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The Sunday Times Home 27 August 2017

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August 27, 2017
How to
deter
spiders 14
The best of
ors
the interiors
sales 16
H cacti took
How
o
over your house ?
a
and the world 18
Keep up the
summer
spir?t
The �,000 bubble dome:
view not included 11
2 August 27, 2017 The Sunday Times
Home
MAKING
MOVES
LONDON SW3
�M
SUFFOLK
�9,500
Newly built St Luke?s House
? on St Luke?s Street, in
Chelsea, a short stroll from
the King?s Road ? is all
about indulgent, tactile,
luxurious interiors. The
detached home has four
bedrooms and four
receptions, and is decked
out with hand-painted
silk wallpaper, leather
panelling, Calacatta Oro
white marble and bespoke
joinery. The owner also
gets a courtyard garden,
a moodily lit bar area with
a pool table, worthy of a
private members? club, and
a swish spa room.
020 7225 0277,
russellsimpson.co.uk
In an English summer,
thoughts turn to village
greens and white picket
fences. Fitting the bill
nicely, this three-bedroom
cottage in Monks Eleigh is
all whitewashed walls and
exposed beams, with the
requisite fence and a prime
view over the green. The
grade II listed house is within
walking distance of the
village shop and pub. For a
treat, stride out to lovely
Lavenham, three miles away:
you?ll have earned a curry at
the excellent Memsaab.
01787 844580,
carterjonas.co.uk
KENT
�9,995
Hythe is a sedate market
town that?s often overlooked
in favour of its bigger, artsier
neighbour, Folkestone.
But the Cinque Port has a
great pebble beach and
promenade, some fabulous
historic homes and miles
of coastal strolling (though
you will have to go to
Folkestone for the train).
Not far from the seafront,
four-bedroom Rose
Cottage is a grade II listed
Georgian villa that?s thought
to have been the harbour
master?s house.
01303 260666,
colebrooksturrock.com
The Sunday Times August 27, 2017 3
�75M
COVER: A CGI RENDERING OF THE DOME (DOMES.IO)
DORSET
It?s all too easy to imagine
soulful Norchard Farm, on
the Golden Cap estate, as
your coastal retreat. Set in
four acres, with sea views,
and surrounded by National
Trust land, the 300-year-old
house is two miles from
Charmouth and five from
Bridport and Lyme Regis.
The interiors have been
expertly remodelled:
Farrow & Ball hues, naturally,
and a marble-adorned
Plain English kitchen. There
are four bedrooms in the
main house and three more
in a converted stone and
flint barn.
01308 422215,
humberts.com
INSIDE THIS WEEK
The Darling Buds of
May bloom again
9
Ditch the 9-5 and
g
make a sea change
12
How to... shop the
antiques fairs
15
DO YOU WANT IT, SIR?
In the 1980s, funnymen Paul
Whitehouse and Harry Enfield inspired
each other on and off the camera,
producing comedy gold, but have they
been encouraging each other on the
home front, too? A few weeks ago,
Enfield, 56, listed his pad in
Buckinghamshire for �25m, and
now Whitehouse, 59, has followed
suit ? he?s flogging his weekend
retreat in Houghton, Hampshire.
The former plasterer, who made
his name on programmes such as
Harry Enfield and Chums and The
Fast Show, is selling the detached
two-storey house for �5m. Set in an
acre in the heart of the Test Valley, it
has four bedrooms, an indoor pool,
outbuildings and gardens that run
down to the River Test. The property
comes with fishing rights, and if you
fancy a project, there?s planning
permission to demolish the house and
replace it with another four-bedroom,
two-storey house. Brilliant!
01264 316000,
myddeltonmajor.co.uk
??
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Once, the prime
minister gave
guests at Chequers
Pol Roger to drink.
Now they get
prosecco. This is
what our nation
has become.
@KateHawkings
Tom Kitchin?s
highs and lilos
22
PLUS Postcard from the Bahamas 4
Going Places: Newmarket 7 Home
Help 14 Interiors 16 Gardening 18
4 August 27, 2017 The Sunday Times
POSTCARD
FROM
THE
BAHAMAS
INDIA HICKS
I
n the summer of 1996,
while staying at my
parents? home on
Eleuthera, in the
Bahamas, I found my way
to neighbouring Harbour Island.
I had been reminded that an
old friend, David, was living in
this remote spot. As the island is
only half a mile wide and
three long, it did not take much
detective work to find him.
Shoeless and suntanned, he was
running a small hotel with a copy
of Joseph Conrad?s An Outcast
of the Islands in one hand and a
bloody mary in the other. Four
months later, I was pregnant.
