My grandparents on Mum’s side were from the Killinchy area originally. Although they moved to Belfast in the 1920s, they still rented a cottage just outside Balloo village, moving once or twice and by the time I was born they were in a cute little thatched cottage on the top of the first hill out of the village.
We spent from two to four months a year from the 1960s through to the early 1980s and it always felt like home. Each summer, we’d basically up sticks and move to the country. Gone was the electricity, gone was the mains water in the kitchen and gone was the indoor loo! Still, it was nice and I managed to get through an awful lot of reading there over the years.
In 1969, we paved the front and as part of that Dad put a little square of plain cement so that I could put a handprint, footprint and some details for posterity, all of which were still readable up to a year or two back. But no more, as we found out when we called by last week as a big weed has grown through the little square. The flush toilet arrived in 1974 and comes with a fetching string vest pattern all around the septic tank courtesy of the vest my Dad was wearing that day. The thatch became increasingly difficult to maintain as the thatchers are dying out and it was replaced with a corregated iron roof sometime in the 1990s I think.
It’s seen better days for sure but is doing pretty well for a cottage that was built over 150 years ago.
However, the flush toilet has now gone as the garden has been bulldozed for the construction of a new bungalow.
The cottage is still there for now, but probably not for a whole lot longer.Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.