STANDING before the little house now brought back floods of memories.
They had always called her Aunty Rose, despite the fact that there was no family connection. She had been a friend of his mother and, during the long school summer holidays, James and Harry had spent many happy hours in and around the cottage.
In those days it had a whitewashed exterior with green window frames and doors, a white 'picket' fence enclosing a small but well-stocked front garden and a thatched roof surrounding a red brick chimney stack from which emanated a constant thin stream of pale blue smoke.
This was always the sure sign Rose was at home and usually cooking or baking something tasty. There was a rear garden which formed the 'working' part of the property and this supplied Rose's needs for the vegetables which she steadfastly refused to buy from the shops.
Now the whitewash was discoloured and peeling and the window frames appeared rotten after years of neglect.
The front door still looked solid but in need of renovation. The 'picket' fence had gone, along with all the garden plants – probably the victims of roaming livestock which now had free access.
The chimney stack looked weathered and in need of pointing and the thatch contained some alarming gaps in its structure. It was a shame to see the place in such a state of disrepair but what else had he expected to find after his years of absence?
He dreaded to think what the inside looked like.
Read entire story at: Derby Telegraph Site
Neal James is the author of four books: 'A Ticket to Tewkesbury', 'Short Stories - Volume One', 'Two Little Dicky Birds' and Threads of Deceit