We bought Hibiscus Hill
virtually unseen. The estate
agent had looked disapprovingly
at me ? unmarried, barefoot
and pregnant. She would not let
us into the house to view it. I had
peered through the windows.
David had toured the gardens.
We both agreed that it felt like
home. Built in the 1950s and later
extended, it seemed to have
?good bones? and many of the
structural features of Caribbean
style, such as verandas and a
high-pitched roof. It had sat
rather forlornly on the market
for some time before we
wandered about the grounds.
The deal was done quickly,
and I assured Mrs Fredricks, the
Swiss owner, that we would
adore the house and fill it with
love and laughter. Little did she
know that we would soon be
bursting at the seams with five
children and too many pets.
The place was in pristine
condition when we arrived, with
lots of apricot-coloured chintz
cushions and thick white carpet
in the bedrooms. We quickly set
to work, laying thick wooden
floorboards over the shiny white
tiles and repainting the outside
a cool white, not a pastel peach,
whereupon the inherited
housekeeper resigned.
As the months rolled into
years, David and I began to
understand that our island life
and decorating sensibility
were a combination of our
traditional British past and our
richly flavoured Caribbean
BRITTAN GOETZ CREATIVE LLC
FOREIGN
CORRESPONDENT
Home Opinion
The former fashion model
India Hicks with her
daughter Domino Flint
Wood at the family home
on Harbour Island
??
It?s one thing to
come on holiday,
another to live here.
The island is proud
of its fire engine,
but nobody knows
where the keys are
present, all mixed up with our
own eccentricities.
On this island, a sand bar in
truth, Hibiscus Hill sits back
from the ocean on high ground.
Fortunately, this means it does
not bear the full brunt of the
wind and salt ? an important
factor when living here all year
round, we later discovered.
Besides the five children
who call this home, we have
a steady stream of large land
crabs that wander through,
and a parade of gentle beetles.
Occasionally, a snake tries to
join us. I run on the sandy beach
with my dogs before sunrise
most mornings, and can hear the
faint cry of cockerels from the
small town beyond the sand
dunes. The smell of the salt air
and casuarina trees floats down
to the water?s edge, and I am
struck by it all: sea, land and sky.
The architecture and the view
from the harbour have hardly
changed in the past 200 years,
although the layers of time are
faintly visible. The churches
and historic wooden cottages
echo the memories of many
generations and the rhythms
of island life.
But beware, it?s one thing to
come here on holiday, quite
another to live here ? three
months of a hurricane season
and a goods boat that often
cannot land. There are power
outages for endless stretches
of time, and one doctor is shared
between several communities.
The island may be proud of its
fire engine, but no one knows
where the keys are.
Of course, buying a property
on Harbour Island now is not so
simple: there is far less choice
and prices have soared. It
remains everything the Bahamas
should be, a small community of
people who say ?good morning?
and ?goodnight? to one another
among frangipani and palm
trees, pretty timber houses
painted bright gelato colours,
white picket fences, crystal-clear
waters and exquisite beaches.
We call this home.
indiahicks.com; @Indiahicksstyle
The Sunday Times August 27, 2017 7
GOING
PLACES
NEWMARKET
ALAMY
Home
Racing is the Suffolk town?s
lifeblood, but you don?t have
to be horse-mad to move
there, says Tim Palmer
NEWMARKET
Stable market
All quiet on the
high street, right.
Below, at the
training ground
Moulton
A14
Cheveley
CAMBRIDGE
Dullingham
Bury
St Edmunds
M11
A11
5 miles
Why it?s hot If you like the nags, there?s
nowhere hotter. With 50 stables, a couple
of racecourses, a museum, auctioneers
and acres of gallops, this Suffolk town is
regarded as the world?s horseracing
centre. It?s big business, with the
highest earner in the neighbourhood
taking home a hefty �5,000 for a day?s
work. (That?s Frankel, the unbeaten
superstar racehorse, who now earns
stud fees of �5,000 a pop.) For lovers
of the sport, the benefits of living here
are obvious: the chance to watch
thoroughbreds training on the
surrounding heaths, easy access to
race meetings and bumping into jockeys
in the queue at Waitrose.
Even if you?re only in Newmarket
because it?s a cheaper alternative to
Cambridge, 15 miles west along the A14,
there are other unexpected benefits.
Most of the land is owned by the Jockey
Club or wealthy stud farms, so the
quietly beautiful countryside is kept
manicured and (generally) protected
from development. There?s enviable
access to it, too. The gallops, where the
racehorses train, are open to the public
daily after 1pm.
