We were new teachers. Eric and I taught atParkdale C.I., while Marjorie taught at Emery JuniorHigh. Salary around $6,000 per year.There was a book written around 1960 titled “Europeon $5 a day.”. In 1965, Marjorie, my brother Eric and Idecided to give it a try. Well, we did it…a whole seriesof adventures that might interest readers. I know it isego driven but some of the adventures were universallike the chilling visit to Dachau and the rescue of a rabbit afflictedwith the poison Mixamatosis and the discovery we couldlive on Bulmer’s apple cider and cheese and bread.Marjorie was a great sport about the whole thing.She could take the privations and enjoy the adventures.My brother, Eric, refused to go 50/50 on the expenses whichmeant I had to pay 2/3 which I now know was reasonable.Marjorie was a little disturbed on one day when we did noteat at all while crammed into a sleeping car in bunksthat were stacked so tight that there was little room to breath.
Begin forwarded message:
From: ALAN SKEOCH <firstname.lastname@example.org>Subject: EPISODE 57 EYWOOD REVISITED 1960…SAD SIGHT TO SEEDate: June 2, 2020 at 11:04:00 AM EDT
EPISODE 57 EYWOOD REVISITED 1960…SAD SIGHT TO SEEalan skeochJune 2020“Well, Alan, I expect you would like to see Eywood?”“Any time you are ready.”“Few chores to do first.”“No problem. Do you miss he Eywood Estate farm of Oatcroft?”(Cyril did not answer…just looked at me….perhaps pain in hisway of looking. Oatcroft was 500 cree in size. Lower Wooten farmwas about 40 acres. I should not have asked that question.)“Let’s round up the sheep before we go, Alan.”“Sure thing.”(And strangely, this photograph of Cyril , his rented farm, his sheep, has a deepimpact. Hopeful, purposeful, human. I was quite willing to delay the visit toEywood even though my time in England was very limited. Actually I feared thevisit.Demolitions were happening all over England…big houses becoming piles of rubble.Was the demolition of Eywood in1954 startling to the British people? Was there a feeling thata national treasure was about to disappear? Not in the least. A country housewas being demolished every five days by 1955. Some of them far more impressivethan Eywood. What made matters worse is that no one seemed concerned.The social life of the country houses was dead. In many cases, like Eywood,the building faced succession dues as high as 65% of value. This cost plusthe fact that many of the aristocratic owners had been killed in the two WorldWars of the 20th century meant that country houses were doomed. The largenumber of servants and workers that once depended upon the largesse ofthe wealthy class had found better pay and real independence elsewhere.The result was that the owners of hundreds of country houses could notafford the maintenance of these once semi-palatial homes. Demolitionwas the answer.In England alone 1,998 of these large beautiful country houses havebeen demolished. The records are there. The weeping was notthere. In the 1950’s England was trying to survive after the devastationof World War II. Sympathy for the problems of the wealthy class thatowned these large country houses was lacking.The strange thing to me was the fact I had a feeling of loss. Why?I did not know Eywood at all. Where did this feeling of loss come fromthen? It came from those hand carved picture frames hanging in the onewarm room in Grandma and Grandpa Freeman’s farm house. Andhad I looked closely I should have noticed the feeling for Eywoodwas really a feeling of fellowship for those who made Eywood function…the people that worked there. In each of those picture frameswas a picture of a person. Not one picture frame included apicture of the stately estate country house called Eywood.Listed below are the country houses demolished in Herefordshire alone.The contents kept several auction houses in business.
