Monday 9 December 2013

Living with History

Galician culture is very old, Galicia was first inhabited by humans during the Middle Palaeolithic period, and it takes its name from the Gallaeci, the Celtic peoples living north of the Douro river during the last millennium BC. Today I finally got round to cleaning up an old knife that was found in the muck on the floor of one of the stables. I managed to get it open and it was clearly well used and had been sharpened repeatedly over many years, and it got me thinking.
Our house is hundreds of years old, we don't know how old but a neighbour has told me it was owned by her extended family for many generations and was the original farmhouse for the big house in the local village.
When we moved in we were surrounded by the tools and equipment of previous generations.
Where we can we are keeping and using them. The wood fired cocina above still heats the kitchen and works well, the chimney running down under the floor and up the back wall. I love the saw horse below (if that is what it is) it is just a bit of well used tree of the right size and shape with various slots and holes cut into it. In the background you can see the two man saw and shaving horse. The hay fork is in the front, all of them have hand made handles and probably blacksmith made metal work. We have scythes, wooden ladders, hay rakes etc. etc. all made by hand.
I think the tool below is to do with potatoes, either earthing up or covering over. It is probably oxen drawn. We also have ploughs and harrows.
One of the star finds was the fabulous and huge wine barrel in a locked shed in a barn. We are still not sure what we will do with it but we might put a cheap litre or two of wine in it to keep it moist and stop it splitting.
We will never be Galician but we live with the previous generations whose spirits are still here. People here are still melded to the earth in a way that has so often been lost in the UK. I grew up in a succession of council houses, my history was all verbal but here history is all around, in the tools I use in the water I drink and the food I eat and the wood that heats me. I feel more alive and part of nature here, than I ever did in the UK. Long may it continue.


  1. Color me green with envy! We looked at a lot of places with neat stuff, but ours doesn´t have much - a couple of keys, an enamelled coffee pot, and a large number of single childrens shoes, which was a little creepy. We do have a pile of old wood we´d like to repurpose in the house if it hasn´t already rotted away by the time we can use it.

    So glad you appreciate those finds.

    1. We do count ourselves very lucky, it feels like we are passing though the life time of the house and I am sure generations to come will be finding our old tat in corners as well.

  2. We have found quite a lot here in France - a huge old barrel, various saws, a cider press and numerous smaller tools ... oh and 2 WWII bombs (not live thank goodness) and a German gun!

    1. Oh I envy the cider press, it is on my list of wants as we have so many apples just going to waste and no pigs to eat them at the moment.

  3. So many old houses here in Scotland have been demolished to stop people using them....It wasn't just the Highlands that had Clearances, they did in the Lowlands too.
    The happy feeling of living in an older building is indescribable. We may only have a "wee but n ben" (two roomed cottage) but it is good.