It would have been around 1994; I was at the time with my second wife and I was working for the maintenance department of a local housing association.
One of the housing association tenants was an elderly gentleman who had been working for some number of years on a solid wood rocking horse. (pictured)
I have sifted through all of my old photos and cannot find one just of the horse itself, so the picture shows my son climbing onboard.
The tenant always gave me a progress report on his project it really was a labour of love. I must have watched the final stages over the period of a year or so, and it was always a talking point whenever I attended to undertake repairs to the property. (always with a fresh pot of tea in hand)
When he announced that he had completed it, I asked him what he was going to do with it. He hadn’t really considered this; so I asked if he would consider selling it to me as a gift for my son; he said he would give it some thought but that it had been such an undertaking over a number of years he felt attached to it.
I asked that if he decided to sell it, he that would at least give me first refusal and he agreed.
Some months later I attended the property to find that the gentleman had died, He was in his eighties and had not been ill. He had died in his sleep.
I immediately wondered about the rocking horse but did not wish to seem insensitive. His wife though brought it up and said she wanted to sell it and that her husband had mentioned I had shown interest in it.
We agreed a price and I returned the next day to pay for it and to collect it.
My son loved it and it took pride of place under the rear living room window. In the photo it was moved temporarily to make way for the Christmas tree.
After some number of months, we started to notice that the living room wall lights would be switched on in the morning when we came downstairs. Obviously the first couple of times we put it down to us forgetting to switch them off but then we made a conscious point of switching them of and confirming to the other that we had.
This continued to happen intermittently. Over the next year or so our son outgrew the rocking horse and we moved it upstairs to our bedroom as an ornamental feature for want of a better phrase.
Shortly after this move; my wife woke me in the night to say that the rocking horse was rocking by itself. I didn’t even bother to look and told her she was dreaming and to get back to sleep.
The following night I woke to the sound of the horse rocking (the rocking mechanism had a distinct squeak to it) as I looked, I could see the figure of the elderly gentleman astride the horse; rocking back and forth.
We felt no threat or menace, but we decided we would sell the horse just in case things potentially escalated (obviously we did not advertise the fact the horse may have been haunted (a bit naughty really) that as they say was that.
I do regret selling the horse and I do hope it has not ended up in a glass case next to Annabelle.