Wednesday, July 26, 2006




I was pleasantly surprised to discover that a derelict property near to our rented country cottage had been owned by a novelist. I had heard the name, but it wasn't until I reurned that I was able to find out more about the writer Sheila Kaye-Smith. She wrote a number of 'well-received' novels set in her native 'Kentish Weald' setting, an area which crosses the borders of Kent and East Sussex. I don't like country novels, which I blame on having to read the whole of Hardy for my degree, but it's partly all that in-fighting over the vicar that puts me off, that and the Agas. As they out of print I probably won't come across one, except in a charity shop.

I saw 'Run for your Life' , my sister's theatre treat, just before we left for Northiam, a farce set in a village in war-time, with a spinster spitting venom at the vicar's wife, an ex-actress. I still shudder when I think of the three years I lived in Lincolnshire with the children small, marooned amongst the cabbages.

It is a pleasant landscape of green-hedged fields and copse-like woodland dotted with white-cowled oast houses .The old house, in whose overgrown gardens we rambled, peering through windows at rusty chandeliers and faded carpets, reminded me of a French chateau on account of the rounded turrets at the back. However, it had been made from extending a pair of conjoined oast-houses. The photo above doesn't show both of them but gives a good general sense of the atmoshere of faded grandeur, including the swimming pool, which added a decadent touch. I found out from the web that the house and grounds were for sale at a £1 million.

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