IT'S LYNNY KANSAS
DON'T LET THE RUBY SLIPPERS,
OR THE DOROTHY INSPIRED NICKNAME
FOOL YOU., THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME,
BUT TRAVELING IS FUN.
HOME - the word that evokes such feelings of connection. But connection to what? To a house, bricks, mortar? To family? "Home is where the heart is", how often do we hear those words? But what if your heart is spread all over the place because the real "heart" - family, is spread all over the place too!!
Having lived in a few different places and Countries, my "home", the home I grew up, in was left behind at the age of 21. I started out on an adventure with my lovely husband, creating a family with two wonderful kids. But it was hard. We left behind parents and siblings, aunties and uncles. Relationships still there but somehow not quite the same, distance makes it hard to be close (an oxymoron if ever there was one!).
But over the years, I had the "constant". The knowing that my parents and the cottage they moved into in 1964, the place I grew up and had so many memories of, the place, but more importantly the parents, whom I could never thank enough for being so awesome, were quietly there. Always supporting, always proud, just there - quietly connecting me, anchoring me to "home".
I lost my lovely, gregarious, hard working, pipe smoking, golf club wielding, one of a kind Dad in 2003. This past summer, I lost my quietly strong, loving, generous, organised, gardening guru and equally hard working stay at home Mum.
My anchors are gone! And I feel somewhat adrift! The cottage pictured above, our "home" for fifty years will also be gone. Not physically gone, just gone from us. My parents have rented this cottage since 1964, firstly from Roger Grey, 10th Earl of Stamford, and since his death in 1976, from The National Trust. This past September, it reverted back to the care of The National Trust. It will be modernised, refurbished and eventually re-rented to somebody else - somebody else will create memories in this wonderful cottage.
I know it is only bricks and mortar, and can in no way replace the wonderful memories of my parents and my childhood - those I will cherish forever. Saying goodbye to Kyrenia Cottage is saying farewell to two people who meant the World to me. They loved this cottage, they loved this village, and more importantly they loved their family.
This is how the story goes.
DUNHAM MASSEY, CHESHIRE -THE VILLAGE
As I have mentioned a few times in previous blog posts, I grew up in a little Village in the countryside of Cheshire in the UK.
Up until 1976, Dunham Massey was very much like the famous TV series, Downton. Roger Grey, 10th Earl of Stamford was Lord of The Manor, owning the estate which comprised of many acres of land, a great Hall, walled park and gardens , tenants cottages and farms. Dunham is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, so there is a massive amount of history associated with this Village.
Lord Stamford was well known to his tenants and was often seen walking around the village in his straw boater hat, or being driven by his loyal Chauffeur, Piers Davenport. So loyal that Mr Davenport is buried in Dunham Massey Churchyard within the Grey family plot.
Lord Stamford did not marry. At his death in Manchester on 18 August 1976 both his peerage titles of Earl of Stamford and of Baron Grey of Groby became extinct. He bequeathed his Dunham Massey estate, the hall and its contents to the National Trust. He left a diary which records his collecting activities.
Upon the death of Lord Stamford in 1976, The National Trust took over the running of the estate, which comprised the Hall, walled park, gardens and the estate, and the tenants cottages and farms. They have done a fantastic job of restoring the Hall and Gardens and it is very popular with visitors.
My parents, Gerald and Joan, grew up in neighbouring Oldfield Brow, a District of Altrincham. They met at school and were together for the rest of their lives.
Married in 1952 at St. Marks Church in Dunham, (incidentally, I was married at this same Church and by the same Vicar in 1983!), they spent the first two years of married life living with my maternal Grandparents in Oldfield Brow.
Both my parents worked from the age of 14. Up until I was born in 1962, Mum worked at The Linotype & Machinery Co. Ltd., a printing press manufacturer, in Broadheath, Altrincham. My maternal Grandfather also worked there, and traveled all over the World setting up the printing presses and teaching the care and maintenance of the machines, often gone for many months at a time. The Linotype & Machinery Co. building is now a listed building.
In 1954, they moved to No. 2 Little Heath Cottages in Dunham, a semi detached cottage which they rented. The tenancy of the cottage being tied to my Dad's job as a farm labourer on the adjacent Dunham Estate farm. This cottage had no indoor bathroom at that time but had an "outhouse" in the back garden which was shared by No. 1 & No. 2 cottages!
My parents were married for 10 years before I came along, this had a lot to do with the fact that my Mum was earning more at the Linotype than my Dad was being a farm labourer. By 1964 with the imminent arrival of baby No. 2, Dad decided that to better provide for his family, he needed to change jobs. Manchester Airport was up and coming at this time, so he applied for a maintenance crew job with B.O.A.C. (British Overseas Airways Corporation), which of course later became British Airways. He remained with BA until his retirement in 1993.
KYRENIA COTTAGE, DUNHAM MASSEY
Because their current cottage was tied to his farm job, Dad's change of job required a change of abode. They wanted to stay in Dunham, so they approached Lord Stamford to see what would be available for them to rent.
