I’ve finally finished clearing out the eaves. Only took about twenty hours. The ones on the lounge side were less a case of clearing out, more a case of pulling up dozens and dozens of two-inch nails from the crawl-boards covering every inch of the space using a crowbar and claw-hammer. There weren’t nearly as many bucketloads of dust and stone to carry downstairs, but there were a few finds along the way.
Not the old Capstans packets and late-1960s newspaper pages of the kitchen side, though. One find was the bowl of an old clay pipe with WOLSLEV stamped on it, very different in shape to the pipes that tweedy men could still be seen smoking when I was a boy. This is from before cigarettes were invented, and looks like a fairly disposable item. It fits vertically between the thumb and forefinger, and holding it that way gives a sudden urge to start talking like an old sea-dog.
I was able to guess its age from a piece of newspaper nearby, a page of the Grangemouth Gazette dated April 1886, four years after our building dates from. It was lying under 126 years’ worth of soot, and in such bad shape that I didn’t think it was worth rescuing, so threw it away. I regretted that, so when I found another page of similar vintage under the last of the crawl-boards, I dusted it off and photographed it. Here are some stories and advertisements from late-Victorian Scotland, a land of drownings and falls, flax fires, pic-nics and cut-price emigration.
And finally, a photo lying face-down under the edge of an old insulation batt has prompted me to fire up Found one last time.