My own private sanctuary

One garden I help to maintain sits in a very pleasant valley in the Lincolnshire Wolds ; the architecture of the large old house indicates Georgian period.
There are a couple of lichen-clad statues and limited Yew topiary ,which give an air of a former decadence ;  but there is an element of natural planting which I find more appealing .
The most interesting aspect though is the small copse which lies across the very little used country lane .  Large old trees grow with a careless abandon , pruned only by the wind and gales . Ground covering ivy is thick and dense with years of unchecked growth , and the whole scene is one of a gentle and peaceful return to nature .
A very old crack-willow , long since toppled over towards an old (what I assume to be) a brackish dew-pond occupies one corner . 
When working alone here , I often have my lunch in this copse ; the silence only punctuated by crows nesting in a large oak above .
Now the strange part ....; even though I know there is no-one else there , I often sense a feeling of being watched ! Nothing malicious I assume ; almost like a 'Genius Loci' occupying this old and unspoilt place . There is an air of solitude and serenity , and I find myself drawn to this particular spot upon every visit .
I cannot explain why this should be ; maybe past events have somehow left their imprint here . The nearest I can describe is the feeling you get when returning to a former childhood haunt ; almost like returning home after a long absence .

Strange really ! :o

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  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 16,218
    I strongly believe that places have their own particular character. 

    Ten years ago we were looking for a house to buy in an area that we weren’t familiar with. We found one that looked, on paper at least, as if it would be perfect for us. The moment I stepped inside I just got a horrible feeling about it. It was beautifully decorated with a sunny garden and light and airy rooms but it just felt sad. I couldn’t wait to get out.

    I felt daft telling my OH that I didn’t like it.

    Just last week I was reading a local history paper and I found out that the garden of the house had been the site of one of the last duels fought in England. Two men had fought over the affections of a local woman and young man who owned the house had died there in the house two days after the duel.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 2,808
    pansyface

    Like you I am seemingly sensitive to positive/negative vibes , especially of old properties .
    Years ago I had to take a personal phone-call (before mobiles) in the hall of an old manor house where I was working . Upon entering this forlorn and dismal property , there was an immediate sensation of negativity and discomfort .
    I am 6' plus tall and don't normally baulk at much , but this place was almost 'telling me' to GET OUT !!
    I found out later that it was used during the Crimean War to recuperate incapacitated soldiers , several of whom had died there !
    Various tradesmen who've worked in the property say they've seen the shadowy figures of nurses dressed in what I would call 'Florence Nightingale' garb .

    The whimpering of unseen dogs and sudden knocks on doors and stairs catalysed the last owners to flee pretty promptish .
    Fascinating to read about the probable last duel in England !

  • PurplerainPurplerain Posts: 1,020
    I am too. I was given a new office in my place of work but I asked to go back to the main building. My reason was that I was uncomfortable and could not settle. I managed to get myself back and it was only 6 months later that I found out that my new architecturally designed office had been a mortuary.
    SW Scotland
  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 2,808
    Thanks for that one Purplerain ; stories and events like this really intrigue me .

    Is it at all possible that catastrophic or traumatic events can somehow leave their imprint on what I would describe as , the 'fabric of space and time' ??
    Hope others on the forum relate any experiences they've had !
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 2,660
    edited October 2018
    There has been a house of some sort, where ours stands, since at least the 1670's. It was a farm for some time and they made cheese here. The cheese weight and draining stone are part of the terrace, which was made from the old flagstone floors, thecows lived in a barn, now our front room. :)
    We first saw it on a damp and gloomy day and the interior decor was, shall we say, idiosyncratic, and not appealing. (mustard yellow walls and blood red skirtings - really! And in another room a dull green carpet with brown circles like cowpats!)
    Despite all this and the obvious need of a lot of work, it somehow felt comfortable. We wondered if we were mad, but still bought it.
    We have lived here for 34 years now.
    It is not always an easy place to live, this year has been especially hard, and in a house so old I knew people must have died here, but I have always felt safe. It is isolated and black as pitch outside at night, yet I happily go out with a torch, or even without one if there is sufficient light from the moon, to shut up the henhouse or check the sheep at lambing time. My OH was often away on business and I was left here alone and never minded.
    I did some family history research on Ancestry, where you can look up addresses, and found that at the turn of last century, around 1900, it was lived in by the Barlow family. Anne Barlow had a baby in November, but died shortly after. The baby died too, but not until late February, and I think of the love and effort that must have gone into keeping it alive until then, with its mother gone, knowing how hard a winter here can be, even with electricity and central heating.
    Maybe something of that survives?

  • JacquimcmahonJacquimcmahon Paris FrancePosts: 343
    Paul i love your description the copse sounds so peaceful. I too believe places can have an imprint of their history. I like to think of those happy places like yours and buttercup days are there to remind us that simple places have always brought happiness and contentment to those who are open to feel it. We far more often hear the ghost stories and malevolent presences, but I’m sure there are just as many wonderful places in the world.
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 3,771
    There's a well known ancient monument not far from where we live. The archeology of it is uncertain because it floods regularly, but it's prehistoric. I love it in the area around the place. It feels inhabited, even when you are there alone. I think people have walked through - I guess it's been part of a drove-way for centuries - and left, I dunno, not ghosts exactly, sort of a resonance. I suppose our hind brains can pick up the small signs that a place has been populated or neglected that our conscious minds don't notice. 
    A big house occupied by sick people who never stayed would not have the small comfort marks of a farmhouse that has sheltered generations in good times and bad. A copse that was once worked looks different to a forest that's only ever been home to wild animals, even when it's become overgrown. They are shaped differently, the landscape, the floor boards, the stair ballisters, the footpaths - the fabric of a place is different if it's been touched by people who loved it.
    You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em
    Know when to walk away and know when to run
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 19,447
    edited October 2018
    This house and its plot had been neglected when we first viewed it because the couple divorced and we've learned that another couple before them had also ended badly with him coming home one day after a trip to find his wife had scarpered with all the furniture because she couldn't face living with him once he retired.   We have swooped in and finished projects and started others to make the house suit our needs and I have gone round and "spoken" with each room.   You can do a lot to give positive vibes to a dwelling place but not necessarily a bulding changing purpose as radically as from a mortuary to an office or home.  

    I love the feeling of people having passed thru and left their mark and a continuing history of a place and yes, I believe places have memory and aura.  The birds still don't sing at Auschwitz.

    Your copse sounds lovely Paul.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • B3B3 Posts: 11,452
    The same thing happened to me with the perfect house that I couldn't feel comfortable in. Major rows but we didn't buy it.
    I found out later that there had been a graveyard there many years ago.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
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