Monday, 25 June 2012

Now I know

All right, now I know!

For some time I have been turning over and over in my mind the kind of place I would like to live, and at last it has all fallen into place.

I should explain that this depends on my books suddenly and inexplicably becoming best-sellers and making me two million pounds minimum.

This is my plan (contingent upon that eventuality).

I intend to purchase a (very) large estate with woodlands and streams, near a main road.

As far as possible from the main road my dwelling will be constructed.  That will be a very small brick-built house, just big enough for a door with a window either side.  Inside will be a big ingle-nook fireplace, a bed built with 2 drawers underneath, a small hutch for my food and utensils, my chest of drawers and bookshelves, an armchair for guests, and my nightstand.  I will have a lean-to shed for firewood, and collect rainwater from the roof (which will be slate with a solar panel to charge my phone and computer).  I will have a standpipe for drinking water.  No gas, no mains electricity, no mains water.

Around my little house I will have a walled garden with a henhouse big enough for three hens free to roam in the walled garden, an orchard of trees, meadow flowers and lots and lots of herbs.  I will grow wild roses and honeysuckle against the wall.

A mile or so away on my estate will be the cottages of my workmen.  They will be my ostler/farrier, my game-keeper, my wheelwright, my gardener, my woodsman, my farmer, my general handyman and my shop manager.

There will be no public roads running through my estate, which will include woodland and open meadows for my goats and cows.

On the border between one of the meadows and woods will be Hebe’s cob house that she built for herself, with a green (living) roof, and a well. 

Everyone else in my family will live nearby too, in dwellings of their choice – but NO CARS are allowed on my estate.  Anyone with a car will have to live on the border near the main road, and park their car in the car-park, bordered with stout wooden bollards, near the main entrance.  The Badger will have a large grand house with its own sweeping driveway onto the road, with plenty of garaging for his cars – a classic car, a Toyota Prius, a very fast sports car and anything else he fancies.  He will have his own garden with the kind of weird trees he likes – tall thin conifers, eucalyptus etc – and a simply enormous fishpond.  He can have his own cook and butler and housekeeper.  I will pay their wages for him.

Needless to say, Alice and Hebe will have a range of studios for their work, and a special stoneyard with all the right equipment.  And there will be a playpark with swings and a slide, a climbing frame, a roundabout, a paddling pool and a small boating lake for the Wretched Wretch’s special pleasure.

At the estate entrance will be situated a general grocery store selling organic, ethically sourced, earth-friendly, socially just, minimally packaged, healthy, traditionally made products sourced from small independent family businesses within a 250 mile radius of the estate.  All my shopping will come from there, and this is how I will get it: –

On my estate, as well as a large market garden and a small farm for hay, grain, sheep, cows and goats, will be a large pasture with big shady trees and a field shelter for my Percheron horse and companion donkey.  The horse will be helpful for hauling firewood and also for pulling my personal transport, a simple cart/trap with bench seats, big enough to seat six to eight people.

A couple of times a week, the horseman will get it ready and come by my house to collect me to go to the shop at the estate entrance for my groceries.  The estate will be traversed by a winding road that goes all over it, past the farm and all the fields and the market garden, past the homes of my family members.  Because it winds back and forth all round the estate, the road will be about six miles long, and it will take about an hour and a half for me to ride along it in my horse-drawn cart all the way from my house at one end to the shop at the other end, once you count in all the stops at the houses where the people inside will be dashing about getting a basket ready to drive to the shop.

And so I will live out my days in happiness and peace, writing wonderful novels, with no street lights at night only the stars.  I will have long skirts with large pockets, and a big shady straw hat, and large floppy jumpers I make from the yarn  have spun from the fleece of my sheep.

365 366 Day 177 – Monday June 25th

A really excellent camping toilet of the bucket variety.  Useful and practical.
I preferred something that would tuck away, and also I didn’t really like the shade of grey, and I am not a big fan of plastic.
So my own system now looks like this – with feline approval!


Anonymous said...

Well, Ember, I have already pre-ordered your next book through Amazon and they say that every little helps!

Julie B. said...

Your new home sounds absolutely delightful. I think you should begin writing a sort-of fiction story about the woman who wants to live there, and how it all comes to pass. I would buy that book.

Ember said...

Hooray, Kay! There will be a wall at my grocery store with special plaques in honour of people like you who bothered to buy my books before I was famous :0) x

Julie - there will be a peaceful cabin under some willows by s stream with a boat and a nice nook to sit and fish, for when you and Michael come and stay :0) x

Ganeida said...

