Spring Cleaning Fever Hits How Hill

April 5th, 2018

It all started when we decided to repaint the office. How Hill is a busy organisation and the office is a place for planning, eating, working, filing, storing equipment and collecting craft materials. The walls showed at least three different colours and bore the scars of many past fixtures and fittings. Over two hectic days the office was transformed in a frenzy of ruthless de-cluttering, filing, sanding and painting and it is now a serene haven of organisation and productivity. Well, it is at least all the same colour.

Then we moved upstairs…How Hill has operated as an educational centre since 1966 (read up on the history here) and the upstairs storage rooms and loft held treasures and paperwork dating back to this time, and even earlier. Much of the paperwork was unnecessary, fairly dull and only fit for the shredder, but amongst the historic oil bills some gems were unearthed. Gardeners’ diaries from the 1960s revealed that in the past the grounds were tended by five gardeners, today we only have one! Records mention visits from such varied celebrities as Gloria Hunniford and early 90’s pop act Black Box. Boxes and boxes of slides have been found,  some of which we plan to make available to the schools who stay in the house, together with a lightbox slide viewer.

We also found the following lovely poem by Steve Phoenix, originally published in the EDP in 1981, which deserves to be shared again here. A tip – you need to read it out loud and in your best Norfolk accent.

How Hill (Ludham)

That wholly fare t’ perk me up,

To visit owd How Hill,
I allus come in winter, bor,
When all is quiet an’ still,
I come when leaves are orf the trees,
An’ frorst is in the ground,
An’ that marsh wind blow threw ya, bor,
‘Stead o’ goin round.

A lovla plearce is owd How Hill,
So come along a me,
We’ll tearke a pearke around,
Cos there’s plenty here t’see,
Doon’t forget binoculars,
An’ camra’s, gloves an’ coats
And wi’ mud an’ water, an’ some ice,
Yew wear yar welly beoots.

Yew’ll see a titty-totty house,
When many year ago,
There lived the owd eel catcher,
There in’t no-one in it now,
He must o’ bin a little bloke,
Cos them rooms are suffin small,
An’ I reckin that he cracked his skull,
A time or two an all.

Walk a hundred yard, yew’ll see,
The river flowing by,
An’ if you’re lucky yew moight spot,
A bittern in the sky,
An’ look there by the water’s edge,
A croakin’ harnser feeds,
It’s wholly haard t’spot him,
Hidden in them reeds.

If you go accrorst by boat,
To where the reeds are grown,
Yew can see the reedcutter,
A cuttin’ on em down,
An’ while you’re on th’ other side,
Jus’ stand awhile an’ stare,
An’ yew will see what Boardman saw,
When he fust come by here.

Now Boardman wor an arkiteck
That seem a rum ol’ dew,
That now the lovla house he built,
Is used by me an’ yew,
As runnin’ corsts go up an’ up,
They say thas called inflaartion,
Thas nice t’think we still cum here,
Ta help ar education.

An’ when you think about it,
It do seem wholly clear,
Ya laarn things you oon’t laarn at school,
In this here atmosphere.
ya feel as if you’re met ow mother Naature,
Fearce to Fearce,
An’ thas why I think owd How Hill,
Is such a lovela plearce.

Steve Phoenix
January 1981