little house

We live in quite a little house, an Edwardian lodge that stands at the entrance to a manor house. It's quirky inside with diamond-leaded windows so hard to clean that the only window cleaner we could persuade to begin slipped away halfway through his first visit, never to be seen again.

We have no hallways; you can walk (or run) in circles throughout the downstairs. And many children do. No upstairs sweep of hallway means you can hop between bedrooms and bathroom. The saving grace is a double height breakfast room that lets in light year round and is where we eat, draw, make. It’s really the outside space that makes this house so special. In front we look onto fields that slope towards an ancient church and at the back, our garden opens onto a lake that is stocked with trout. It’s divided from us by a small stream that we dip rods in and watch the ducks and water birds that make their homes in the greenery. And do a lot of mud poking to see if we can unearth the ferocious crayfish with their rust-coloured claws and furious temper. 

Surrounded by woodland, we’re familiar with foxes, badgers and the deer that delicately pick their way between the thorns of a wild rose to pluck the newly emerged buds. Then there are the birds. Blue tits are our favourites for their perpetually rotating heads and perky, bossy ways but we also enjoy the cry of the buzzards, the dart of the tiny wren that lives at the base of the lavender and the woodpeckers that echo through the woods. All this wildlife thwarts our desire for a lush, flower-filled garden but I’m not sure now that I’d want it any other way. The profusion of wild flowers is more beautiful to me than most cultivated blooms and their fragility in the vase reminds me to appreciate these short seasons while I can.

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