Oh it’s strange to be back in London. Just two nights, we had, in Ross on Wye – just on the border of a Wales about to close the doors again. We stayed in The Hill House. It’s one man’s glorious folly and one man’s foolish glory. I adore Duncan. He inhabits the building completely – with his two friendly old bull mastiffs. He’s going to get some chickens and some pigs before too long, or so he plans. It’s a big old building atop the hill, windblown in winter but looking out over Monmouthshire and Wales with a glorious aspect. He doesn’t charge what you’d expect for what you get. We were both delighted at the amount we paid. It might not be to everybody’s taste, because it has actual personality. I doubt Duncan is making much profit from his business, considering the generosity of his welcome. But he’s making whoever stays with him very happy. He’s a kind and good man and he’s working like a train on his own.
We stayed in The Dryad Suite, in a bed that spans the borders of at least two countries. Draped and custom built for the room, it has a warm and comfortable vast mattress. Lou rises early and even she found it easy to just roll over and bury back down as we reset ourselves completely over two nights away. It’s basically the honeymoon suite, empty because of the cove. We got lucky when we booked and he offered it to us. I slept like a log in there last night after a huge bath. I’m not used to the silence or the dark, and we had both in abundance. I feel so rested. Ready for a full day’s writing tomorrow and then some random filming on Friday. Ready for more of the stress of this fucking year.
As I was writing the last paragraph I got a text from one of the Steves that we met there. The representatives of the metropolitan police. I just got a photo of retired Steve on the river bank with a fish almost as big as he is. Yesterday they caught nothing and they were there at first light. Today, clearly, a whopper. I’m glad it worked out. He’ll throw it back of course. Tough lads, the Steves, with a huge amount of heart despite a difficult job. I can see why they keep coming back to Hill House to relax. Any ghosts that try and fuck with them will get arrested.
Because apparently it’s haunted. I didn’t feel anything malevolent. Maybe some mischief. But it draws in the ghost hunters as well – and the pagans and the wiccans. They give a discount for The Children of Artemis, who I had to Google. It’s a witchy society. There’s a little ceremony place in the woods that we found.
They also discount for things Duncan clearly thinks are important – RSPB members for instance. $5 surcharge for Daily Mail readers…
It’s one of those special places that isn’t trying to be anything other than what it is. There’s no way in hell I won’t try and stay there again if I’m in that neck of the woods. And I think I will find myself back that way because there’s great beauty there. There’s ancient land and vast calm. Plus the dinner is yummy.