Houses I Could Live In

24 Jul 09 4 Comments

Complete with swimming pool

When I was a little girl, we used to go on a lot of long car journeys. The adults were not as sympathetic as I felt perhaps they should be and my attempts to make conversation (“Where are we going again?” “Are we almost there yet?”) were largely scorned. I learned to occupy myself by staring out the window and imagining stories the neighbourhoods that we were driving past. I would make up entire histories for the people that we passed and intersect my life with theirs.

“That man walking the dog is named Walter. He is a repair man and last month he came by the house to repair our refrigerator. He told me about his wife, Zelda, who goes to the gym three times a week.”

Quite posh

I’m a grown up now and it shows. Sometimes when Cliff is flying, I stare out of the window of the Saratoga as we fly over some of the most beautiful neighbourhoods that I’ve ever seen. But these days when I look at the houses, I don’t make stories for the occupants.

These days I rewrite my own history and imagine myself living in those wonderful houses – complete with arguments with the neighbours about the damn cement mixer right at my back fence.

Building works

As we fly over the Cotswolds, I find the most amazing houses that must be a joy to live in although I wouldn’t like to think about the upkeep of the gardens. Still, if you can afford a house like that, you can afford a gardener, right?

Island home

And I do feel that a wide selection of barns and sheds and guest houses would increase my quality of living. I don’t play tennis myself but my good friends inform me that there is no such thing as too many tennis courts.

Sprawling grounds

I probably don’t have the right mindset for living in a mansion like one of these, though I sure would like to give it a try. When I was a kid, we had car engines lying around the back yard. Splintered motorcycles leaned against oak trees, just in case there were any useful parts yet to be harvested. A bright orange VW beetle rusted away in the long grass.

If I got a big house like this, I’d probably end up in the same state:

Abandoned junk in the yard

If by some miracle, anyone actually recognises a house in this series, do let me know and I’ll forward a full-size photograph to the owners as a thank you for some exceedingly nice daydreams.

Category: Photography,


  • When I look at houses like these I think about how I’d never be able to keep them clean. Then I remind myself that if I was that rich I’d probably have staff. Then I think about how I’d hate to share my home with employees. Then I think but what if there was a little cottage in the grounds for a dear married couple who could be housekeeper and gardener. Then I think well I’d definitely need a cook. So two cottages then. Then I wonder if I’d ever feel at home in a huge place like that. I wonder if I’d see the children from one end of the day to the next. Then I think that maybe we could have an adult wing and a kiddie wing and then communal areas in the middle.

    That’s normally the point when I look around my own house and really appreciate it.

  • Perhaps some young girl on the ground, looks up and sees your plane, and imagines her own stories.
    I will, indeed, confirm that LittleGirl Sylvia had a wonderful imagination and fortunately it has stayed with her.

  • The last photo (Abandoned junk in the yard) is Salisbury Hall, originally built in the 1600’s. During WWII, the famous de Havilland Mosquito fighter-bomber was developed there in secret. The site now hosts the de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre, where the original Mosquito prototype is on display along with a number of other historic de Havilland aircraft and artifacts.

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