Houses I’ve lived in, houses I write about

I’ve lived in many different houses, flats, semi-detached houses, bungalows, detached houses, rented rooms, bedsits… just about everything except for  high-rise accommodation, and yet I’m not sure I have written about anywhere I have actually lived.

I grew up in Cambridge; my family lived in a two bedroomed ground floor flat with a very large garden. At the back of the flat was the kitchen with a door into the garden, and next to it the sitting room. There was an L-shaped corridor which had my parents bedroom, the lavatory and bathroom, and the bedroom my sister and I shared. None of my characters have lived anywhere like that.

When I was fourteen we moved to a three-bedroomed semi-detached house which was in need of renovation, which my dad mostly did. The front door opened into a generous hall with stairs leading up to the three bedrooms and the bathroom; there was a sitting room and a dining room and a kitchen which led out into the back garden.

When I was sixteen we moved to the west country into a newly built split level house on an estate; three bedrooms, lounge-diner, galley kitchen and separate bathroom and lavatory. I only really lived there for two years because I went away to do my degree, and lived in a series of flats and bedsits and rooms, none of which were very salubrious but some of them have been the basis for similar accommodation in some of my stories.

Then a friend bought a house, a beautiful house, and I lived there for several years; another fried bought it, and it’s lovely to be able to revisit. It has been an indirect inspiration, not just the layout, but the atmosphere of the place.

This was the house in 1975… it hasn’t changed much!

I moved into a flat which I bought with a friend, a modern flat, and although I’ve never written about it – again, it has informed some of the settings in which I’ve settled my characters. I moved to another house, another three bedroomed semi, but this was a very unhappy time of my life – and I definitely haven’t written about that!! Then I bought a bungalow… thinking by this time I would have a single life… little guessing that a couple of years after buying it I would be married, and within another two years I would have children! A very happy place to live for nearly fifteen years!

We moved and lived in a bungalow which had been my parents; we were only there for a few months, but it became the setting for a mysterious in ‘The Double Act’. Now we live in our lovely home… a bit untidy, a bit dusty because we prefer to write and paint… but a happy place. So far it hasn’t featured in anything I’ve written… but maybe, one day!



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