Thursday, 28 July 2011
Then the amazing truth dawned. Nearly six years after we first set eyes on the House With No Name, we'd just spent our first night there. After a ten-hour drive from Calais, we'd arrived the night before to find the tumbledown farmhouse we bought on a whim all that time ago utterly transformed. It now has a kitchen, bathroom with views over the rolling French countryside and a beautifully restored stone staircase. Er, and apart from two beds and some gorgeous Cologne and Cotton linen, no furniture.
But with the middle part of the house habitable, a removal van from the UK will shortly trundle up the overgrown track to deposit a table, chairs, two sofas and a stack of books. What Jamie Briggs and his no-nonsense removal team will make of the House With No Name is anyone's guess. That's if they can even find the place. We couldn't give them a proper address because there isn't one.
But for a few days we've simply enjoyed the space, the peace and the quiet. We've each got a mug, a plate and, very importantly in this part of the world, a corkscrew. The fields are full of sunflowers, the sun's come out after a few stormy days and we're playing Amy Winehouse's stunning Back to Black album on my son's speakers. Like so many people, I'd never realised quite how brilliant she was before.