After weeks of raining, it’s a lovely afternoon on Saturday 28th July with warm sunshine. We invited X and Y couple to join our second-time picnic on Beacon Hill. On our way back to Nottingham when passing by a small village called “Woodhouse”, or “Old Woodhouse”, attracted by various stylish cottages, excited four of us almost simultaneously suggested to stop for a walking and photographing.
Most houses in Woodhouse are made of stones, including the roof tiles, acquired from local quarries. Just wondered why the village was not named as “Stonehouse”!
The public drinking fountain in the village was built 150 years ago, which has been overtaken by the more convenient running water nowadays. The red phone box standing next is still in operation, but obviously rarely used now owing to prevalence of mobile phones.
By the end of the street is a little church. A lady on bicycle was to cross the T junction when she saw us and probably believed us having come a long way. She stopped and talked to us a lot about the history of Woodhouse and nearby. As a professor teaching in universities and a clerk of the local parish council, the lady seems knowing almost every properties in the village and nearby, with plenty of historic stories. She recommended quite a few sites to us to visit, including a “spectacular” cottage called Pestilence, just 200 yards off the main road. We decided to leave other interesting places for our next excursion but to pay an immediate visit to Pestilence Cottage.
The 650 years old Pestilence Cottage, buried in green trees and colourful flowers, was indeed extraordinarily beautiful, as if a little fairytale house in many cartoons. The present host is a man in his fifties, with long beard and a half-naked and a little bit fat body, also as if an “old man” in many fairytale stories. From his talking and behaviour, we understood that he is a boat gear specialist, and still working in Leicester during weekdays. The “fairytale old man” invited us to visit his cottage, introduced us each rooms one by one, including bedrooms on loft. He also showed us a lot of antiques that he collected. The hostess is a gardener, taking care of their beautiful home gardens. She also proudly displayed two of her complex cross-stitch works, which have token her years to complete. Having heard that Mr. X is a fishing fan, the fairytale old man happily invited us to visit his private forest with a fish pond just opposite his cottage, which completed that joyful afternoon.
The legend of Pestilence Cottage says that it was the haven of Thomas Rawlins who when he settled in Old Woodhouse after escaping from the great plague of London in 1665.