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Rose Cottage Extract from Chapter 2

Rose Cottage was a long, low building made out of large pale stones of an irregular size. The front of the cottage was partly overgrown with the climbing roses that gave it its name and sheltered by a group of large ancient trees. Inside the house almost every wall was covered by Aunt Alice’s collection of paintings. At the top of the cottage was an attic, the floor splattered with a rainbow of paint where a half-finished picture sat on an easel.

Unlike their orderly London home, where everything matched and had a place, Aunt Alice’s belongings were strewn around the house like toys on the nursery floor. Her furniture was an odd assortment of different sized chairs and tables covered in brightly coloured material. Piles of books climbed the walls having long outgrown the rickety bookcase. Strange ornaments made of pottery or glass lined up on the mantelpiece and a large sculpture of a heroic looking knight stood guard next to the front door. At the back of the house was a sloping garden with an untidy vegetable patch and a small seating area surrounded by pots. At the bottom of the garden was a fishpond at the centre of which was a stone sea serpent that spouted water in a feeble trickle from its mouth. A gate in the back fence discovered by Freddie led to the sandy lane through the woods. Here a few other cottages were hidden amongst the trees.

‘We could be here FOREVER and EVER and never run out of places to explore,’ cried Freddie a while later, as he swung on the gate, only to be interrupted by Aunt Alice leaning out of the kitchen window to call them in for lunch. Exploring would have to wait…for now.

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