Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Monday 14 October 2013

Once More With Feeling

It’s strange how things work out. 

It’s always baffled me how the two dorts could be born less than two years apart, but also less than a fortnight apart on the calendar. 

Almost stranger is the fact that the husband’s birthday is the day after the younger dort’s, so it was a pretty busy weekend.

It was lovely to have the dort’s 21st on a Friday, though, and the husband’s birthday on a Saturday.

I’ve spent quite a lot of birthdays with the husband. The first was his seventeenth, and I remember it vividly. I believe I bought him a cheesecloth grandad shirt with my Saturday job money. He looked rather dashing in it, if I remember rightly.

Some things have changed a lot since then, and other things hardly at all. Sometimes the mists of time make everything look rather hazy, and when I look back we seem very distant and very young, At other times it’s as if it was yesterday and everything is crystal clear to me.

Mostly, I don’t feel very different, and certainly not about him, and that’s something else to celebrate!

All this celebrating took place at Knowle Hill, courtesy of the Landmark Trust, my very favourite holiday home specialists. It’s a house of two halves, and we shared it with the dort and her boyfriend on Saturday night and with the dort on Sunday night, although we had it all to ourselves on Friday night.

inside the summer house
It’s two buildings on either side of a courtyard with a cosy summer house on one side, which has very efficient underfloor heating and a lovely stove in the fireplace against the rainy autumn weather we had, with the rest of the house opposite. It’s very comfortable and all the views are good. The outside of the brick building is as pretty as the inside, and the whole is secluded in woodland and gardens, complete with a pretty grotto beneath the house and ponds and cascades close by, which were worth walking to despite the drizzle. 

There’s a calm about the house that seems to consist of more than the sum of its parts. It isn’t just because there are no near neighbours, that there is only a single track down to the house and no roads nearby, that there is no wi-fi connection and only an intermittent mobile phone signal. It isn’t just because there is no television there, or radio, or any risk of being intruded upon, except by the occasional dog walker passing the house on one of the public footpaths. 

the brick cottage across the courtyard
There’s something else about the house that makes it very comfortable, very easy to live in and feel part of very quickly, a home from home. I don’t know what it is, but the atmosphere there is immediately very welcoming. I had no problem kicking off my shoes and curling up in an armchair with the log books, and it soon became clear that everyone feels the same way about Knowle Hill. Almost everyone who wrote a record of his stay in the house talked of eating too much, drinking too much and having a thoroughly relaxed time, and many spoke of return visits. Some even wrote of Knowle Hill as their favourite Landmark, and that is very high praise indeed, considering how wonderful many of the Trust’s buildings are; let’s not forget that Astley Castle won the RIBA Stirling prize for architecture very recently. I even wrote about it in this blog.

The husband and I, and the dort and her boyff had a lovely time over the weekend, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we decided to return too.

We even cooked a slap up roast that we’d promised ourselves to celebrate two birthdays! The meat was locally, organically reared and bought at the highly recommended Chantry Farm shop at King’s Newton, so it was bound to be good; their sausages and bacon made for a couple of pretty fabulous breakfasts too. 

1 comment:

  1. I stayed at Knowle Hill pre-xmas a few years back. We loved the fire, the dogs loved the snow. Only 45 mins from home, but a world away.

    And happy various birthdays!