VOCAL
LOCAL
When Sharon
Hamilton moved to
Newmarket a dozen
years ago, it was the
obvious choice. She
had a couple of
racecourses in training
and liked to ride out
regularly. Even though
the horses have gone
and she rarely rides
these days, Sharon,
Why it?s not While the lucky few make
a lot of money from the racing game,
most jockeys and stable lads don?t,
which means there?s a divide between
rich and poor, and not a lot in between.
Lord Derby?s plan to build 400 houses
at Hatchfield Farm has stirred up fierce
opposition from the racing community,
worried about how the extra traffic will
affect the many four-legged road users. It
has bounced around the various appeals
processes since 2009; a final decision is
promised within six months.
Education, education, education
There?s plenty of choice at primary
level, with several schools rated good
by Ofsted. The local secondary,
Newmarket Academy ? formerly known
as Newmarket College ? is also judged
good. Many parents dispatch their
offspring to schools in Cambridge,
especially after GCSEs, when Hills Road
Sixth Form College is a big draw.
46, who works in
marketing, still gets a
thrill from living in the
thick of the racing
capital of the world.
?If you love horses,
it?s the place to see
them in their working
environment,? she says.
?It can be frustrating
if you?re sitting in
traffic, waiting for a big
string to cross the road,
but to watch them
training at Limekilns
on a sunny morning is
an amazing sight.?
She?s also delighted
with the way the
town has improved in
the past few years.
?There has been a drive
to move Newmarket
beyond betting shops
and hairdressers. Now
there?s a lot more to do,
with a lot of different
places to go out.?
�25M
�0,000
Get connected The A11 and A14 are on
the doorstep, so it?s a handy crossroads
for anyone heading to Cambridge or the
M11, for Stansted and the capital. Trains
to Cambridge take a handy 25 minutes;
it?s an hour to Ipswich in the other
direction, and Norwich is 90 minutes
away by train or car. Superfast broadband
is available ? up to 200Mbps ? but there
are gaps in the coverage.
Be seen in Check out the Tack Room,
at Palace House, for good-value lunches
and classy evening dining. The Pantry
is a locally minded deli and restaurant.
If you want to rub shoulders with the
racing crowd, head to the bar at the
Bedford Lodge Hotel, where you?ll also
find the town?s most upmarket fine dining
? a venison fillet costs � ? or the
Packhorse Inn, in nearby Moulton, the
area?s gastropub of choice. Newmarket
Nights concerts at the racecourse are a
draw. Still to come this year are Culture
Club, Texas, Olly Murs and Chase & Status.
Buy in Near the town centre, Bury Road,
Fordham Road and the Avenue offer the
biggest, smartest properties. Expect to pay
�0,000 for a detached house, �0,000
for a four-bedroom family home or
�0,000 for a terraced two-bedder.
The most prestigious addresses are to
be found in villages such as Moulton,
Cheveley or Dullingham, which has a
station. Prices are higher, and this is
where you can go the whole equestrian
hog. If you?ve got more than � to spend,
you could bag a couple of acres, perhaps
with a paddock and a stable or two.
Why we love it It?s the town with
maximum horsepower.
CROCKFORDS ROAD
With six bedrooms and an annexe with a games
room, there?s no shortage of space at Windermere,
an Edwardian house set in half an acre of secluded
grounds. Cambridge is 15 miles away, and it?s a
50-minute drive to Stansted airport.
01638 662231, jackson-stops.co.uk
FORDHAM ROAD
Want to be near the racing action? This Victorian
former coach house looks out over stud paddocks.
It has four bedrooms, a conservatory and a sitting
room with a vaulted ceiling. Shops and schools are
a short jaunt away.
01638 663228, cheffins.co.uk
FIND YOUR
BEST PLACE
Check out our Best Places to
Live 2017 at thesundaytimes.
co.uk/bestplaces. And tell us
where else we should visit
@TheSTHome
The Sunday Times August 27, 2017 9
PETER TARRY; REX
Home Living
D
escribed by one critic as
?Enid Blyton for grown-ups?,
The Darling Buds of May
brightened up recession-hit
Britain in the early 1990s. Set
on a Kent farm in the 1950s, and adapted
from the bucolic novels by HE Bates, the
ITV series about the rural escapades of
the Larkin family mixed rose-tinted
nostalgia ? oast houses, strawberry
picking, rowboats ? with a libertarian
streak. David Jason?s character, Pop
Larkin, was a tax-dodging, free-loving
hedonist. Life was ?perfick?, according
to his catchphrase: this was comfort TV
that drew 16m viewers.