Kyrenia Cottage was on the verge of becoming vacant, so with the blessing of Lord Stamford, Mum and Dad took up the tenancy in the Spring of 1964.
Kyrenia Cottage is named after Kyrenia Castle in Cyprus. We think the previous tenant to Mum and Dad had served in the Army in Cyprus and so had named the Cottage.
Thanks to British Airways staff travel, we all got to visit Cyprus and Kyrenia Castle in the late 1960's, luckily before Turkey invaded and the Island was divided between the Greek/Cypriots and Turkey. This division, restricted access for tourists to the Castle for a number of years. We were fortunate to take many family holidays abroad, not only to Cyprus but also to Malta and Spain. Dad would often send Lord Stamford post cards from our trips, being the well brought up Gentleman that he was, Lord Stamford would send a kind note of thanks.
Situated on Barns Lane in Dunham, the cottage is conveniently nestled between an old Methodist Chapel on one side (which has now been converted into a private residence), and a pub, The Vine Inn, directly opposite.
The cottage is pretty tiny. There are two rooms downstairs plus a kitchen and a side utility room, and two bedrooms upstairs with a "landing" and a very small bathroom where the roof slopes down over the bath. No standing up in the bath possible here!!! No shower either! Washing your hair involved sitting in the bath with a plastic jug lol! And still does!
We are not really sure exactly how old the cottage is. It pre-dates The Methodist Chapel next door which was completed in 1875, we believe that before that time, Church services were held at Kyrenia cottage in some sort of lean to building attached to it. (In the late 1970's the Chapel ceased to be used for worship and was sold. It is now a lovely private residence.) Going back even farther, my parents said that as far as they knew, the cottage used to be two one up/one down cottages that were converted into one. This meant that the two rooms downstairs would have been separated and each would have had a ladder going to an upstairs room. Once the cottage was converted into one, a staircase to the upstairs was added.
Despite the change of jobs, leaving farming and going to work for British Airways, farming was always in my Dad's blood, as was gardening. From leaving school at 14, he spent 10 years working for a market gardener and pig breeder, called Mr. Whittle in Oldfield Brow. He then went on to work at Little Heath Farm in Dunham before leaving to work for BA. Over the years he also got to know well the head gardener at The Hall, Mr. Gilbert Gillies, and learned a lot from him too, especially about growing roses.
Dad carried on farming through the 1960's and 1970's, even while working shifts at British Airways. His friend John Collins had the farm up the lane, and was always in need of a hand. On days off and sometimes even after a shift at the airport, he would go up there to help with combining, ploughing, potato planting or helping with the chickens. Johns wife Barbara had a farm shop and when my sister and I were old enough, we would work there at weekends.
Mum would also help out up at the farm, as well as doing other small cleaning jobs over at the pub and also for a retired army Captain who was our neighbour. She never returned to full time work, preferring to do odd jobs whilst my sister and I were at school, so she could be there when we got home.
Both my parents loved their garden. In their early years at Kyrenia, the large garden area to the side was plowed and planted with potatoes. This is where the farming came in handy, as Dad borrowed the tractor and plough, and also the potato planter. The picture below (right) shows my sister and myself sitting on the potato planter. They grew lots of other vegetables and Dad also had first one, then two greenhouses, where he would grow tomatoes and lettuce. Mum would freeze the vegetables, so even in winter time, we always had vegetables with our dinners. As a kid, I spent many an hour shelling peas, or top and tailing shallot onions, which would be pickled.
Perhaps the best feature of the garden was "the shed"!! Somewhere in the late 1970's, Dad acquired a chicken coop from his friend John's farm. This was his storage shed.
Over the years, I have taken many pictures of "the shed". It is now rather weatherbeaten, and sadly, since Dad's death in 2003, it has been a bit neglected.
More garden photos
I feel so fortunate to have grown up in Dunham. My childhood was a very simple one. We played out most days, our friends had farms so it gave endless opportunities for stuff to keep us occupied. Our parents worked hard but also had some great times with family and friends, filling the house with people which to this day always amazes me, as it was such a tiny place. Some great parties took place in this cottage, but what happens in Kyrenia stays in Kyrenia lol!
As kids we had some great family holidays. Mum and Dad loved to travel and always said it was a great education for us kids. We would go abroad at least twice a year, we loved it. They carried on traveling once we had grown and left home, going further afield to America, Australia, Thailand, and South Africa they even came to Singapore in 1984.
They were quite simply two of the best. They taught us to work hard, be true to ourselves, to be kind, and to treat others as you would have them treat you. They loved us, that is without question - and we loved them, although none of us were particularly good at saying the words out loud.
So the sun has set on our time with Kyrenia Cottage, its time now for a new chapter, as sad as it is. My parents are together once more, and no doubt there is a party going on somewhere in heaven.
Thanks Mum and Dad for being ours, R.I.P together, we love you.
The Linotype & Machinery Co. Ltd
The Linotype Machine
Altrincham - A History
The Linotype - a Blog Post from Wire Design
Dunham Massey - History
Booth & Grey of Dunham Massey - History
The Dunham Massey Booths - History
You may also like: