we first saw it, the house had been empty for ten years or more.
There were many layers of 'improvements', including three
ceilings in the part we now use as the family dining room, and some
wonderful brick-effect wallpaper hidden by some very naff instant wood
panelling. There was also a barn. Picturesque, yes. Practical, not
really. And it was beginning to fall into the road. To prop it up would
have cost 1,000,000 LUF; to knock it down and build a replacement cost
3,000,000 LUF: what the Americans call a 'no-brainer'.
(Don't panic, by the way; at the time a million Luxembourg francs was
about £15,000. In the context of the total costs, not a great
deal to worry about. Much.)
We hadn't owned the
house and land very long when we had an afternoon free and decided to
visit our new property. While we were there, a car drew up. Did we
English, enquired the occupants. Yes, we did (of course). To cut a long
story short, these guys were the nephews of a GI who had been billeted
in our house at the end of December 1944. They had been driving around
with just a photograph (the one at left), trying to identify the house,
which they finally
did on the one afternoon we happened to be there. They were able give
a lot of information about the actions around Christmas 1944, when the
German offensive "Herbstnebel" ("Autumn Mist", known to the
Allies as the "Battle of
the Bulge") was being rolled back.