One of them was Simon Coulson, now
a millionaire entrepreneur, but back then
a wage slave for BT. ?I?d go to my nan?s
on a Sunday evening, she?d cook me a
roast dinner and we would watch it,? says
Coulson, 46, who grew up in Meopham,
Kent. ?I?d be wishing I was born in her
era. Here?s this family living in the
countryside, no one works, they live off
the land, but they have all the trappings,
from a fridge-freezer to the latest TV. I
thought, ?What a nice life.? And Catherine
Zeta-Jones was stunning.
?It was the opposite of my life. I
commuted two hours to London, to a job
I didn?t enjoy. I related to the Charley
character, a tax inspector who wore a suit,
but gets sucked into this country life,
marries Zeta-Jones and never goes back
to the office. I bought the series on VHS,
and in my twenties and thirties, I would
watch it. It was my guilty pleasure.?
Coulson?s life of drudgery reached its
nadir in 2003, when he collapsed from
exhaustion at King?s Cross station. He took
redundancy from BT, then fell into the
lucrative world of internet marketing by
accident. Thinking property in Bulgaria
was a sure thing, as the country was about
to join the EU, he invested �600. So
many people then asked him how to do it,
he wrote a property guide on the subject
and sold it as an ebook for � a pop.
Before long, he was earning �,000
a month in sales. Ebooks on buying in
Croatia, Turkey and Slovenia followed,
then a guide to acquiring empty
properties by adverse possession, then
PERFICK
BREAK
Simon Coulson loved The Darling Buds of May so
much that when he made his fortune, he bought
the farm where it was filmed. By Hugh Graham
Buss Farm, in Kent ? now renamed
Darling Buds Farm ? was the set for
the nostalgic 1990s TV show
other ?information products?: how to
become a plumber, electrician, mechanic;
how to grow bonsai trees. He was raking
in so much cash, he became a star of the
seminar circuit, a British Tony Robbins,
culminating in a gig at the O2 Arena, in
east London.
He now runs the Internet Business
School, as well as the Songwriting
Academy, and moonlights with Coolplay,
a Coldplay tribute band who perform to
crowds of 40,000. His ventures have
generated �m, as outlined in his new
autobiography/motivational book,
Interpreneur: ?Believe that dreams can
come true, because if they can for me,
they can for you.?
Yet his biggest thrill was not sharing a
stage with Bill Clinton or pow-wowing
with Richard Branson on Necker Island.
It was buying Buss Farm, in Kent, where
his favourite TV show was filmed. After
paying � for the property, 20 minutes?
drive from Ashford, in 2012, he spent �
more restoring the dilapidated farmhouse,
Tudor barn, oast house and cart lodge
in a year. Ever the entrepreneur, he
renamed it Darling Buds Farm and started
a holiday-let business, which he?s now
expanded into a wedding venue. He lives
on site and has done up many of the
rooms with 1950s touches: a farmhouse
kitchen with enamelware breadboxes, a
lounge with retro drinks cabinets and
galvanised buckets outside.
He?s painted the window frames yellow,
just like on the TV show. He?s stocked the
grounds with ducks, geese, chickens,
sheep, a donkey and llamas. When couples
book it for weddings, they can hire the
vintage yellow Rolls-Royce that Pop Larkin
drove on the show. (Jason recently turned
up to film for a TV show about his life,
airing today and tomorrow on UK Gold.)
?I admired his character,? Coulson
says. ?He was a wheeler-dealer, buying
old army surplus and selling it on, or
?
10 August 27, 2017 The Sunday Times
? buying a house and selling it the same
day for a profit. When I was at school, I
used to buy and sell cars, trading up, and I
DJed at a mobile disco. Later I used to buy
stuff wholesale ? dusters, light bulbs, salt
and pepper pots ? and sell it at boot sales.?
The farm isn?t a cash cow ? he lets 13
bedrooms and estimates it grosses less
than �0,000 a year, enough to pay for
itself. (He has a staff of three.) Rather, it?s
a passion. His perfect day is sitting in the
garden, watching birds and walking his
three border collies ? one is called Zeta.
He?s on the lookout for a real-life Mariette
to complete his Darling Buds fantasy; he
has a son with a previous partner.
What advice would the ?interpreneur?
give to would-be holiday-let owners?
?Don?t put all your eggs in one basket
with one cottage company. I signed an
exclusive contract with one for a year, but
I ended up selling more weeks than it did,
and each time I had to pay commission.
After a year, I renewed, but not on an
exclusive basis ? 30% of our business now
comes from our Facebook page.?
Despite splashing out �000 on
Egyptian-cotton linen, Coulson soon
worked out it was cheaper to hire bedding
from an industrial company than to do all
the washing and ironing himself. And he
advises owners to go with their gut, not
the lowest price, when hiring builders.
?My main contractor gave a detailed
schedule of works, with every item priced.
Each month, we?d look at the schedule.
