Photo of Devon Haye House in DorsetI’ve been down in Dorset for the final day’s shoot for the Make it and Mend it book. We were shooting in a beautiful house, Devan Haye, in Sherborne. Hilary and I were a bit dubious about it beforehand, as it was a corrugated iron house – but it was absolutely beautiful and totally fascinating – and some more inspiration for the (other) new book (my one). The house was late Victorian – the anaglypta and tiled floor – bearing the words THE BUNGALOW – in the porch, gave the date away to me – but from the outside it looked almost modern.

Cassie, the owner, told us that it had been a prefabricated flatpack home intended for shipping out to the colonies, but a local pharmacist had bought it and had it sent on the train to Sherborne, instead of to India. It was full of period features including a Grade 2 listed toilet! Needless to say, I wandered around imagining my characters living in it in India. It was one of many such homes sold for under £400 by William Cooper an agricultural merchant in the Old Kent Road. This type of corrugated house was akin to the many churches, halls and chapels you can still see in corrugated iron (“Tin Tabernacles”). When Cassie and her husband bought it, it was infested with rats and more and was ready to fall down. They lavished a fortune and much TLC on restoring it to its glory and it is indeed a beautiful family home – filled with light. It’s believed to be one of only two surviving tin tabernacle homes in the UK, the other being in Scotland. Very inspiring.

Inspired by the trip, I got back on the writing case today and managed to write my 1000 words daily target – so I’m feeling good.

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