Saved from the Ashes

barn burningIn the month of May 2013 we listed our Ebenezer home for sale, it was time for us to down size. The real-estate agent advised we demolish or burn down the old ramshackle barn on the property She thought it was a bit of an eyesore and could possibly hinder our chances of selling. It was once the original farm house, although I have no idea when it had been built. However, the house we were presently living in was built in 1927, so the original must have been much older. It was a shame in a way to destroy it, there was a lot of usable lumber in the building. If you enlarge the photo with the fire truck you can see the impressive blaze of the controlled barn burning. Fortunately not all the lumber was wasted. Few weeks before the planned burning two good friends dropped in for a visit. When we mentioned the planned destruction of the old building they asked if they might salvage a beam or two. They were in the process of building a new house and wanted a suitable piece of wood to install over their fireplace. It was a little risky entering and and cutting out a suitable sized timber. Nevertheless, a nice piece of wood was saved from the tottering structure to live on. Saved from the ashes a part of island history lives on in a beautiful new homefireplacefireplace2fireplace1



I hope you can see the finished products adorning this lovely home. Look closely at the middle photo with framed photo on the ledge. It is a photo of the building from which the beautiful mantlepiece was saved. I sometimes wonder what we might learn if this ancient piece of wood could talk? Imagine the history it could tell us, the little house rising as the owners fitted the framing together. Imagine life in this little farm house as the family struggled to make a good life. Imagine the young children growing and learning, laughing and crying as this old beam listened. I’m of course a dreamer and some might say a romantic too. However it is nice to dream about such things and imagine the distant past. To the the present owners, make sure your home is filled with love, the old mantlepiece might just be listening still

God Bless and keep reading

About irishroverpei

Author of "Lily & Me", "The Royal Navy & Me" and Chapter XXl Armageddon. Writer, blogger and RN Submariner, antique automobile enthusiast.
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4 Responses to Saved from the Ashes

  1. Neville S. Pearson L.R.O. RN Retd. says:

    Hi Ben, Checking on fb notice that there is something special going on at HMS Ganges on June 6th. Quite interesting to us “OLD” salts. Also forwrded your Author info to someone who wanted a good read for the summer, it was on Buddies in Boats group fb page. Keep up the good work. Neville.

  2. Neville S. Pearson L.R.O. RN Retd. says:

    Interesting facts for another day from HMS Ganges fb page:-
    There is an old Hotel/Pub in Marble Arch, London , which used to have a gallows adjacent to it. Prisoners were taken to the gallows (after a fair trial of course) to be hanged.
    The horse-drawn dray, carting the prisoner, was accompanied by an armed guard, who would stop the dray outside the pub and ask the prisoner if he would like ”ONE LAST DRINK”.
    If he said YES, it was referred to as ONE FOR THE ROAD.

    If he declined, that prisoner was ON THE WAGON.

    So there you go.. More bleeding history. They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot and then once a day it was taken and sold to the tannery. If you had to do this to survive you were “piss poor”, but worse than that were the really poor folk, who couldn’t even afford to buy a pot, they “Didn’t have a pot to piss in” and were the lowest of the low.

    The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn’t just how you like it, think about how things used to be.

    Here are some facts about the 1500s:

    Most people got married in June, because they took their yearly bath in May and they still smelled pretty good by June. However, since they were starting to smell, brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odour. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.
    Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!”

    Houses had thatched roofs, thick straw piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying “It’s raining cats and dogs.”

    There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom, where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That’s how canopy beds came into existence.

    The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, “dirt poor.” The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing.
    As the winter wore on they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a thresh hold.

    (Getting quite an education, aren’t you?)

    In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight, then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme: ”Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot, nine days old”.

    Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over they would hang up their bacon, to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, “Bring home the bacon.” They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around talking and ”chew the fat”.

    Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning and death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

    Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or ”The Upper Crust”

    Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of ”Holding a Wake”.

    England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people, so they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realised they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, thread it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift) to listen for the bell; thus someone could be, ”Saved by the Bell ”or was considered a ”Dead Ringer”

    And that’s the truth.

    Now, whoever said history was boring ! ! !

    So .. . .. get out there and educate someone! Share these facts with a friend, like I just did! !

  3. irishroverpei says:

    Thanks so much Neville, great education of history and I will definitely use it on my blog

  4. irishroverpei says:

    Hi Again Neville I believe I heard somewhere that the Ganges base would be open to visitors on 6th June, alas too far for me to contemplate a visit. Thanks for promoting my books much appreciated.

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