If something was 60% done, he?d charge
60%. If something was fully done, I?d pay
fully. It was transparent.
?Others were cheaper, but their quotes
were ambiguous. And when you screw
PIC CREDIT HERE PLEASE
Home Living
BUDDING HOTSPOTS
Britain?s most popular destinations
for holiday rentals for summer 2017*
1 Tattershall, Lincolnshire
2 Newquay, Cornwall
3 Whitby, North Yorkshire
4 York
5 Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
6 Bournemouth, Dorset
7 Brighton
8 Filey, North Yorkshire
9 Glasgow
10 St Ives, Cornwall
11 Tenby, Pembrokeshire
12 Inverness
13 Portstewart, Co Londonderry
14 Scarborough, North Yorkshire
15 Weymouth, Dorset
*excludes London and Edinburgh
Source: holidaylettings.co.uk
Larkin around
Simon Coulson,
an internet
millionaire, right,
lives on site and
runs the farm as
a holiday let
business and
wedding venue
The Sunday Times August 27, 2017 11
someone down to the lowest price, they
won?t be motivated.
?It?s also important to pay on time. So
many businesses take forever to pay
people. If someone gives me an invoice,
I will do it there and then, so they will
want to work for me again.?
Coulson has made his fortune spotting
gaps in the market and future trends, then
flogging them online. So what?s on the
horizon? ?I wouldn?t be piling my money
into property right now. Buy-to-let has
had a good run, but it?s coming to an end.
Student accommodation, I think, is
doomed, too. People are promised great
yields, but the number going to university
is going to fall massively in the next
decade. The pace of change is overtaking
the length of a university course.?
The future, he says, is tech: drones,
driverless cars, robotic bricklayers and
surgeons, with an accompanying growth
in the gaming, leisure and holiday
industries. All of which will help business
at Darling Buds Farm ? he?s putting in a
planning application to build more guest
cottages in the 35 acres. ?This TV show
was the Downton Abbey of its time. I knew
there were others like me, who had fond
memories. I can still hear the theme song
when I turn into the drive.
?Nothing happens by accident. Your
subconscious is driving you and setting
your direction. My favourite toy car as
a kid was a black Range Rover, and I
eventually got one. Owning this place was
in my subconscious. It?s about the power
of intention, putting stuff out there. It can
be self-fulfilling.?
darlingbudsfarm.co.uk; interpreneur.com
LIFE
IN THE
BUBBLE
First came the shed, then the chalet, the
lodge, the rustic cabin, the shepherd?s
hut ? we all know who bought one of
those earlier this summer ? and now
the Dome. The blue-sky brainchild of
Michael Beare, 33, a former City banker,
the Dome is your chance to live, literally,
in your own bubble. The pressurised
PVC chamber has a diameter of 16ft;
with an entrance hall and an ensuite with
a rolltop bath, perfect for stargazing,
there?s 215 sq ft of living space.
Beare has developed seven bubbles
that are dotted around the woods of Finn
Lough, the holiday resort near Enniskillen,
in Co Fermanagh, where he grew up, and
which he and his sister now run. In the
wake of the recession, and down to just
�,000, he gambled everything on
creating a blow-up prototype with a
Barcelona-based company specialising
in inflatables for bouncy castles.
?Everyone thought it was mad, especially
my parents,? he says.
Tempted? The Dome can qualify as
a temporary structure, and must be
built on a solid base: a deck, concrete
or even a well-drained lawn. You?ll need
an electrical point and, if you want the
ensuite, permissions and plumbing.
The four-poster bed adds a further
touch of luxury ? and, should the
bubble deflate, it will offer an extra layer
of protection.
domes.io; finnlough.com
12 August 27, 2017 The Sunday Times
LIVE YOUR
JAMES RAM
Home Moving
DREAM
We all think about ditching the 9-5 to start
afresh somewhere new. Cally Law talks to
three women who did just that ? and finds
out if the reality matched the fantasy
I
t took an adventure on
a paradise island for
Willow Reed to realise
that what she wanted
was back in England ?
the life she had left behind
when she went in search of
peace and fulfilment.
Her journey began in 2013,
after the death of her mother.
Then in her mid-thirties,
Willow had already bought and
turned around a run-down pub,
the Plough Inn, in Taunton,
Somerset, ?and it was a wild
success?. But after her mother
died, so did her enthusiasm.
?I came back to the pub only
to realise that it was, literally,
a public house,? she recalls.
?People were there to have a
good time, which is difficult
when you are grief-stricken.?
Looking for an escape, she
leased the pub to tenants
and spent Christmas Day on
the internet, searching for
somewhere to go. ?I simply had
to get away, so, armed with a
loan against the pub, I came
across a deserted island in
the Caribbean. It offered all
I could dream of ? solitude,
nature, incredible seascapes
and a new culture to submerge
myself in.?
