Wednesday, 19 December 2012

A Christmas Card Message.

Elsdon Pele
Before we bought our own property in Rothbury's Bridge Street, we lived in a rented ancient farmhouse in the picturesque village of Elsdon.  The carved stone over the front door bore the date of 1729, but even the casual observer could see that there were much, much older elements to the building. During the time we lived, worked and had a gallery there, we were privileged to met lots of people who had connections to this historic property.  Many were Tynesiders who had been evacuated to Elsdon during the Second World War who told comic tales of seeing sheep for the very first time and being terrified of these "wild animals", or of being sent to the farm to collect jugs of fresh milk. Others were relatives of agricultural workers who had once lived in various unlikely looking outbuildings. Some had ancestors who had been domestic workers in the farmhouse at various periods... and they all had their own stories to tell.  But a handful of these visitors to the gallery were family members of the Keith family, who had been the last family to own the property and to use it as a working farmhouse. 

As a result we have become occasional correspondents with Robert Keith and his wife Margaret, who now live in Carlisle. Robert has always been a keen artist, producing pencil drawings of  Elsdon's farm buildings right through his childhood and becoming a professional artist in later life. He also has a keen interest in local history, which are all reasons why we continue keep in touch.

I'm going to take the liberty of  reproducing the note he included in this year's Christmas card.

" Had a look at your excellent website Lynda. Some of your paintings brought back memories. In 1950 one evening I sat on a seat in Lovers Walk (The riverside walk along to The Thrum from Rothbury village) - I didn't know it was called that- and watched a steam engine in the station across the river (Coquet).

The Thrum Rocks
Not that many years ago Margaret and I were at Thrum Rocks and watched two girls jump across the river. The firts one made it, but the second one landed in the water. However she clung to the rock and hauled herself up.

To me The Cheviot hill was once a blip on a radar screen. In the early '50s as a radar mechanic in the RAF I was posted to Acklington. In the morning I would push this enormous revolving aerial round till two marks on the turntable aligned, assuring it was facing Cheviot. Then I would go down the ladder into the well below. It housed the transmitter, which I would tune for maximum signal on the receiver."

Cheviot from the Border Ridge

1 comment:

  1. Wow, it must have been amazing to live in a place with so much history. The painting of The Thrum Rocks is amazing! So real. Happy Holidays.