… Before the movers arrive, the last boxes are packed and then packed off, the furniture is wrapped and removed, and I am left, broom in hand, to flick the dust from what will shortly no longer be my house. By this time next Saturday I should have disposed of the rubbish, relinquished the keys, and be London-bound once more.
I’ve loved many things about living in Devon; the past three years have been a great time in my life, and it took half the winter, all of spring and a third of summer for me to decide to leave it behind. It was a growing sense of isolation that did it, a feeling that, for all its natural beauty and the neighbourliness of the natives, I was simply too far away from the people and places that matter most to me. I was feeling distant and disconnected. Being able to stay home and write all day sounds great – and it is – but when the only conversations you partake in for days on end are between your own characters instead of with an actual living breathing human, you can start to feel a bit removed from the world. It turns out that it’s possible to live too much inside your own head.
So I bit the bullet, sold the house, and back to the Smoke I go. I’ll be living in a flat a third the size of this place, job-hunting for the first time in five years (yikes!), learning how to juggle writing with full-time work, and otherwise re-engaging with city life. And the truth is, I’m really looking forward to it. But Westacombe Barn will always have a special place in my heart; I was as close to burnt out as I’ve ever been when I came here, but I rested and refocused, I wrote two novels, I found my muse and recharged my mojo. This is that place, and it is precious.
The forest garden
The sun garden
The sun room, where much of Gemsigns and Binary were written.