In January 2014, she bought
her paradise island, a cay off
the coast of Belize. ?I had been
to Belize ? formerly British
Willow Reed left
Somerset to live
on a deserted
island off the
coast of Belize.
Three years later,
she decided to
return home,
and her cay is
on the market
for �0,000
Honduras ? when I visited
Central America. My Spanish
is appalling and Belize is
English-speaking. I fell in love
with the country, so, when I
saw the ad, I flew to Cancun and
took the overnight bus to Belize
City, then a little ?chicken bus?
to Hopkins, a coastal village.?
The vendor?s agent took her
by boat to the island. ?On the
way over, we saw two dolphins,
a mother jumping in one
direction and a baby dolphin
jumping the other way. I took it
as an epiphany and knew that,
whatever happened, I was
going to go forward.?
They pulled up on the beach
and did the deal there and then.
?I had borrowed �0,000 from
the bank, and that?s what I paid
for 3.98 acres of mangrove
island. With cash from the
sale of my mother?s house, I
bought a boat and a motor, built
a jetty and installed solar and
rain-collection systems.?
Willow also shored up the
buildings ? a three-bedroom
wooden house and a cabin. It?s
a bit rustic, but there?s a fridge
and an outside shower. The
main event, however, is the sea:
?The snorkelling is incredible
and the sunsets are fabulous.?
The plan was simple, the
reality less so. ?I wanted an
alternative life, away from
society, and to experience
simple living away from the
pressures of the modern world.
I threw myself into it, fishing for
food, swimming every day and
letting mother nature do her
thing. I had a Man Friday by the
name of Captain Breeze, who
lived on the cay and taught me
what I needed to know. It was
a wonderful adventure.?
Yet it was also an uphill
struggle on a tight budget. ?I
was forever going back and
forth to collect volunteers.
They came from all over the
world through Workaway.info
and Helpx.net, swapping
labour for accommodation. I
needed help taking seaweed
and coral to the swampy centre,
which I?d been filling in to plant
papaya trees, tomatoes and
coconut palms. But they were
fresh out of university, and I got
fed up chasing them. It also
occurred to me that the job
needed mechanical diggers.
All I had was a wheelbarrow.?
By then, Willow was 39, and
she didn?t want to end her
thirties sitting on a desert island
hoping to meet someone. She
also needed to make money to
reinvest in the cay. Eventually,
she realised she needed to be
back among her own tribe and
returned to the Plough, full of
appreciation for her experience.
It has been cathartic, she says,
?like pressing the reset button
on my life? ? but she?s happy
to be home.
Willow?s cay is on the market
for �0,000 through Kieran
Weisburg at McCloy Legal;
mccloylegal.com
Lucy Ward had an enviable life,
working for internationally
renowned art galleries and
living in groovy Hackney, east
London, but she gave it up to
flee empty-handed to Cornwall.
?I was finding the capital
exhausting, high-pressured and
stressful,? she says. ?I began to
feel a lack of love for this thing
I adored. I was working with art
patrons and fundraising, which
moved me away from a more
hands-on role, working with
artists. I was 32 and completely
wiped out. I realised I needed
to take time out.?
Two years on, she?s never
been happier. ?I was lucky ?
a friend?s mum offered me a
cheap place to stay in north
Cornwall for a month.? Lucy
didn?t waste a minute. ?It was
an incredible opportunity. I had
saved, but I didn?t have much
money, which galvanised me
to put myself out there and
make those calls. There were
serendipitous meetings with
interesting people, enough to
make me think it might be
possible to start a new life,
working on my own time,
picking from all the skills I?d
learnt along the way.?
Originally from Cambridge,
Lucy had a fine art degree
from Falmouth University. ?I
imagined that I?d be an artist,
but when I plunged into the
real world, I realised that was
quite difficult.? Instead, when
she was 22, she got an
internship with an art gallery
in Australia. ?After a week,
the gallery manager left, so I
filled in and ran it for a year.
At 22, I was running a small
commercial gallery in
ad
The Sunday Times August 27, 2017 13
Going coastal
Lucy Ward, left,
quit the London
rat race to start
a new life in
Cornwall.
American Mary
Manley, right,
moved to
Northumberland
for love, then set
up a successful
second-hand
bookshop there
Melbourne, learning on the job
? the best possible training.?
After that, she moved to
London, where she spent five
years working with established
figurative artists at the Mall
Galleries. Then she had a
two-year stint at Parasol Unit,
a not-for-profit foundation for
contemporary art, set up to
support emerging artists. She
followed that with a job at the
ICA, in central London.
