Here’s a picture of the first, The Boot, one of the most picturesque places we ever lived. It was built in the 1600s and was packed full of exposed and meandering timbers. No floor was level, no wall was straight. And, at its centre, was a huge inglenook fireplace you could sit inside.
Its name has an unusual origin too. Back in 1290, Sir John Schorne was the rector of North Marston, a nearby village. A rector who, when he wasn’t recting, liked nothing better than to stand toe to toe with Satan. He became famous for it, and once conjured the devil into a long boot and imprisoned him there. Below is one of the many pictures commemorating the occasion.
Over the years a cult blossomed and, in 1478, the Pope gave Edward IV permission to move Sir John Schorne’s remains from North Marston to Windsor where it became one of Britain’s foremost pilgrimage sites.
In the mid-80s we left The Boot and moved south to The Malt House. A much bigger former pub with 5 acres of land where we could start growing our own food. During our stay there we planted two long hedges – planting over a thousand one year-old trees. When we left, the hedges were barely four feet high. Last week they were over thirty feet high. So tall, that at first we didn’t notice them – we were looking for a couple of small hedges to see if subsequent owners had kept them or grubbed them up, not the wall of mature trees that flanked the property.
Sometimes it’s good to go home.
Chris Dolley is an English author living in France with a frightening number of animals. His novel – Resonance (Baen) – can be downloaded for free here. More information about his other work can be found on his BVC bookshelf .
International Kittens of Mystery. If you like a laugh and looking at cute kitten pictures this is the book for you. It’s a glance inside the International Kittens of Mystery – the only organisation on the planet with a plan to deal with a giant ball of wool on a collision course with Earth. Forget Bruce Willis and his team of miners. Send for the kitties!