On Saturday, I had the great pleasure of tutoring my ‘Novel in a Day’ course at Assington Mill in Suffolk. This has to be the loveliest place I have ever taught and the rain didn’t put a dampener on things at all even when we walked to the storytelling hut in the drizzle!
Earlier in the week, I dodged the showers to visit Helmingham Hall – home to a moated Elizabethan manor house, a walled garden and a fabulous rose garden. I was in heaven and it reminded me of my book, Three Graces, where my heroine marries a duke and goes to live in his ancestral home, Amberley Court.
I love writing about old houses and beautiful gardens and I had such fun researching Three Graces because it was the perfect excuse to visit lots of stately homes.
Purley Hall in A Weekend with Mr Darcy (based on the sumptuous Ardington House in Oxfordshire) was also a lot of fun to research and I spent many a happy hour walking in the grounds and sitting by the lake.
Back at Mulberry Cottage and our garden is full of hollyhocks – giant spires of flowers shooting skywards, and our little pond is blooming with waterlilies.
We’ve had builders in for over a month now and sometimes there’s no better escape than an English country garden.