In the 1930’s Gracie was a regular visitor to Cawsand on the borders of the Devonshire and Cornish coast, near Plymouth. On one visit whilst on tour she saw and fell in love with a ‘little ramshackle cottage’ on Cawsand Bound (a small street bordering the beach) and mentioned it to Archie. He bought it for Gracie as a gift, which touched her deeply, it being the first property she had owned for herself. She carried the key with her everywhere as a reminder of her peaceful ‘holiday home’.
Some time later when she was again in Plymouth, she took her friends in the company for a picnic to Cawsand to see her cottage which she had been decorating and furnishing in her mind. When they got there the cottage was gone, and in it’s place was a bare patch of ground where Gracie’s dream cottage once stood.
Gracie phoned Archie in London and said, ‘Archie, somebody’s pulled my cottage down!’.
‘Yes’ he said, ‘I did. You can’t have a dilapidated old place like that. I’m going to build a modern house with a fine garden ……’
‘No’ said Gracie, ‘no Archie, you don’t understand. Do what you like with it, I don’t want it now.’ To which Archie replied ‘Oh, really Grace’ and hung up.
This only underlined to Gracie the chasm that was growing between her and Archie.
Now, I’ve known this story a long while, and ‘little ramshackle cottage’ and ‘fine garden’ has always put me in mind of a cozy whitewashed dwelling with roses round the door in the middle of an English cottage garden, so imagine my surprise when investigating further, I found the house Gracie saw, and the house Archie built.
Sadly, I’ve found no record of Gracie ever staying in her ‘new un-ramshakled cottage’, if you know differently, please let us know.
(You can still see the fancy brickwork of the boathouse next door in the present day building)