I am safely ensconced in the family home in deepest, darkest Northamptonshire. It’s the perfect location: a scant hour and a half drive from London, yet still in proper, rolling fields countryside.
I’m writing this in my new quarters, a converted stable on the end of the house which had been used as an office. It’s always had a sofa bed, wall-mounted TV and a basin, so my mother thought it might be nice for me, as this is an extended stay, to have my own self-contained base.
I was a bit dubious: my old bedroom, at the other end of the house, is very lovely, carved out of old attics in the eaves of the house. (The original farmhouse was built in 1710 with just a two room footprint, and is only one room wide. Each generation extended the house lengthways.)
As I am now at one end, beyond the kitchen and domestic offices, I have my own little front door,
which opens onto the boot room and, up a staircase, is a large room, formerly an attic, now furnished with a lovely wooden work bench under the eaves, and my bed in the corner.
Of course, the one thing that makes me utterly thrilled to be up here is that there is wireless access from my bed. (The walls of the house are at least a foot deep in places so wireless only penetrates as far as the kitchen.)
It’s been a beautiful day here; that perfect crisp & warm winter sunshine that comes just before the first frosts. The light was extraordinary around 4pm so, before I succumbed to my jetleg, I scooted around the garden taking some photographs:
The leaded lights in these windows are mostly the original handmade glass from the 18th century, hence the slightly distorted look. For the first fifteen years or so that we lived here, there was absolutely no money for house repairs, and each light was literally held in place by peeling & brown sellotape. When the gales roared in winter, the individual panes would rattle in their lead housings. It sounded as though the house was haunted.