Oh Ember! I used to dream of living on an island ~ & now I do! The practacalities of living on an island wear me down; the beauty compensates. I love your dream. I suspect the reality would have flies in the ointment but can I come stay with you & Julie anyway?

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

Now that you have that figured out on to the next thing. Oh I know I could be quite happy in a little cottage with just enough room for two or make that three with the cat! Jack says he wants to live in a cave far away from people. That works too!

Ember said...

Right. This estate is expanding. A cabin near a lake (so she can have a boat and feel at home) for Ganeida, a cave for jack and a dear little house just close by for Michelle . . . this is going to be a fun place to live!

Wimmera said...

amazing that simple and plain living cost that much

Ember said...

:0) Here in the UK we live on a small island with a good climate, excellent health care provision, free education, a good human rights record and a long standing relationship with ex-colonies. It's crowded! So land and accommodation are very, very expensive, and workers' wages are high. I think I have under-estimated the cost actually. I think £2 million might possibly cover the cost of the land I have in mind, but I bet it would cost more like £6 million to start up the project. At the moment I have £64 in my current account and £7 in my savings account, so we have a way to go yet . . .

Buzzfloyd said...

I've got a few bricks in my back garden to start saving for a house...

Ember said...

Bring them along, they will come in handy. Your house is a large one with a shady verandah. It is painted buttercup yellow. The front door opens into a big reception area (I notice there are several wheelie toys there as well as three pairs of muddy boots, a rack of coats and several muddled pairs of sandals lying about.
Off the reception area are: a huge sitting room with a big fireplace; a medium sized study with three computers, each with sturdy chairs and their own desk; a music room; a large kitchen diner with a big island cooking area and a colossal fridge; a large airy shower room and lavatory with a great big beautiful fern growing in the corner on a pedestal. Upstairs you have a big bathroom, five bedrooms (2 ensuite) and a small library.
Outside you have a big garden laid to grass with fruit trees and a laburnum walk.
Your roof is very large and extremely strong, with a long south-facing slope to accommodate the enormous range of photovoltaic panels and solar tubing you are going to need to run all your hot water and enough electricity for all your computer games and fancy cooking.
I hope this will meet your needs.

Buzzfloyd said...

:-D Quickly, let's move in now!

Ember said...

Yes - how many bricks did you say you have ready?

Lynda said...

Hi Ember - I recently finished reading 'The Hour Before Dawn' and was very taken with Madeleine's little cottage (with the hens and herbs...and perhaps a goat) and think I might like one of those.

Could you make room for me too? xx

Ember said...

:0D This is going to be such a fun place to live!

Hawthorne said...

Can I have a stone hut in the middle of the trees please? With a bed with a patchwork quilt and two cats!

Ember said...

Hawthorne, you are booked in! Stone can be chilly. Your hut has a fireplace large enough to use just as it is or fit a woodstove. x

Anonymous said...


I'm with Julie B comment #2; what a fantastic suggestion!! Reading this entry filled me with all the joy that only writers like C. S. Lewis et al can elicit. Beautiful!! If you need a spinner of wool and other fibres (alpaca, angora, silk etc) I would be happy to oblige; also would be happy to cook and bake for the farm shop - biscuits and marmalade all around, plus other treats; preserved lemons/limes - and perhaps a glasshouse for the citrus trees). beehives would be a delightful addition also (though i know nothing whatsoever about beekeeping).

if there's room for one odd Marounite, her husband and labrador I'd be glad to climb aboard. Why do I feel a cooperative/new monastic community/village popping up? In all seriousness though, a fantasmagorical book based upon this dream would be positively delightful!!


whose day you have just made!!!!

Ember said...

Gosh, we shall have a small town by the time we've finished! :0D

Alice Y. said...

I love it! What a beautiful vision. Thanks so much for brightening my day. (I have been trying too hard, and had lost heart a little. I think I need to trust God more and put in only the right amount of effort.)

Ember said...

A wise observation, friend! The way we are trying to live is counter-cultural and getting steadily more so. Trying to go it alone can be tiring and lonely. Just to remember the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Sister), which gradually evaporates the burden.
And Jesus. "Come unto me, ye that labour and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart."
It still holds good. In the resurrection and ascension we know that Christ has come not only to teach His people Himself, but to walk with us and help us too. xxx