Renovating the Kilns

Long-time neighbors Pat and Mary Thompson recall C.S. Lewis fondly. According to Pat, “Lewis was a very large, energetic man with a florid face rather like a farmer's. He had what we call a 'full habit of body.' His speech was always very formal — an almost 18th-century style of diction. But behind that large body and red face, friendliness oozed out.”

Mary described the Lewis household as “shipwrecked... He had animals — so there were dogs' and cats' hair. Books were everywhere. Deep sofas and chairs and tumbled-down furniture. And cobwebs were certainly accepted.”

A close friend of C.S. Lewis, Jean Wakeman, gave us his powder-blue bedroom suite. “It's kind of garish,” she was told.

“Typical of Jack,” Jean replied; “He bought it from a junk dealer about 1920.”

Jean also donated a wardrobe, a sofa, and a chair Lewis had owned. She'd also kept the walking sticks owned by Lewis and his wife Joy during their last days together, suspecting that one day they would be valuable.

“These items are a gift to The Kilns,” Jean said. “I want them to remain here as long as the house is used to preserve the memory of Jack and Joy and their work.”

Relying on Jean's memory, everything was arranged so that it appeared Lewis still lived there. If you squinted, you could almost imagine Jack bursting in, face flushed and pipe blazing after a bracing trudge on Shotover Hill with his dog, Mr. Papworth.

The House Where Jack Wrote (Today’s Christian) - Michael Apichella (1998)

P.S. Jean was left £1,000 in Warnie’s will, and was recently heard to say, “I was there for Joy”. But would say no more.

P.P.S. Since this was written the Kilns has degenerated rather. All of the original furniture has now been removed (sensibly IMHO), but the house is in real need of a good decorator!

1 comment:

Roger R. said...

Going to be away for a fortnight... so maybe no posts for that time... in Auckland, NZ.