This is a painting that my mother commissioned for a birthday present for daddy in the late 1960s. It was painted by Jack Goddard, who was a pork butcher but a keen amateur artist – he’d have loved to have been a professional artist but needed to earn a living. My sister has the watercolour now and took this photo for me – not from straight on, but if I straightened it up then the house would be askew; or on the huh, as we say in these parts.
What it shows, which the photo heading doesn’t, is the area just to the left of the house, which was basically a big pile of earth. It was planted with trees and shrubs, you can see the tamarisk in the painting, but it was left to itself and it was lovely. We used to scramble all over it and play – it was quite a large area but it’s hard to estimate from memory from all these years ago. 30 feet diameter perhaps – I’m guessing. I don’t know how or why it was constructed, but will guess that it was from the earth removed when the rock garden was constructed. It was maybe 15 or 20 feet high – again, hard to estimate at this remove. There was a smallish underground room constructed inside it, which was apparently the bomb shelter. I looked inside but never went in there because I’d been told not to. My mother said it wasn’t safe and could collapse and, as that was a reasonable explanation, it didn’t occur to me to disobey. I was an obedient child and, because my parents trusted me, they didn’t do anything to block it off. There were some old clay pots in there but I don’t think it was used at all, nothing was ever disturbed.
To the left of the Mound, there was a path that led from the house, past the back door, down to Oulton Broad. It was from by this path, at the bottom of the lawn and next to the rose bed, by a big yew, that was clipped into a big ball about 10 feet wide and tall, that Mr Goddard sat to do his painting.