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A sad time

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A couple of nights ago one of the cottages a couple of miles along the road burnt down. The elderly woman, who lived alone, was inside. There are less than a dozen permanently occupied houses along a seven mile long stretch of single track road and while incidents like this happen all over the country it has really affected the mood of the area.

I did not know her very well. In fact I don’t know any of my neighbours well, a situation I was already wanting to change this year. However I knew her to say hello to, and we’d had a few conversations. When she was younger she used to live in my house with her aunt, who was the estates gamekeeper. If I saw her out in the garden I would stop and pass the time of day, or if I saw her on the road (she was a couple of miles nearer the village than us) I would stop and give her a lift. She didn’t have a car and frequently walked the few miles to the village and back again to collect her pension and get shopping or catch the bus to elsewhere.

The alarm was raised by the local farmer who saw the flames before he went to bed. By the time he got there the house was engulfed in an intense fire. No one knew to start with whether she was in there or not, but most suspected she was. Investigations are ongoing into the cause, but it has come as quite a shock and I am sad that I won’t have the opportunity to speak to her again.


  1. Crow's Avatar
    A sad story, Silvergirl. It's hard (and risky) for old folk living on their own without anyone to look after them, but most that I know would much rather be independent for as long as they can rather than end up in a care home. Did she have family nearby?
  2. Silvergirl's Avatar
    She had no family in the area as far as I'm aware. Her daughter lives in the States.
    She said that when she moved into the cottage her friends thought it was a risky move, but she knew the area and her neighbours helped her cut the grass and cut and stack firewood.
    I worried about how she managed walking several miles to the village, especially in the really bad weather that we had. But I was sure that the folk either side of her were making sure she got there ok.
    She was very independant and would have hated to think of anyone as 'looking after her'
  3. pierre girard's Avatar
    Sad way to go, but it does occur to me that she lived out her last years as and where she wanted to live.
  4. TGB's Avatar
    Yes a sad event, not only to family but to the locals around. Even if she had lived in the town/village, there's no guarantee she'd be alive today. From what you say of her, I suspect it would have driven her nuts to be close by the hords or live in a town.