I am blogging about gates just to share these lovely photos.
They are taken on Eddington Road, looking down through the main gates of the house. In the album, someone has written ‘Possibly 1900’ on a strip of paper below them. Like everywhere, to stand in this road to play games today would take excellent reflexes. But I have dodged the cars to get an up to date photo for you and survived.
So from the old snaps I have a good idea of the gates as they used to be: a wide one for carriages, then a heavy gate post, crenellated of course and a pedestrian gate to one side. Once there were railings and a low wall in front of the house. I love the open view to the sea from here, as I do the white flouncy playwear of the girls and of course, the peaceful aspect of the unmade road.
I can’t achieve the latter today, as I dodge the No 8 double decker to Ryde. But you can see from my photo that the new nib of wall with the road sign in front is the problem with reinstating the pedestrian gate, so I have applied to move it one side. Hidden under the hedge is the old post, so chunky it hasn’t rotted much, and the metal crenellated top. Also, tucked well back, is a jumble of metal, contraptions relating to the gate set-up. A brace for strength? Detective work is needed to work it out, but it is all there waiting to be reinstated should the Conservation Department be in agreement.
I have blogged before about the holm oaks down the drive (‘In Praise of a Hedge’). When the remaining laurel is removed and the oak pollarded we will have this wider view from Eddington Road again. Sadly, no longer a vista of the sea, which is blocked by the tall cherries of the white garden and the mature oak hedge, but you will see where our flowering dogwood clashes with a Cordyline australis, a Fawlty Towers touch of planting, more reminiscent of Torquay than I am aiming for here. No matter, it has age, is part of the history of the planting and the kids like this comedy aspect, so it stays.
The drive is too short to sweep, but making it wider means I can keep cars from the front door. They can park in the bays beneath the oaks (there is access for infirm friends at the kitchen door). So now as you approach the house you will do so on foot, screened by oaks, pass through a low gate in railings which will echo those on the south side of the drive, and step into a gravel courtyard, self seeded with chosen plants, the steep steps of the house to your right, the slope of the white garden lawn to your left, all a little wild, a little in the vein of Miriam Rothschild, a touch of abandonment for my Castle.