A Blast from the Past

Posted on November 8th, 2011

Chance Meeting

Thanks to the internet, so much can be found these days at the click of a button. Recently I found myself caught up in a series of email exchanges from a lovely lady who holidayed at Coombe Mill with her Mum, Dad and 2 brothers in 1969 and 1970.  Back then Coombe Mill was just a farm and a farm house with some camping. Linda had looked us up out of curiosity after reminiscing with her father not long before he passed away about their 2 lovely holidays here. I was thrilled when she agreed to me publishing her childhood memories and photos here on the blog! 

Childhood Memories sent to Coombe Mill by Linda Ashcroft

“We stayed at the biggest house you have.. I don’t remember any lodges, maybe they were next on the agenda..”

Millers House – Then and Now!

Back in 1969 Millers House 1969        Millers House Today

“From memory the owners were called Mr and Mrs Lawrence, Mr Lawrence was ill at the time so we felt bad he was kipping in a caravan while we had his house!!”

“I can still smell the kitchen, it had bright yellow vinyl laid across it. All our shopping was there on arrival, Cornish pasties, eggs ,bread, fresh milk from Coombe Mill cows or goats in a big fridge with a ‘fat door’. The Lawrence’s used to come in (while we were out for the day) for the kid’s piano practice or to get something out the freezer in the locked store cupboard, a freezer was rare then. One day my Dad had stayed at the Mill and was having a lie down in the bedroom right at far end where there were 2 bedrooms near a main bath room…Mrs Lawrence came in and was having a bath and she never knew my dad was having a kip…funny!! Dad remained as quite as a mouse, as didn’t want to freak her out!!….like a carry on film eh!!  

The old Bedroom where Linda's parents would have stayed  Now the Twin Bedroom

Such a quirky memory, I can’t quite imagine anything like that today! You will be pleased to hear we have our own house in the heart of the Coombe Mill estate. Camping out in the fields and popping in on our holiday makers to ‘borrow the facilities’ is so not my idea of country living or our guests idea of the perfect holiday. How things change!

Living Room then  Kitchen now!

 “They had couple of kids and they had a horse called ‘OXO. This horse in question managed to get close to the house, there was a full length glass door in the middle hall I think directly opposite the main front door, it started to walk through the door on to the flag stoned floor!”

We still have the original flagstones in the downstairs living room.

Oxo the pony calling in for Breakfast!Back of Millers HouseThe back of Millers House now with patio and garden

“Up stairs the far bedroom (you could only get to it if you walked though another bedroom). from memory, had a wallpapered ceiling/dormer window papered in blue with stars. Beams as well…I slept there and my 2 brothers at the time were frightened of that room. They thought it was’ creepy’. I can remember looking out that window in there and the land was a bit lumpy and almost as level as the first floor window..”

The “creepy bedroom” is now the en suite to the master bedroom and the view from the bathroom window much the same!  

  The Creepy Bedroom, Linda and her parents  En-suite Bathroom (was the creepy bedroom)

“We felt like’ lords of the manor’..My Dad cleaned all the ornaments and brass that was about in Coombe Mill (Millers House), while we were there. I remember a piano and a store cupboard (locked) where they had a freezer . Next door was small house.”  

The small house would have been Water Mill cottage which joins Millers at the corner. Not so small and in fact now makes a spacious cottage for 7! https://www.coombemill.com/cottages/water-mill


“There were goats down by the river. My Dad bathed the wounds around their necks from the collars they wore as they were tethered.”

Definitely no collars or tethering now for our goats. Amazing how the animal side of Coombe Mill is still a feature and the goats are still as popular as ever.

Dad with GoatsChickens still feature then as nowFamily time with the goatsLinda's brother swimming in the river Camel

“A previous holiday maker did not have enough to pay for their petrol home so the Lawrences bought their massive tent off them so they had some cash. We then bought the tent off the Lawrence’s and erected it by the river. It was a magical holiday x 2”

What delightful people the Lawrences sounded. No camping here now I’m afraid, unless you count my children in the garden during summer time, but I can see why Linda would have remembered an event like that! 

Auther the Bear with Linda's baby brother Scott at Coombe

We bought my dad a bear at Tintagel as my dad was celebrating his 40th birthday in 1970. He gave us £5, a lot of money then , to go and find something nice for him. We bought the bear, a huge golden bear with a blue ribbon (well it seemed huge years ago!!) We still have the very bear, he is 41 years now! We used to put ’Arthur‘ (after king Arthur and his round table) ) in my Mums armchair after she died so Dad had company. Happy days, Arthur lives with me now! A constant memory of Coombe Mill.


“I can recall as we left Coombe Mill ,we packed our cases and left them outside over night (don’t ask me why we did this?) When we got home the cases were full of earwigs! Haha so funny! We travelled to Coombe Mill on both occasions in my Dad’s bright yellow campervan with a raised white top. By our 2nd visit in 1970 we had my little baby brother Scott too.”

Such a strange thing to leave the cases out all night, can’t imagine what that was about.

Mum (Dot) and baby Scott by the Campervan    The Ashcroft Camper Van

“My dad died last month and we were talking to him about Coombe Mill, a fond memory.” 


A huge thanks to Linda for sharing her very personal thoughts on her family and their holidays here at Coombe Mill. Linda is now booked to come back and visit us in the Spring with her husband, that really will be a trip down memory lane!