Allensmore Court Allensmore Herefordshire 1958 Aramstone House King’s Caple Herefordshire 1959 N Image(s) Bromtrees Hall Bishop’s Frome Herefordshire c.1945 De, N Broxwood Court Broxwood Herefordshire 1955 N Image(s) Cheyney Court Bishop’s Frome Herefordshire 1888 B Cowarne Court Much Cowarne Herefordshire 1960s Image(s) Croft Castle Croft Herefordshire 1937 P Eardisley Park Eardisley Herefordshire 1999 B, N Image(s) Eywood Titley Herefordshire 1954 Su Info + Image(s) Foxley Yazor Herefordshire 1948 Dw Image(s) Freens Court Sutton Herefordshire 1953 De Garnons Mansell Gamage Herefordshire 1957 P Image(s) Garnstone Castle Weobley Herefordshire 1959 Image(s) Gayton Hall Upton Bishop Herefordshire 1955 Goodrich Court Goodrich Herefordshire 1950 Image(s) Harewood Park Harewood Herefordshire 1959 Dw, Su, N Info + Image(s) Hatfield Court Hatfield Herefordshire P Hope End House Ledbury Herefordshire 1873 N Huntingdon Park Huntingdon Herefordshire 1966 De Knill Court Knill Herefordshire 1943 B, N Info + Image(s) Letton Court [I] Letton Herefordshire 1863 N Letton Court [II] Letton Herefordshire 1925 B, N Moor Court Pembridge Herefordshire 1950s Moor [The] Clifford Herefordshire 1952 Moreton Court Moreton-on-Lugg Herefordshire 1950s Info + Image(s) Perrystone Court Foy Herefordshire 1959 B, N Rotherwas Dinedor Herefordshire 1925 Saltmarshe Castle Bromyard Herefordshire 1955 Image(s) Sarnesfield Court Sarnesfield Herefordshire 1955 Image(s) Shobdon Court Shobdon Herefordshire 1933 Su Image(s) Staunton Park Staunton-on-Arrow Herefordshire 1921 N Image(s) Stoke Edith Tarrington Herefordshire 1927 B Image(s) Thinghill Withington Herefordshire c.1929/30 Tyberton Court Tyberton Herefordshire 1952 Image(s) Urishay Castle Peterchurch Herefordshire 1921 S Whitfield Wormbridge Herefordshire c.1949-53 P Image(s) Whittern [The] Lyonshall Herefordshire 1930s N Wistaston Court Herefordshire c.1910 B Wormbridge House Wormbridge Herefordshire 1798 So Cyril Griffiths was going to take me to Eywood. He seemed in no rush to do so.His family were really happy that I had come. A descendent of the Eywood family.Not the blood family. But the working family.What would I find when we got to the estate?I expected ruin. Expected piles of bricks and broken mortar.That is not what i found. What I found was, and remains, quite remarkable.COMING NEXT.EPISODE 58: FINALLY, A VISIT TO EYWOOD…A GRAND SURPRISE…COMING NEXT EPISODE
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.
Begin forwarded message:
From: ALAN SKEOCH <email@example.com>Subject: EPISODE 56 EYWOOD PARST TWO: THE IMMIGRANT YEARS OF FREEMAN FAMILY 1905 TO 1914Date: May 30, 2020 at 11:42:02 PM EDTTo: Alan Skeoch <firstname.lastname@example.org>
EPISODE 56 EYWOOD, PART TWOLouisa (Bufton) Freeman with daughter Elsie on her one and son Frank by her side.Photo may have been taken in the Head Gardener’s house at Eywood Estate.In 1972, I asked mom to explain life as immigrants in Canada from 1905 to 1914This is Granddad and is gardeners…ten men and boys and two horsesalan skeochMay 2020There was always something strange about the Freeman farm house. Something differentfrom other houses as I remember. And the difference, I now realize, was the picture framesand the photos fitted therein. The frames were hand carved by Granddad out of slabs ofhardwood. Then intricately carved. As below.“How long did it take you to carve these, Grandpa?”“Did one ever winter for a few years?”“Who is in the frame?”“That’s to cook from Eywood…your mother’s godmother?”“I thought you hated Eywood?”“Too strong a word, Alan.”“but you said you hated tipping your hat to Mr. Gwyer, the owner of Eywood.”“Hate is too strong a word…let’s say disliked.”“If you disliked Eywood, then why spend your winter’s doing somethingthat reminds you of Eywood.”“Alan, there is the world of difference between a system I might dislikeand the people working within the system.”“I don’t get it.”“Some of those people in service at Eywood became as close toyour grandmother and me as our family. They became family really.”Winer’s work beside the wood stove in Erin Township, Wellington County 1930’s.Elsie Freeman…hand made frame by Edward FreemanThe old Freeman farm house had reminders of Eywood on each wall of the only roomin the house that was permanently lived in. The room with the big wood stove. The restof the house in winter time was so cold that icicles formed in the rooms. Just to gotto bed upstairs we had to take a hot brick wrapped in paper. The brick was heated inthe wood stove oven.This was not the home of rich persons. Yet the walls were reminders that there wasa place somewhere in England where rich people lived and were served by servants.It was all very confusing.I thought Grandma and Grandpa came to a better place..Canada. But the reminderson the walls told a different story.Always in the back of my mind were these reminders of Eywood. A mystical placethat I thought I would never see. Time and circumstances changed things for me.Remember this point. I was born in 1938. I was a teen ager in the 1950’s. I wasan adult in the 1960’s. I was to become part of the luckiest generation of humansthis world has ever seen. I did not know it though. Nor did I know that in a few yearsI would find myself on the Eywood estate. Not once, but several times. I wouldarrive there just six years after the grand house was demolished by impoverishedBrits. I would arrive just six years after the grand estate home was blown tokingdom come.What of granddad?