The folks at ParaScience share a Back to the Past TWIDDER from the English countryside. (See original post at http://www.parascience.org.uk/articles/time.htm.)
Mrs S had recently moved to Thingwall. Her daughter was about 4 and a half, and she had taken a poorly turn. As it was a fine sunny day, Mrs S decided to take her for a walk in the pushchair, to give her some fresh air and also to have a look at the area which she did not know yet.
She went up Mill Lane, opposite the primary school. The lane she walked down was tarmaced, but the surface soon gave way to cobbles. As she walked along, she noticed a cottage on the right hand side, with an old chap leaning on the gate smoking a pipe. He wore a collarless shirt, and had his sleeves rolled up. Mrs P nodded to acknowledge him, and he nodded back.
After this cottage there was a row of whitewashed cottages with hanging baskets outside. On the left hand side of the lane, there was a circle of “country house” flowers – nasturtiums and other cottage flowers. To one side of the circle of flowers, there was a heap of sandstone. Behind this there was a row of cottages. Alongside these there was a stable block with an archway. Further on there were more cottages, some built of stone and some built of cheap looking brick. As Mrs P walked along, she saw a lady dressed “like Mary Ellen” with a high neck blouse, shawl, and black long skirt. She did not appear to notice Mrs P, as she was hurrying into her house. As Mrs P passed the house she could feel the warmth from the fire in the range inside.
At the end of the lane was a five bar gate, and a little girl was sitting on it. At the time, the program Little House on the Prairie was popular on the television, and Mrs P thought how the child was dressed in a similar fashion, as was popular with children at the time. However, Mrs P noticed that as well as a dress and pinafore, the child was wearing button boots. She thought this was odd, as modern children never went as far as wearing old-fashioned items like this. The little girl gave her a funny look, then jumped off the gate and ran into a cottage. Mrs P walked up to the 5 bar gate, behind which was a grassy slope leading to a meadow. She decided that as this was the end of the lane, she would turn round and take her daughter back home. As she walked back down the lane, the man leaning on his gate was still there, and they both acknowledged each other again with a nod.
Mrs P went home, and described to her mother how she had found the old part of Thingwall and how pretty it was.
A couple of months later, the opportunity arose for Mrs P to take her mother to see the cottages. However, when they arrived, the path was no longer cobbles, it was all tarmac and paving slabs. The cottage where the man had been leaning on the 5 bar gate was now boarded up and almost derelict. The stone cottages had gone, replaced by 2 semi-detached houses. The circle of flowers and the stable block had also vanished. At the end of the lane, the 5 bar gate no longer existed, and down the dip was now an estate of bungalows. Mrs P remarked that whilst houses were built quickly nowadays, there was no way the entire area could have changed so dramatically in just a few months.
About 8 years later, Mrs P was involved in a dispute about a footpath. Her solicitor suggested that she should obtain the 1830 tithe map of the area and check the footpath on that. After some difficulty, due to the lack of dwellings on the map, Mrs P located first Woodchurch church, and then Thingwall village. Mrs P was surprised to find that the buildings on the map exactly matched the buildings she had seen that day when taking her daughter for a walk. The pile of rubble she had noticed was actually the remains of Thingwall Mill which had been destroyed in a hurricane.