Saturday, November 04, 2006

Im in! (here!)

I have decided to give NaNoWriMo a shot. Hey, it's no big deal, if I don't do another word it's still about 4000 more than I would have written otherwise. Anyway, this is where I am at, writing. Our shack in the woods.

The whole south side is glass, so the building warms up a treat during the day, though you can see your breath when you first wake up in the morning. Our main source of heat is a wood burner, lit just as darkness falls, we are slowly making our way through the stack of logs piled up by the back wall.

The trees in the quarry provide shade through the summer, but have dropped their leaves to let the warmth of the sun rush in unobstructed through the winter. The longer I live here the more I understand that the architect who's home this was - John Brownrigg, who designed the innovative Yvonne Arnaud Theatre here in Guildford - really did use the location and living things around it as part of the building design. It's such a modern design, I find it hard to reconcile with the fact that John Brownrigg was born in 1911. He lived here up until his death just 4 years ago in 2002.

When asked to describe my home, the expression I most often use is "Think Frank Lloyd Wright meets a scout hut". There's no doubt that the building was done on a budget. The neighbours recollect Brownrigg living on site in a caravan, doing much of the work himself around 1962 - 63. It is a peculiar building, and the genius of the design really only reveals itself when you actually live, daily, with it. Many of the quirks that originally seemed irksome are now emerging as features, details I will miss when I move on, to live somewhere "normal".

The plum sapling he planted over forty years ago was the provider of our superb crop and jam this summer. I wonder whether he imagined future generations, people like us, living in this space, loving it. I am in love with this house, in a way I have never felt about a building before. It's agony to think that it's going to be bulldozed and the quarry banks cleared of the woods, flattened and filled with flats. Not this year, but maybe the year after. This building should be listed. If it were, there is no way we'd afford to live here, but it's not about that any more. I hope to start documenting some of the detail of the house over the next few months. Capturing it, just incase.


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Blogger MB said...

4000. Wow. I'd never find that many words, I'm afraid!

Your house, and its relationship to its surroundings, looks fascinating. I'm glad you intend to document more. It looks like a quirky and wonderful place to be.

04 November, 2006 18:21  
Blogger Stray said...

Ah mb, this is about the only writing project I've undertaken where the target is quantity not quality!

04 November, 2006 19:16  
Blogger Jean said...

What a wonderful place to live. I hope your muse likes it too.

06 November, 2006 12:53  
Blogger Stray said...

Thanks Jean, yeah, it's pretty cool :)

06 November, 2006 17:06  

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