I mentioned that we were planning to name our new home Rainshore, and one reader mentioned having a name for a house is very uncommon in the US. I have nothing to report on the build at the moment as the drawings are now with the builder for costing and the planning department.
In the meantime I thought you might be interested in a little bit of family history.
I managed to get a few photographs of the original Rainshore. It was built by my Grandpa in 1929 and we spent lots of time there as children. It had some really nice features, and it seemed very grand and magical. These pictures were taken after my aunt Beryl died at the age of 90. She had lived there for around 80 years! Nothing much was changed.
The front door (first left picture, painted white) was never used. We always went in through the back door, which was effectively next door to the outside toilet. If you have never had the pleasure of sitting on a freezing loo seat, in winter, and then having the advantage of “hard” toilet paper then you are a youngster, and very lucky.
Entering the back door, you stepped into a large hallway with a parquet floor. It had a nice carpet and matching runners on the stairs. It was very woody and old fashioned. Half way up the staircase was a large stained glass window (second picture). There was a sitting room that was just about never used, and the same with the dining room – we went in there, once a year, for Christmas lunch. Most food was eaten in the breakfast room which used to have a large pine table (third picture). Table tennis was sometimes played on it. Grandma cooked everything in the Aga. There was a big wing chair in the corner by the left hand window and she used to sit there as it was one of the few warm places in the house. The Aga was powered by coal. The big chest of drawers and cupboards had crockery in, and in the drawers were recycled items like wrapping paper and string from parcels. My Auntie was known for her “thriftiness”. She cut bread very thin and scraped butter on it. In one of the drawers she kept things for visiting nieces and nephews – glue, coloured paper, scraps of fabric and wool. She and her mother were both keen knitters and dressmakers.
I remember having baths there when we stayed – Auntie Beryl put in just an inch or two of warm water. The room itself was freezing cold as its only source of heating was towel rail that was never on (fourth picture). In fact apart from the Aga and the fire in the “drawing room” there was no heating. The sheets felt so cold when you got into bed. The bedding was heavy blankets and eiderdowns, and a hot water bottle if was winter. The bathroom tiling is rather nice and reminds me of public baths from the 1930s. Just next door to the bathroom was a lovely linen cupboard – all built-in – that I would love to have in our new house. Maybe…
The house was set in its own grounds with a vegetable garden (we used to pick peapods and eat most of them raw), a tennis court and lots of places to run around and hide in. I found two photographs from my Mother’s album. One of Rainshore from the side, and the other of my Uncle Teddy (who was married to Trixie, one of my father’s sisters) and his three children, my cousins Clive, David and Jane, standing outside the unused front door of Rainshore.
I often try to remember the houses I lived or stayed in when I was young. I would love to revisit them in reality. But now I just have to visit them in my imagination.