The Empty House

            Although barren and empty, the old house still has some grandeur. High on the hill it stands overlooking the fertile fields, yet, as you pass through its towering gates, you are transported into a fairy-tale world of myths and legends. Who would not let their imagination run away with them when looking at this masterpiece of architecture?

            The many rooms and passages have seen generations come and go; rooms which once breathed life, passages which flowed with excitement, each room having its own story to tell, its own character.

            The study, where the grand old panels once held great works of art, is now eaten by decay. A book lies discarded on the time worn floor; an old chair, partially hidden by the intricate work of a spider, lies overturned in a corner. The old bookcases, where Tolkien rubbed shoulders with Einstein, are now empty and neglected, covered with the dust of time.

            How wonderful to be able to explore this magnificent house, to imagine the lives and activities that were enacted there. I would start in the attic so full of memories. I imagine them full of trunks and discarded remnants of everyday living. Yet time has taken its toll even here; the attic is empty except for the rodents who have made their home there.

            Looking down on the rambling grounds I can imagine how beautiful they once were; so full of life and colour. The pond with its artistic fountain, the tree-lined road leading to the front of the house, the tennis courts. All well planned and only to be appreciated from the top of the house.

           This house, which survived two destructive wars, could not survive progress. As time rolls on people ask for better things in life; they want warm homes, central heating and double glazing, something which this house could not give. Its large picturesque windows, which once let in the morning sun, now let in the howling winds: its majestic rooms, which once housed lords and ladies, now accommodate tramps and vagrants.

            The beautiful spiral staircase, once so elegant, has no bannister and now leads to empty rooms and seemingly endless echoing passages. Now and again you might catch a glimpse of the majesty of the rooms if you linger long enough to ‘drink in' the atmosphere and history surrounding you.

            As the house stands empty and forgotten against the crescent moon, I imagine it as a castle in some far-distant land, the moon beams dancing on the weather-beaten roof and shimmering through the vandalized windows. I can easily trace its silhouette against the star studded ebony sky and as I do I feel it welcoming mankind to shelter under its ageing roof

            Soon the bulldozers will come to destroy a small part of our heritage; many will be glad to see it go. I, for one, will mourn its passing.

Georgina Smith

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