G is For


I took part in the 2015
A-Z April Blog Challenge 

From when I was little I have been fascinated by the poem:

"As I was going up the stair,
 I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today,
I wish that man would go away!"

although as a child I didn't realise that the man was probably a ghost

Are there such things as ghosts? Are they real or are they just our superstitious (and often slightly agitated or frightened) fears getting the better of us?

I am certain they are 'real' - well not real as in there before you solid, touchable, definites... but real as in, yes, they exist.
Exist as in a memory or an energy that has been left behind.

our house from the lane
I don't believe in 'bad' spirits or ghosts that set out to frighten - the Hollywood Horror type rubbish. At least that isn't the sort of ghost we have in OUR house.

We have two now who live with us... there were three but the Young Lady in the guest bedroom has gone. (I like to think of her as Jane, but this might be a bit of influence from Jane Eyre.) All she wanted was to be noticed. I made a point of saying 'Good morning' and 'Good night' to her when we first moved in. Now she's happy she's moved on.

Looking towards the old part
of the house upstairs
Milly or Molly (various people have called her one or the other) is our maid. She's from the 17th or 18th century going by her gown and mob-cap. She is often bustling about. She stays, I have been reliably told, because she loves the house and wants to take care of it and the people who live in it. (Thank you MillyMolly!)

She does tend to tut ('Tck, tck, tck', I hear) when I carry the laundry out to hang on the washing line via the front door. Front doors are for formal occasions. Laundry goes out through the back door.

My daughter has seen her often, usually bustling past the windows but she has also seen her dancing outside when we've had music playing. She's been seen in the orchard as well.

Then there's Jack. He's been seen in the dairy. He also keeps an eye on things and worries if he thinks we're in trouble. I think he also keeps watch on my cat, Mab, when she takes up her summer residence in the hay loft because he knows I worry about her. Thank you Jack. I'm also certain he's alerted me when there's been trouble with the horses up the yard. (again, thank you)

The old dairy
click here for C is for...
to read more about Mab)
When viewing the house for the first time I walked into what is now a sitting room, but was, when the house was built (circa 1769) the kitchen and general living room, I felt the most enormous welcoming hug as I stepped through the door - I feel it often, and get the sense of laughter filling the whole place.

It is a happy house, and has been filled with happy people.

I can't think of the house as mine though, even given that it is bought and paid for and I have the Title Deeds. I keep thinking - like you do when you are on holiday - that soon I'll have to pack everything away and go home.

And I realised why the other day.
This lovely house and the spirits who remain here along with the sense and memories of the past does not belong to me and my family because we are merely the present generation of care-takers.

The house doesn't belong to me.
I belong to the house.

Me with very good friend Celia from Australia
(and my Australian FanClub)
braving MillyMolly's tutting by the front door

Website: www.helenhollick.net

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Blog: www.ofhistoryandkings.blogspot.com
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  1. Anonymous4:40 am

    I recently found your blog and your books, and I've been thoroughly enjoying this A-Z series about your lovely home. It's building my dream for an old home out in the country one day. :-) I have a question about that little rhyme at the beginning of this post - who is the author? I've encountered that ditty before, but I'd never learned who wrote it. Or is it a nursery rhyme and therefore doesn't have an author as such?

    1. Thanks! I always thought it was a nursery rhyme (I had A.A. Mlne of Winnie-=The-Pooh fame in mind) but it turns out to be is an 1899 poem by American educator and poet Hughes Mearns.

  2. Wow- your house sounds great! It is really haunted? That... is so neat. Are you or your kids or your visitors ever scared by them? They sound benevolent, but I imagine that they could be startling. It is also interesting to me that Jack watches over your cat. A friend of mine once told me of a night he spent in a room in an old farmhouse, and of his impression that a dark shape stood by his bed as he slept. He thought it was just a dream, and told his host the next morning. "Oh, that's just the ghost," the host said. "If you don't like it, we'll put the cat in your room tonight. It won't bother you then." I don't know if it is a belief in the area (Lancaster, PA, USA), that cats will keep off ghosts, or whether this particular ghost just didn't like cats, or what, but my friend said that the cat slept in his room the next night and that the ghost did not come back.

    1. Yes we really do have 'ghosts' living with us but I wouldn't say we're haunted, that conjures up a scary/unpleasant image doesn't it? I regard them as part of the family - the House's Family .... and I have every intention if I am able of joining them in hanging around to keep an eye on the place one day in the (distant!) future! Cats probably were not liked in the house as they weren't regarded s pats but in stables, cow byres etc they were highly valued because of keeping the rats and mice down -0 and our Mab is a brilliant mouser and ratter which is probably why 'Jack' likes her!

  3. How cool this is... I've always wanted to see a ghost, but so far I've had no luck. Yours sound lovely! And I really liked your take on your temporary caretaking of the house and its inhabitants, memories or otherwise. Lovely post.
    Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

    1. I've not seen one yet either (though my daughter and others have) I just get a 'feeling' of their presence - in particular a big warm hug!

  4. I'm interested in places that are said to be haunted. Two or three years ago my A-Z theme was castles, preferably those associated with ghostly tales,
    Not to sure I'd fancy sharing a house with one though.

    1. It's lovely living with them - just like having a Guardian Angel (or two) looking out for you!

  5. Your house must be about the same age as ours, We just love it here,it had a lovely feeling to the house (we think so anyway) Great blog and fab photo Helen of you and Celia :)

    1. These old places definitely have an atmosphere don't they?

  6. Anonymous2:48 am

    Helen, I would love to see your home. I would really like to live in one like it.
    It is awesome that you are having a drawing for one of your wonderful books.

    1. Thank you - I do love living here!

  7. I remember that poem! So glad you have a good relationship with your ghosts. I believe they exist, too, and have had a few strange encounters in my house (built in the 1870s), too.

    1. thanks for leaving a comment on my blog Melanie - apologies for any delay in replying, I'm trying to catch up with everything! :-)


Thank you for leaving a comment your interest is very much appreciated! It will be published as soon as possible - depending on whether I am at my computer or walking up the lane, or being chased by the goose or helping mend fences after the pony has broken through YET AGAIN.... :-)