I just passed the midway point on the Fourth Doctor scarf this morning, knitting at a cracking pace in order to have it finished in time for the recipient's party. But I must say, this is a considerable distraction, and so most of the time I sit across from it daydreaming, but sometimes when my hands need a break from all that garter stitch, I take some more photos or dust some more.
Now, I don't tend to consider myself a particularly lucky person -- not that I'm unlucky or anything, just that I don't often win contests, I don't find gold rings on the beach, that sort of thing -- so I was really in the right place at the right time last week when, not long after I joined the local chapter of the National Association of Miniatures Enthusiasts, an e-mail went out to the group asking if anybody wanted this house, because the lady who owned it "wanted to give it away to a good home". I looked at the blurry photos in the e-mail, thought, "gee, that's a big house", and that the first thing David would say would be, "where would we put it?!" Being what the English with their straightforwardness call "Mock Tudor" (Americans tend to call it, more generously, "Tudor Revival") it wasn't what I am really interested in, doll's-house-wise -- which is real Tudor (aside from perhaps a roombox or two, a Georgian one for sure, maybe a Blitz-era one ...) -- but something about the house was rather clunkily charming, and I found myself thinking about it all that afternoon. By the time evening rolled around, I thought I'd quite like to have it.
So I sent off an e-mail to the club secretary, who forwarded that to the lady in question, who phoned me, &c. &c. &c -- and Saturday we went and collected it.
It's pretty dusty, from having sat in this lady's service porch for I don't know how long, and obviously it has been knocked around a bit in the years since it got abandoned after Hardy's Miniatures closed -- many of the chimney pots (there are seven!! though only six fireplaces) are chipped, bricks are missing, and some of the windows are hanging by a single nail. But it seems structurally sound.
The old inn sign. It's hanging crookedly because the wood of the eave just there has split. Here is also the only corbel -- of a great many -- that is missing.
This whole door assembly is removable, for access to the stairs and part of the main room. I guess that little wire there means there used to be a lantern at the side of the porch -- long gone.
To the left inside the front door is the staircase, and to the right is this large fireplace, complete with perpetually-roasting pig and eternal flame. The fire is actually pretty effective in real life, since the light in the room isn't normally as bright as this, and the "flames" are sort of glimmery -- some kind of foil, perhaps.
These pieces are obviously not fixed in, but are still here despite the lack of furniture in all of the other rooms except one. We couldn't figure out what the long rod was for -- "curtains?? no, it isn't long enough to span all the windows" -- so I think it is a foot rail for the bar. ("Why?" said Julia scornfully, unwilling to grasp the concept.)
Julia was poking around and suddenly said, half horrified and half delighted, "Are those eyeballs in a jar??" I suppose that since it isn't meant to be that kind of a house, they're pickled eggs, but she reads lots of Terry Pratchett and therefore would in fact prefer that they are pickled eyeballs.
This lion is obviously special -- he gets a crown!
It's kind of funny and surreal that the rest of the house is bare, yet the bar still has towels and bottles and glasses and a folded newspaper on it -- yeah, they're glued on.
Just past the bar is a Dutch door into this room at the back.
The lady who gave this to me had begun to subdivide the center room downstairs, but the new wall is just a piece of foamboard, so I can take it out quite easily. I'm not sure what the plans were for the little room on the left -- it looks like a sauna now, doesn't it, with that horizontal paneling! Maybe a pantry, as it would make sense to have the inn's kitchen there. She also made the bed in the next room, though to be honest it takes up most of the space -- there is in fact another door behind it!
This has a rather sad abandoned-house look, doesn't it. I love the color of the floor in this room.
Through that door is this room at the front. It is only accessible through the windows, so I didn't really realize what it looks like! Just to the right outside the photo is a tall narrow internal window that looks onto the half-landing.
Yes, a trophy head! There is another one that has fallen to the floor. I thought it was a pony at first, with a fuzzy mane and what looked like a bridle drawn on it with marker, but I think it's meant to be a zebra. Whew.
The doorway between the little room on the right at back was papered over by the lady who gave me the house -- she made the big bookcase. Definitely keeping that -- doesn't this look like a cozy library, with the wall of bookcases and the wainscoting and the fireplace?! It just needs a sofa and a good reading lamp (and of course a petitpoint carpet! luckily, I've got some). I'm not sure why the faux tapestry is hung in front of the door, but there certainly are an abundance of doors. More doors than a Restoration comedy.
Very difficult to get a photo of this pretty room, at the front of the house, as I can't fit my camera through the windows!
Teeny-tiny hinges with teeny-tiny nails.
The upstairs landing is full of nooks and crannies. It has this faux tapestry, as well as a sort of frieze of metal medallions around the top -- sort of mock-baronial, I guess!
At the top of the main staircase is also a rather spare ladder up to the unfinished attic.
The flooring here, I'm sorry to say, is contact paper. It's coming out right after I give the place a good dusting.
There are a great many corbels, and each is "carved" with this nice detail -- maybe punched with a metal stamp?
This whole chimney unit comes off, possibly for moving purposes, possibly to access the electrical in the two fireboxes. The bricks seem to be some sort of clay adhering to the "mortar" backing -- unfortunately it's apparently a bit fragile now in places.
In honor of the inn's name, there is a golden lion head on every corner corbel. I think this one looks like Martin Scorsese, though maybe that's just because of the eyebrows.
I started calling these guys Aethelbert and Aethelred -- historical accuracy be damned, just this once! -- but Click and Clack is also good.
The roof directly above the bar hinges open for helpful access to the main room. You can see the two hinges along the beam just above, when it's closed.
So I'm really happy, and well aware of my good luck in being in the right place at the right time. I think this will be a fun project, though it will probably take years and never be "finished"!