In Cornwall, with its
flourishing art scene, all this
went down well. ?There?s a
new flurry of creative people
??
I wanted to live an
alternative life, away
from society, and
experience simple
living away from the
pressures of the
modern world
realising you don?t have to live
in London,? Lucy says. ?More
young people are moving back
or coming to settle because it is
affordable and inspiring. People
are keen to help you out.?
Now she?s an art consultant.
?I help artists, galleries and
creative people with anything.
Jethro Jackson is a successful
painter and savvy businessman
who needed help with
marketing, social media and
putting together a coffee-table
monograph-type book. We
also made a short film of him
in the studio.? In addition,
she works a couple of days a
week for Anima-Mundi, a
contemporary gallery in St Ives,
and fundraises for theatre and
dance companies.
At first Lucy lived in the tiny
village of St Mabyn, but she
soon moved to the seaside
town of Newquay. ?I missed a
bit of busy-ness. Hackney to
St Mabyn was quite a jump,
and I wanted to be able to walk
to the sea. I moved here slightly
by accident, but it was a happy
accident, because I love it.?
Lucy found a beautiful
two-bedroom flat in an old
Victorian house that costs
�0 a month to rent, and
shares it with a friend. ?In
Hackney, I was paying �0
a month for a room in a
four-bedroom shared house,?
she says. She?s found more
than just a new way of life.
?I arrived a single woman, and
my next-door neighbour is
now my boyfriend. He fixed my
bicycle, I invited him to my
birthday party, and that was a
year and a half ago. He is
another escapee.?
She says she feels like a
completely different person. ?I
am happy, though not carefree,
because I?m self-employed and
there?s a pressure to earn
money. And I?ve made some
wonderful friends ? without
that, it would be hard for me to
stay. I am earning less than I
was, but I wanted to forge my
own path. And I swim in the sea
every morning.? You can?t do
that in London.
lucyward-arts.com
It would be good to report that
a love of old books brought the
American Mary Manley to
the market town of Alnwick,
in Northumberland, but it was
nothing of the sort. It was there
that she launched what has
become one of the largest
second-hand book emporiums
in Europe, but the prompt was
a scribbled note chucked in her
direction on a flight.
The missive was brief: raise
your hand if you?d like to talk.
Intrigued, she raised a hand,
then Stuart Manley moved over
for a chat. They married three
years later and she found
herself in Northumberland,
aged about 50, knowing
nobody and with no job. Stuart
had an ailing business in the
town?s former train station,
manufacturing things for model
railways. Money was tight.
?As I tell people often,
there?s nothing more inspiring
than an overdraft,? says Mary,
who had worked in an
antiquarian bookshop in
Greenwich Village, New York,
before coming to the UK.
?The only thing that I knew
anything about was books,
and I thought maybe I could
start a second-hand bookshop
and have a little barter system.
Stuart liked the idea and said,
?Let?s give it a go.??
That was 26 years ago, so she
could be in her seventies now.
(?If you ask me my age, I just
lie,? she says.) Barter Books
moved into the old station and
began a book-swapping
operation: customers bring in
volumes and are given credit to
spend in the shop. At first they
dealt only in paperbacks ?
cheaper and smaller ? but as
the shop expanded further
into the building, they moved
into hardbacks and the
antiquarian market.
They are firm about what
they will take: no textbooks,
nothing from Book of the
Month Club, and everything in
good condition unless it?s
special ? they pay cash in that
case, or twice as much in barter
value. The cheapest books on
the shelves are 30p Mills &
Boons; the most expensive right
now is a Kelmscott Chaucer,
priced at �,000.
The shop gets thousands of
visitors, attracted by the books
and the quirky eccentricity of
a place with murals of former
railway employees and authors,
original tiles, a light-up art
installation and model trains
that chug round the shelves.
It?s as much a tourist attraction
as a bookshop.
?Stuart is marvellous at
dealing with cash flow ? you
have to be canny or you don?t
survive ? but he combines it
with ethics,? Mary says.
?There?s no hanky-panky
here. Some of our books are
priced too high, but others
are priced too low. And we are
good employers. In other
words, when we die, we will go
to heaven.?
Barter Books employs 50-60
people, not all full-time, and
stocks about 350,000 books.
Mary and Stuart are in the shop
every day, and they even live on
site, renting the former station
master?s house. ?You get up and
go to work, seven days a week.
Two big upshots: we don?t have
to work by committee, and
that?s been heaven, and we can
take off when we want to.?
