Moving in to the house at 56 Handside Lane

October 1922 - Monday evening

Handside Lane looking north
Welwyn Garden City Library

Extracts from a letter written by Rita Page to Mireille, her twin sister

Yes I am writing from our little house! We won’t sleep here to-night but hopefully we shall tomorrow. Oh if you could see how wonderful it is! You must come soon. You have no idea how hard we have worked at it since Wed. We are exhausted but proud because we can say that it is almost ready.

Actually you can’t imagine the shambles we had. Three thin blonde men and a huge man, leaning on the little piano which they couldn’t turn in the minute passage which was filled with all our furniture, being squeezed into our sweet-box of a house. The painters were still there with all their scaffolding, and the removal men started to unpack all the boxes of china and glasses. So now all our things are completely mixed up again. As for the furniture, I have the piano, the Breton cupboard, the big bed, a glass cabinet, the little chest of drawers, the writing desk, the two red arm chairs, and perhaps the inlaid table.

You have no idea what fun it’s been arranging everything. I have put the portrait of Maman over the fireplace. I spent the afternoon staining the floor in your bedroom and stairs, and I’ve opened the big trunk from Paris with all the disorder that entailed. I have cleaned up after the painters, who only finished today. The electricity is on, and Fred bought me a spendid new iron this afternoon. I am so happy!

Tomorrow I shall buy some food. To begin with we shall just have breakfast and masses of soup – I mustn’t spoil Fred!

While I am writing I can hear Fred hammering in the kitchen. He helps me so much. Tonight I have stopped, I’m quite exhausted.

Yesterday we were working away in our dirtiest of clothes, when Capt.Care and his strange wife arrived to ask us to come to tea. They are extremely friendly towards us. How I hope that you will be as lucky as us in finding somewhere as friendly to live. I haven’t felt lonely for one minute.

I can hear Fred in the kitchen, he has lost a bit of wood—-“a thousand dashes!”

This page was added on 23/02/2010.

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