“Will you ever go back to Eywood ““No. We will never return…burned our bridges.”They left Eywood in 1905. Sailed to St. John, New Brunswick. Then train to Toronto.where Granddad expected his wife Louisa to stay for a few weeks while he checked out farmingin Manitoba. That was a non starter.“You expect us to take Frank and Elsie to a remote wilderness where there are no schools nearby?”“For a while that will be so.”“And no hospitals.”“Not close.”“Well…that is not going to happen…we are not going to Manitoba.”So grandpa bought a small garden farm in Etobicoke (exactly where Highway 427 sweeps northtoday and crosses Burnhamthorpe Road.). He tried to grow vegetable then haul them to Torontofor sale. Tough. Poverty was getting close.“We will sell the garden farm, Lou.”“And do what?”“I have a job as carpenter with the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway. Big thingshappening in Northern Ontario. We will have a cabin in Krugerdorf…a village near Englehart.Start all over again.”Around 1985 we drove north to find krugerdorf. We found it. All that is left of therailway village is this sign. As I looked at the sign, a black bear crossed the railway tracksome distant away.This is the log cabin of Harry Horsman, a friend of the family in Krugerdorf. His cabin is primitive as wasthe cabin belonging to Ted and Lou Freeman. Theirs caught fire an burned to the ground in 1913 or 1914. Firesraged all across Northern Ontario in those years.Contrast the log cabin above with the majesty of Eywood Estate main house.The cabin turned out to be a rudimentary log cabin. In the summers massive wildfires swept acrossNorthern Ontario. Granddad had to ride through at least one such massive blaze sitting on a flat carwith forests burning on each side. It was tough. Then their own log cabin caught fire and burnedto rubble. They managed to save their one t treasure…a small pump organ. Music was a bigpart of their social life. But they were burned out. So they moved…fled… south.Grandma wanted something stable. Not flashy. For their money was limited, very limited.In 1914 Edward and Louisa Freeman bought a small farm in southern Ontario. Very small indeed.The 25 acre farm on the Fifth line of Erin Township, Wellington County, Ontario could hardlybe considered a farm. Jus to 20% of the land was swamp. And the fields were oct strewn.rocks left behind when the glacial ice retreated thousands of years ago. Rocks on the surface.Rocks below the surface. But there was a brick house. Well really a brick faced house…one brickthick. Really the house was built like a barn. Timbers rescued here and there from other buildingssome of them scorched by fire. No running water. No indoor toilet than thunder jugs beneath the beds.There was a barn. The builders must have thought the site for a barn was ideal. Between twoswamps with ager inning through the stable. No need to haul water. Of course the idea was faulty.In winter the water froze. When water freezes it expands with force enough to crack and push cementfoundations out of place. The barn would not last the century but it would last the remaining lifespansof Ted and Louisa Freeman. Room enough for a chicken coop and stabling for a few cows and a horseto two. Small. Self sufficient. Survivable.The Freemans set down roots. Roots that took some time to get established becausethe Freemans were Welsh-English. And Erin Township’s Fifth Line was overwhelmingly Scottish.There was no love lost between the English and the Scots. Tensions dating back and beyondRobert the True and William Wallace were very real in this small backwater piece of rural Ontario.Photo of the Freeman farm in the 1930’s as seen from the air.“We were not liked at first.”(Most locals could not understand why anyone would try to eke out a living on 2r acres. AnEnglish family forced by poverty to buy the small rock/swamp parcel.)“They won’t stay long..”“What is worst is that they are English. Odd they did not get better land.”“Must be a reason.”