Image: Ben Pentreath
May 01 2011
Royal wedding celebrations aside – and we had quite a celebratory supper in the village hall here on Friday – it has been a weekend of solitude here in Dorset, down in the west of England.
It was with a heavy heart that a few days ago I had written to my friend Chris, who was due to come and stay, asking if he would mind coming down a few weeks later. But I needed to spend a little time alone. For weeks the house has been full to bursting, the visitor book filling up inexorably and my cleaning lady, (Saint) Anne, stringing the washing line with endless piles of sheets and towels.
For 48 hours, then, I’ve been alone – either at the drawing board, or in the garden. There’s a lot on in the office at the moment and these days of utter peace and quiet in Dorset feel vital – somehow, the only time I can find properly to concentrate, for hours on end, on the houses we are designing at the moment. It’s all working out quite well. And then, when drawing gets a bit too much, I spend some time in the vegetable garden (pictured), wondering at this incredible spring while I plant potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, broccoli and Tuscan kale.
It’s a rare thing to spend a day completely alone, talking to no one. I cherish such days. But they make me realise how much I love this house when it is full of friends and laughter too. Life is made richer by contrasts.