Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Christmas Cottage

 Before we get to the main adventure, I want to say a big Goodbye to my beloved henchsnake of evil, Kornholio, whose six-foot long body has slithered it's last slither. Kornholio belonged to one of my rooftopping buddies from back in the day before he was handed over to me around four or five years ago, and has since helped me evade TV licensing, when I pointed out that letters addressed to the "occupier" should be addressed to the person who occupies the home the most, Kornholio. I then informed TV licensing that it was now illegal for me to open any of their mail, as it was addressed to someone other than me, and thus began a series of games in which I playfully exploited loopholes in the law to avoid ever having to pay to sit on my arse and watch stuff that is boring and miserable. Nobody rules if nobody obeys. I haven't paid TV license in years, and neither should anybody. I've done so without negative consequence, and it's all thanks to inspiration from Kornholio, who, after refusing his last meal, died of some unseen snake disease, and shall be missed.

On the day Kornholio died, I was actually on an adventure.
I'd heard an intriguing story of two cottages, one of which was abandoned in the 1970s or 1980s, around Christmas time, but soon a chimney fire caused the other one to also become abandoned, much more recently. Today they stand, one still decorated for the festive season, completely open to anyone who happens to be in the area, which isn't that many people. I had to get public transport to the nearest point I could get to and then walk for two hours. This is well and truly out in the middle of nowhere. And yet I found it to be eerily welcoming. Someone had been here before...

Please remember, I do not disclose location if a place is so easily accessible, nor do I force access, steal or vandalize. This open window is how I found it.

Straight away there were holes in the fire story. For one, there was a suspicious lack of fire damage. In fact it seemed very clean, even for a generic abandoned house, nevermind one damaged by a fire!

Of course, if we go with the story that one house was abandoned comparatively recently, then the cleanliness makes perfect sense. Google Streetview of this area is dated 2011 and shows this particular house deceptively tidy, with a lovely garden, and clothes on a washing line outside. Next door looks pretty run down. Given the festive decor of its interior, I wonder how the owners felt, living next to it. Were they even aware? And if the fire story is bull, why are both houses abandoned? Let's take a closer look. But first we'll explore the clean house.

I did a very brave thing and opened this fridge, to see if anything remained inside. Fortunately it was empty. 

There was a lot of damage done to the walls between the two buildings. It almost looked like an attempt to combine the two, which would indicate that they were owned by the same person, or both were squatted in. Next to the door was a perfect square hole, obviously forced through with no attempt to remove the resulting rubble, but with enough precision to make a perfectly square hole in the wall. Very precise squatting or unfinished professional work?

Through that I could view the Christmas house. But first, I needed to see the rest of this house.

Overall the house had a very floral design and the upstairs bedrooms were very pink. Up there, some damage had been done to the chimney, which did support the fire theory, maybe.

In the ruined chimney sat a fascinating little artifact. 

 Across the hallway was a second bedroom, with no wallpaper, which looked positively ancient! In fact I got the feeling that this house was pretty old, but fixed up very well.

There was a small cellar, where the low light caused my camera to refuse to focus.

The age of the house was given away by the absense of a toilet. This was found in the garden outhouse. Does anyone know when in history we started internalizing our waste depositories?I'm pretty sure it wasn't recent.

In the garden were a few more bits and bobs- a roofless shed, an old birdhouse, and what looks like a shed modified into a rabit hutch.

Moving onto the garden of the next house, I found that this one also had an outhouse, and newspapers, which gave me an aproximation of when this place was last lived in.

Entering into the actual house, I had a very strange feeling about it. Something seemed a little off, but I couldn't quite place what it was. Maybe it was the full surealness of the scene- a lounge still full of Christmas decorations, with newspapers around dated for the early 1980s. This place had seemingly been the way it was longer than I'd even been alive.

And yet the decorations were only in the one room. The kitchen, though still full of discarded items, wasn't very festive. 

 Here in the kitchen I found a mass of cobwebs home to Spiderzilla (click on the picture to see it big). There's a ladybug in that web too, but Spiderzilla looks like it can do better. Spiderzilla looks like a bird killer. Times like this I wish I had a macro lens.

And here in the cupboard right next to Spiderzilla's home there actually was a skeletal bird, which seemed oddly meaningfully placed. I've encountered dead birds before, in places that are sealed up, and the creatures die of starvation and rot away. Christmas House is no such place- anything can escape.

And where's the birds head?

Moving into the actual lounge... this was very surreal.

And placed in front of the TV, again a little too well placed to be coincidence, was Spiderzilla's second victim. 

Spiderzilla also liked whiskey.

Here's an odd shot. From the corner of my eye I almost thought that there was a person sitting in this armchair, but it was just a hat.

This second lounge area was just confusing in its layout. Two televisions, and two armchairs. It's like if a couple wanted to enjoy each others company but had different ideas on what to watch.

Upstairs was fairly morbid. I came across another victim of Spiderzilla, a freakin' Owl, right next to an open window.

To conclude, the Christmas House is bizarre, and I'm leaning towards an opinion that maybe it's partly set up, in much the same way Calcott Hall is continuously rearranged. Everything here seems a little too well laid out, although that doesn't mean the abandonment itself is fake. Like Calcott Hall, the changes have been probably made by other explorers.
The dead birds are a strange added touch though, but even their placement seems a little too convenient and staged.
But of course, I could be talking crazy. As far as fame is concerned, Christmas House is no Calcott Hall. It's off the radar, and in the middle of nowhere. So it makes absolutely no sense for this to be staged. Who is it staged for?

Obviously explorers have come here, as evidenced by the stool in the window.

But whatever the truth is, the Christmas House is certainly an oddity, and if it is genuine, albeit toyed with by explorers, then it's one of the most bizarre places I've ever explored.

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