“Wait and see what happens.”Across the dirt road was the farm of Jean Macdonald, nest to her farm on south sidewere Jean and Janet McLean…south of the Freeman farm were the Macecherns, thenthe Kerrs. To the north was a great wedge of forested swamp that had once been part ofthe new Freeman farm. The land had been sold to raise enough money to build thebrick house. Once the new Freeman house had been built the former owners foundthey no longer had a farm. All of this did not bode well.Did the Freeman’s feel they had made a massive mistake leaving a reasonable comfortablelife in the Gardeners House on the Eywood Estate for the near poverty of life in Canada?They must have but I never heard a word of complaint as a boy spending many free hourswith my grandparents.“It did not take lone for us to fit in. A little tension at first.”“But everyone was poor. We made our own entertainmentusing the one room school for musical evenings.”“I played the violin along with Frank.”“Your grandmother played the pump organ and shehad a lovely singing voice.”“In not time at all, we were part of the community. Did not matter thatwe were English.”The Great War began in the same year the Freeman’s bought the farm. To payfor it, Edward Freeman took a job making eplosives in Toronto. Elsie, Frankand his wife Louisa were left to do the farming. With the money earned themortgage was soon paid in full. I am guessing when I say the farm cost $6,000perhaps less than that.From 1906 until their deaths in the 1950’s, Grandma and Granddad kept in close touchwith the resident of Eywood. No complaints. Granddad even successfully encouragedtwo of his brothers and his sister to come to Canada. They did not feel poor although theywere poor. But there was a richness of spirit in them. A great joy of living on their own land.Security of tenure.All the same it was wonderful to hear about the happenings on the Eywood Estate. The gossipof those still ‘in service’. The letters from the Griffiths were a kind of touchstone.Mercifujlly, both Grandma and Grandpa died before the terrible news reached us.The Eywood Estate was gone…the great house had sold everything right down to’the floor boards and doors and windows. All gone. And the final catastrophe wasthe demolition…with the help of explosives I was told…the final demolition of thegreat estate house.IN 1955, this wasalll that remained of Eywood mansion house.Odd fact though. The rest of the estate…the barns, the servants quarters, the dovecote,the park, the lake, the walled gardens…and the head gardeners red brick house…all of theseremain. Mom..Elsie Freeman…was born in that red brick house in 1901.NEXT STORY: PART THREE OF THE EYWOOD STORHYBACK THEN…THE 1940’S(MY BROTHER ERIC AND I DRESSED AS WE DID BACK THEN…ON THE FREEMAN FARM)TODAY…YEAR 2020So here we are in the year 2020…and the 25 acre Freeman farm has survived while thousands ofother family farms have been gobbled up into larger and larger farms with fewer and fewer farmers.The average size of a farm today is over 500 acres.We call our farm a farm but is really not a farm. Our income from the farm isminiscule. So small that we do not pay farm taxes. We pay the much largerproperty tax of non farming rural residents. No matter. The farm has survived.A wooden horse like this would likely have been present in Eywood.NEXT STORY…PART THREE OF EYWOOD. …AS FOUND IN 1960alan skeochmay 2020
On Mar 20, 2020, at 12:08 AM, ALAN SKEOCH <email@example.com> wrote:
I think you should try to get home soon…you
will face quarantine of course but being in Canada
feels so much better than being in the US.
Our leaders know how to lead.
Note that your other air carrier promises to help
get Canadians home. so maybe your tickets are
We can have fun with the ‘Lost in Paradise’ story
but there is an urgent side to it as you know.
We are flying out Sunday the 22nd.
We booked the air tickets and headed to the boat at midnight. Luck was with us. It hadn’t been pulled. Still tied up at a dock. The marina is ridiculously busy because all the Floridians off work are boating. Left a note on the steering wheel “Do not pull.” Up at this ungodly hour (still dark) to go back and add stabilizer to the gas and run it through the motor.
She said …
A second She said …
And a third She said …
Until he reluctantly agreed to try for earlier flights.
One daughter, a former flight attendant, SUGGESTED which flights would actually go and, by 10:30 last night, we were booked on a Sunday flight out of Sarasota.
Motorman thought we would have a better chance with a smaller airport and resulting smaller crowds.
He’s probably right.
So here we are up bright and early ready to get to the boat before 8 o’clock this morning when the Marina opens. Motorman has the stabilizer packed. We will be back from our ride by mid-morning and will request that the boat be put on its trailer before noon.
Then we load it with our gear, tarp it to withstand a hurricane and get on with the rest of the chores to be done before flight time.
View over the pond from our rental condo balcony. Sunrise March 20, almost the first day of Spring!