The Old Paper Mill owner, Alison Mckeith on a very special guest
Last weekend, The Old Paper Mill welcomed a special guest who had booked her stay, some months ago, as part of her 70th birthday celebration.
As this lady arrived at the door and walked into the cottage, her eyes filled with tears. She had spent her whole childhood in The Old Paper Mill, then simply a happy family home. From 1948, at the tender age of 18 months, she lived there, with her parents. She grew up with her best friend, the daughter of the neighbouring farmer across the fields, her beloved dog Queenie, and the fields and woodland, which surrounded her home.
Through tears of joy, Val recalled to us how she would spend hours adventuring in the woods and fields with her dog, and was even able to pinpoint particular trees which she used to climb – still there, but now even taller and broader, as the decades have moved on.
Inside the cottage, she reminisced about the old black range in the corner of the room (sadly no longer there), about doing her homework in the garden on a summer’s evening, and how her father had dug trenches by hand to bring spring water, sanitation and electricity, for the first time, to this tiny cottage in the woods.
Val’s family left The Old Paper Mill in the mid ‘70’s after almost three decades of life in this semi-ancient woodland setting.
Now, another 40 years on, we’re delighted to say that the renovations to the cottage have got Val’s 100% approval. Yes, it’s been extended a little, but the conclusion was that all of the 21st century luxuries have only enhanced the innate charm of the 250-year-old building.
We left Val to walk through the woods, sit by the stream and quietly reminisce about the innocent and, oh so happy, days of her childhood. Times have changed but we were honoured to play a part in Val’s very special birthday celebration.