Foxbury Stud just outside of the village,
down in the valley. Old Henry VIII hunting lodge still used
as a residence. They’ve got a whammer jammer Aga as their
cook stove.

Comment from Lipstick
Time: December 11, 2008, 6:54 pm

“Sarum” is great, so is “A Distant Mirror” by Barbara Tuchman. It’s plague-a-rific (and a lot more too).

Comment from Gabriel Malor
Time: December 12, 2008, 12:09 am

Dave, you remember 1348? Whoa dude – you’re OLD!!

I dint say it!

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