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Wonderful World 19
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What makes Europe so fascinating to Americans is the enduring values that all of it’s many and varied people have. Besides the obvious differences it is the major difference between Americans and Europeans. We look at things as passing and they do not.
One of the things I particularly love about traveling in Europe is the respect for antiquity that one sees wherever one looks. Houses that are hundreds of years old still being lived in and still looking pretty much as they had all of the hundreds of years that they have been standing. Cared for with loving care and great respect for those that came before and obviously with thoughts for those still to come else why would they still be caring for these homes or churches or buildings whatever their use. I love that. Such a feeling for the continuity of life and what it means. It makes one think about all those who came before because, but for them, you wouldn’t be here or anyplace else for that matter. That’s a little something we don’t often muse on but we should because without both our own ancestors and those of others there wouldn’t be a here for us to be in. Only because of what they accomplished and what they treasured and what they fought for are we here at all. Thinking about it, it kind of cuts one down to size doesn’t it?
And speaking of cutting down to size: here are some miniature versions of some of the wonderful old buildings that one sees when traveling in Europe.
A. The Thatched Roof Irish Cottage Box. Houses like this one are all over Ireland, not in the major cities, of course, but they dot the countryside. And they are still being lived in. They are passed down by each generation to the next and each person recognizes their place in the chain of life and cares for their cottage so that they may pass it on in their turn, to the next generation. A little something we do not do in this country. Here NEW is what it is all about. When we build we don’t think of permanence. We build with an economic expectancy of return for perhaps 40 years and then we think in terms of tearing it down and replacing it. Such a waste. And that kind of thinking produces buildings that have to be torn down because they were never built to last in the first place.
Our Cottage has walls of stone cut in large blocks most probably by the very person who originally built it. The windows are leaded glass because it was easier to construct and easier to replace a small broken piece of glass. The door was always heavy oak because it stood up to the test of time and the roof, thatched because it could be repaired and replaced from one’s own fields. On one side, stairs rising to the attic of the cottage, notice the windows on either end of the attic area, used perhaps for storage over the years or even for a growing family. Climbing roses on three sides of the cottage. They will flower continuously as long as they are given water and in Ireland it rains frequently. Think of the thought that went into building this tiny structure and how it has given shelter to the same family for so many years. Nothing inside and the clasp is unimportant to the box. Our price: $172.90. That’s probably a good deal more than what this thatched roof cottage cost to build originally.
Note: there is a thatched roof home in Encino, California that was originally built for Ben Blue an early comedic actor. In all of the 25 years that I sold Real Estate it was never on the market and I always wanted to see the interior of it but never could manage it.
I have no idea of who lives there now but I have often wondered who does the repair to their roof and do they keep it wet down because in the fire season it could be a terrible hazard. It was built, of course, before the building laws became as stringent as they are today, probably in the 1920’s when there really were no laws regarding housing in the San Fernando Valley where Encino is located.
B. The Church at Stokes Poge, England Box. Perhaps not exactly the church that we visited so many years ago but close enough to take me back in my mind to that lovely village on a Sunday morning just as the congregation was leaving. We waited while they visited with each other, not wanting to intrude, and we sat admiring the charm of this exquisite little chapel that our travel guide told us was about 600 years old. The Gothic architecture spoke of the ancient history of this little town, and the appearance of the church, of the care that was clearly lavished on this architectural gem. Notice the windows and doors are Gothic in style and the doors hand carved of Beech wood because in that immediate area there were forests of Beech and the wood was much used in building. The large limestone blocks from which the chapel was constructed probably came from the Cotswald Hills which consist mostly of limestone. If you look closely at the box you can see the church bells in the tower, the statuary in the various niches and the handsome stained glass windows, all painted. Nothing inside and the clasp is an angel. Retail: About $213.00 Our price: $191.90.
Note: The poet, Thomas Grey, is buried in this churchyard.
His poem, “Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard” is thought to have been written here.
Also of Note: William Penn, the founder of the State of Pennsylvania came from this town. For you golfers, his estate in Stoke Poges is now a well known golf club so that gives you another reason for visiting Stokes Poge.
C. The Swiss Village Railway Station Box. The station, a two story building which probably housed the station master as well as the ticket office. In front of it, a train just arrived with one passenger car, a caboose, the engine and coal car. The tunnel, carved through the mountain, and when you open the box there stands the passenger car overlooking a stream and meadows approaching it. See the footbridge over the stream? I had to run my finger over it to make certain that it was not dimensional. That will tell you how competent the artist was. The perspective is so good that I could not tell that it was painted. In the meadow, a young boy and his bicycle. (This is a remake of a box we had perhaps 6 to 8 years ago that was enormously successful.) Retail: About $255.00. Our price: $229.90.
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