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Living in a 400 year old Cotwold Cottage

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Walter Wentz and Charlie

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Living in a 400 year old Cotwold Cottage

A friend asked me what it was like living in a 300 year-old house in a Cotswold village. I cannot answer that. I live in a 400-year-old Cotswold Cottage. A 400-year-old Cotswold Cottage has a number of special qualities you will not find in a 30-year-old house in Southern California which is where I come from. First of all, unlike the California house, it cannot stand earthquakes.  The ding-bat California house is very light and somewhat flimsy. Thus it just wiggles and jerks when the earthquakes hit. The only thing that comes down in the quake is the brick chimney which is built much like a Cotswold cottage. My English house would never survive a 3.0 on the Richter Scale. The Cotswold cottage has other advantages.

First of all it impresses Americans, most of whom love olde-worlde buildings You see, my Cottages on the upper part of the High Street in Broadwayhouse was built a couple of centuries before the United States even existed.

When I purchased my house it was, shall we say, a dump.  Thus I removed all the clapped out plumbing, wiring, and heating. Next, my builder tore the plaster off the walls in the front of the house to reveal lovely yellow cotswold stone which he then cleaned and pointed. To 'point' is simply to put fresh mortar between the old stones. It looks terrific. The rest of the house got new pipes, wiring, and central heating.  It was then replastered and repainted, save for the living and dining rooms. New doors were installed. The old shed in back was replaced with a new two-car garage.  The house lost none of it charm, in fact it gained a bit. It did become much more comfortable.

The above story applies to many homes in Broadway. We 'carpetbaggers' (an American expression for outsiders which came out of the Civil War) have done much to maintain the property in the English countryside. We have given the property what the English call 'added value'. In a few cases we have saved it. Of course the real joy of living in an English village is not the house but the people. We have a sense of community here that I have never before experienced.  Fall down in Broadway and somebody will pick you up. That, however, is a tale for another time.

Walt and Charlie


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Living in a 400 year old Cotwold Cottage