I've just realised that, yet again, it is almost two years since my last submission, and I apologise for the length of this post - but the background information is important to the story.
I live on one of the most northerly islands of the United Kingdom, which happens to also be one of the most remote islands off of Scotland. We're actually very much nearer to Norway than we are to the Scottish mainland.
The reason I'm telling you this is because this particular event took place here, in our new home, that we bought from the estate of an elderly woman. Her heirs didn't want the house and I don't blame them as an awful lot of work was needed to 'put it right'. In fact, we're still not completely finished the work that's needed, but we're down to just some decorating to do and the removal of horrible and dangerous polystyrene tiles form the last couple of ceilings.
Right, now on to the events that have been happening for almost three years now. When we first came to look at the house to decide if we would like to live here, the house felt very empty compared to our previous home that seemed to have a lot of spirits (ghosts or whatever your preferred term is to describe them) passing through on their way to who knows where.
We had a good look around but weren't sure we wanted to do all the renovations that needed to be done. We knew that we liked the area where the house is (nearest neighbours about ¼ mile away) and the fact that there were sea views from one side of the house and lovely country views from the other side as well a very big garden with the luxury of trees on two sides (trees are uncommon here - it's said that the Vikings used them all up building ships!).
So, we came for another look and this time bought our dog with us. The dog had a wonderful time running around the garden like she was on a voyage of discovery! Then, we tried to get her to come into the house with us. She would come in the front door, but very gingerly almost like she was sure that something was waiting to eat her and then back out again! Eventually she came in (with a lot of coaxing and nice treats!) and had a look around the rooms and decided they were fine. We were in the kitchen talking about what could be done there and the dog refused point blank to come into the kitchen. No matter how many treats we offered her, or how much we coaxed her, she would still only come in a foot or two before backing out at speed, not even stopping to turn around.
We decided to buy the house and eventually the dog got used to living here as did our cats - although none of them liked the kitchen.
After we moved in the first thing we did was rip out all the wood in the kitchen as it was both damp and infested with woodworm. Still the animals avoided even looking into the kitchen. This is important to remember that there were no floorboards in the kitchen, just a six foot hole, but when I poked my head in to see how things were going, I saw an elderly lady standing in the middle of the floor seemingly looking around the kitchen to see what was going on in there. She noticed me looking through the door and turned around slowly and smiled at me, such a lovely, warm smile as well.
Since the first sighting of her, she was a permanent fixture for the first 18 to 20 months that we lived here, which happened to coincide with the structural work that needed to be done. The thing that seemed to interest her the most was the design of our new kitchen. Every time we did some work such as putting insulation on the walls and putting new joists and floorboards down, she showed up each time we either took a break or finished for the day. She seemed to really like the new kitchen units and cooking range - we saw quite a lot of her when they were going in! We think she approves of the way we've put the kitchen together.
She isn't in the least bit scary and has come to look at all the work we've done on the house apparently taking her time to investigate each piece of work as we do it.
For the first 5 or 6 months we had no idea who she was, but suspected she was the lady who owned the house before us. When I started talking to local people, we discovered that the lady was indeed the previous owner! She became very frail and had to go into a care home for the last couple of years of her life, but we were told that not only was she a lovely person but that she dearly loved both the house and the gardens. We found out that she used to feed the birds and, since we started to do the same, she's been seen in the garden around the places where we feed them, not just by us but by the children of our nearest neighbours who knew her well.
Our dog and our cat seem to have become very friendly towards her, acting like they are communicating with a living person when she is around and they are no longer afraid of the kitchen.
It does seem that as we do more and more work on the house (and now that it's nearly finished), we are seeing less and less of her. I really hope that when we finish the house and the garden that she'll feel able to move on to wherever she wants, maybe to be with her late husband or her parents.