Sunday 23 May 2010

The Sunday Story. Hermitage?

I was reminded of this story, having read a posting by Tom Stephenson.

I had a second-cousin (Actually, I think our relationship was much more distant than that, but...) who was a graphic designer for the Church of England (a black sheep, obviously). In roughly 1969/1970 he bought a very beautiful, but run-down, house, just off the Hog's Back between Farnham and Guildford, in England's leafy county of Surrey.

Having restored the house to a livable standard, he moved in, complete with wife and two small children.

Spring approached, and Mrs second-cousin decided that the impenetrable garden needed some serious work, so she engaged a local firm of slashers and burners. After several days work a path was opened to the bottom of the extensive garden where they found a small rickety shed (not at all like the one above). They had not previously known that the shed existed.

Mrs second-cousin saw at once that a well trodden path went from the shed to a hole in the overgrown hedge; someone had definitely been going in and out.

She pushed open the door to find an elderly tramp installed, complete with makeshift bed, chair, table, and camping stove. I imagine some short conversation took place, then she left him in peace.

The tramp, let's call him Jim, had been living in the abandoned shed for years, and my second-cousins had no heart to evict him. He soon became 'Uncle Jim', and even volunteered to do odd jobs for them in the garden.

I only visited this distant cousin once, and by this time 'Uncle Jim' was actually living in the house with the family. He was smartly dressed, articulate, and, had become a 'normal' member of society.

Many would have turfed him out of the shed at once, but these kind people had slowly re-integrated him into a more comfortable way of life. And they'd left the shed exactly as it had been found; just in case....

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  1. What a wonderful story Cro! That's certainly not an ending that I would have guessed. What wonderful people.

  2. That's a good, heartwarming tale Cro - not the sort normally associated with Surrey property investors. For years I rode my motorcycle over the Hog's Back, past that huge hotel on the ridge, and it was years later that I discovered that it was the biggest, secret communications centre of the South, during WW2.

  3. My very distant cousin's gaff was not too far from the Watts museum. I don't remember you having a bike! I do remember that big hotel; didn't know its history. Interesting.

  4. I love this story! Because its truth is deep and its ending is good.

  5. Hi Cro, like your big sis, I love this story too. I suppose as we go through this world we can either make life better for other people or a lot worse. If everybody was like your 2nd cousin this world would be so much a better place to live in don't you think! Have a good day Molly

  6. agree wholeheartedly with mollygolver. they took a chance on this fellow and it paid off for everyone. A little kindness and consideration goes a long way, when offered to the right person. Lovely.

  7. Dennis is a big believer in good people!

  8. That is a wonderful story of how people can be helped. I had a bad experience of this sort and am gun shy. The homeless man I hired to do some work in my house swore (my boys were 2 and 4), tracked oil based paint on the carpet, did a terrible job and caused me so much grief. I wish that had not happened. I really wanted to help him. Too bad. He looked like Santa Claus.

  9. Hi I so enjoyed that story and as a new visitor to your blog found it really nice,interesting and just a pleasure thankyou Carole


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