The lane adjoining the house is more a track than a lane. Unsurfaced, it becomes rutted mud in winter weather. Decades of holes being filled with gravel or hard core have not brought much improvement in potential driving conditions.
The lane leads only to fields. There is no right of way over it, other than to landowners gaining access to their land, and there would be no point travelling it unless you were going to a field, because, at the end, you would need to turn around and drive the bumpy way you had come.
No-one lived on the lane, but three years ago a family bought a field near the lane’s end and came and stayed there, in a caravan or in a tent. It seemed odd that anyone would want to stay at the far end of the lane. There were no amenities and little to attract anyone to do so. Now they have bought a house in the parish that they are in the process of restoring, no longer will they pass up the lane.
Dwelling places in our community were always of varying quality. Before we moved to the village in 1967, we lived on the family farm at Huish Episcopi. Across the road, there was a tarmac lane that led down onto the moorland. On the lane there was a bungalow, built from corrugated iron and without mains electricity or mains drainage, it had been a family home. Nearby a more substantial dwelling still housed a family, their house was lit by gas, there was no option of the electrical appliances we were beginning to take for granted.
When we moved to the village, it was still a time when fruit and potato picking still brought transitory workers. Gypsy families in wooden caravans would arrive in September and move on during October. Encamped in a farmer’s field, their lives seemed exotic and filled with colour when compared with the dullness of our own daily lives.
At the end of our road, in the midst of weeds and briars, there was a house that was uninhabited. No-one ever went near it because it belonged to an old lady who lived in a cottage behind the village church. Every day she walked to our road to check the house, everyone knew her, a gentle eccentric whose manner was probably unnerving for a small boy.
Of course, there were plenty of fine dwellings in the village, houses from the Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century, but none had the fascination of the different and the way unusual. Perhaps, in fifty years time, those living in our house will recall the people who camped up the lane.
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