This big old house is once more being put to the test as we have now started work on a new bathroom. Slowly but surely, I've been going through the place, renovating rooms and bringing back to life the ancient walls that once embraced a Georgian atmosphere. I can again feel heads shaking as they disagree with my plans. Modern clashed with old, it rarely works. Yet in our new world of heated towel rails and power showers, the voices are there, standing back as they whisper their disapproval, watching on as ancient beds are torn away. It's a big room, 13ft by 13ft, the Farmer's bedroom when he was a young boy. But forty years ago, the original bathroom was riddled with damp as it sat above the pantry on the end of the house. Builders removed its three outside walls then moved the main bathroom into the room next door, meaning the Farmer had to move, too.
I luxuriated in the extraordinarily long bath before the plumber arrived the next morning; I soaked up the ambience of forty years use; imagined the cast iron once new only to be discarded when the new lady of the house took over occupancy. We should be able to use the bath outside in the garden. I shall put plants in it, in memory of the people who once massaged themselves in hot water and foam.