A humble cottage had been half hidden

behind tall hedges

spindly latched wrought iron gates waist high

these past twenty years

reaching behind two lanes in a triangle

its occupants long gone. 


One day a notice was clipped to the gates,

telling nothing but a reference number. 

This remained for six months.

One day a car was parked inside. 


The time was dawning for change. 

In the other lane from the entrance

a chunk of hedging was removed,

locals became restless,


A busybody from down the lane

was looking in on the neighbours,


She had seen the plans,

a large house with prayer room.

We began to see Sikhs onsite, a digger fuming,

cement lorries blocking entrances



I waved in a friendly manner, smiles. 

Breath was bated as a base went down,

was it to be garage or the prayer room? 

We awaited minarets,

finally bricks, windows, curiosity. 


In double quick time an edifice arose,

up and over door, a funny angle for 

access in a car,

maybe a powered wheel chair I surmised. 

when a new fence with double doors went in 

the dust settled. 


Still the cottage stood

like an old lady isolated.

Trenches dug for mains and services,

the full width of hedging removed in the other lane. 

All the roof slates stacked and stored. 

The English team moved in for the big build

making me think the garage must have been

a prayer room after all sensitively constructed. 


As of now barring rainy days

the ghost of the cottage gone,

another base down too large for access

to the other building.

Just imagine

all this in the crux of two back lanes,

the talk of the town. 





















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Tue 24th Nov 2020 16:34

Hi Graham, your point about the identity of certain dwellings is an interesting one and a salient one in this case too. The lanes around me are very random and have grown out of a sort of squatting from people moved off land requisitioned by the army in Victorian times. Many small abodes were cobbled together then - a few remain and do not satisfy modern needs I suppose. The cottage in the poem qualifies. There is definitely as you surmise an element of parochialism around here, a positive and a negative too. My age qualifies me to be old and wise, but not definitly correct!
Thanks as always for contributing...

Thanks Paul, always complimentary and duly noted. It started as a bit of rant, but then became like a diary, a sombre one!

Thanks Stephen A and Stephen G for your approval.


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Graham Sherwood

Sat 21st Nov 2020 14:42

So much is talked (on the myriad TV house-building programmes) of a houses personality and how it is crucial to complement and not defile what stands originally.

I'm not sure I agree with houses having a personality (perhaps some really old cottages or castles do) but modern architecture doesn't lend itself to whimsy.

Change does happen and houses ,like trees, have a lifespan however long or short. I'm sure it will intrigue the locals what finishes up being built there. I like your reportage style here Ray. Almost the nosey neighbour 😃

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