Stuart, 74, was the one who
found the thing they are most
famous for ? apart from the
books. Back in 2000, he was
sifting through a box of
hardbacks bought at auction
when he saw something folded
at the bottom. ?I opened it out,
and I thought, ?Wow. That?s
quite something.? I showed it to
Mary and she agreed. So we
framed it and put it up on the
bookshop wall. And that?s
where it all started.?
What he had found was an
original Keep Calm and Carry
On poster, printed 60 years
earlier in case of German
invasion, then forgotten. They
reproduced it, and so, soon,
did others. Then everybody
else. ?It?s been massive, but we
haven?t got rich on it, because
it?s out of copyright,? Mary says.
This business is not about
making a fortune. ?I am
extremely grateful to
Northumberland because I?ve
found something I can do that
I really love,? she says. ?It finally
came together in the job I
wanted all along ? creating,
with Stuart, Barter Books. I
can?t imagine many places on
this earth with a site so open to
what I like. And the weather is
good for bookshops, too ? ?Just
get us out of this rain.??
barterbooks.co.uk
14 August 27, 2017 The Sunday Times
ILLUSTRATOR: MICHAEL DRIVER
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READERS?
CLINIC
HOW DO I DETER
SPIDERS?
N Reed, east London
Heather Renfree, via email
Collect conkers, place in
areas prone to spiders. Or
try No More Spiders spray.
Vivien Lewis, via email
Put one or two conkers
in corners, drawers,
cupboards and shelves.
Replace every year.
Pat Wadsworth, via email
Horse chestnuts (conker
variety), placed near spider
access points. The season
to collect is almost here.
Clare Maceachen, via email
Conkers on window sills.
Peppermint spray is also a
supposed deterrent.
Jen Ashbridge, via email
Conkers by outside doors
and places they sneak in.
My house is arachnid-free.
Future question How do
I clean the inside of glass
salt and pepper mills?
Send your tips, tricks and
questions to homehelp@
sunday-times.co.uk
QUESTION OF
THE WEEK
SHOULD I BUY A
TV MIRROR?
Q
I am a widow, and
wish to replace the
large-screen TV
my husband loved
with a smaller one
inside a mirror,
to hang above
the fireplace.
What are the
pros and cons of
TV mirrors?
Sue Roscoe Watts,
via email
A
HOME
HELP
Derelict house next door, or an avocado tree
that?s shedding leaves? Our experts are on hand
Q
Our neighbour?s empty
property is derelict, and
it has hurt the value of
our terraced house.
A water leak from his
home has been affecting
our property for a year.
The water authority is still
trying to gain access to
deal with it. Our insurance
company will only pay our
claim once the leak next
door is remedied.
Last November our
neighbour?s house was set
on fire by an arsonist, but
the police haven?t solved
the case. Afterwards, the
building was partially
cleared by a restoration
company, contracted by our
neighbour?s insurer, but it
is still boarded up and
uninhabitable. There is no
sign of repairs being done.
Nobody knows where the
neighbour is. How might we
find out what is being done
to restore his home? And if
we had to sell our house
below market value owing
to the derelict property,
would we be able to recover
the difference in cost from
our neighbour?
MW, via email
A
To find out what is being
done to repair the house,
try to track down the
owner?s contact details by
searching the Land Registry
(although this may simply
provide you with the address
of your neighbour?s home).
If you have no luck there, get
in touch with the council.
All local authorities are
charged with trying to get
vacant properties back into
occupation. Ask the building
control department about its
policy for such homes and
ask for the name of the empty
property officer, so you have a
contact. Ask other neighbours
to voice their concern.
Local authorities can:
l Serve improvement notices
on the owner ? this could
include requiring works to
remedy the leak
l Deal with dangerous
buildings
l React if an empty building
causes a nuisance under
environmental protection
legislation
l If ignored, the council can
do the works itself and charge
the owner. If the latter doesn?t
pay, the council can instigate
an enforced sale
l Issue empty dwelling
management orders and
compulsory purchase orders.
These are a last resort, and
it can take years to reach
this stage.
As for selling your house at
reduced price and recovering
costs, though we are not
lawyers, I suspect it would
be hard to prove your case in
court. Even if you did, would
your neighbour be able to pay?
You?d be better off spending
your energy on getting the
owner or the council to fix the
leak and restore the property.
Paula Higgins, chief executive,
HomeOwners Alliance;
hoa.org.uk
Q
I have an avocado tree,
but it sheds its leaves at
an alarming rate. How
can I slow this process?
Neil Davis, via email
A
The loss of leaves is a sure
sign that your avocado
requires potting into a
larger container. Once the
roots become congested, they
either trap too much moisture
or become bone dry, both of
which will turn the leaves
Having a mirror that
becomes a television
at the flick of a switch
will appeal to anyone who
doesn?t like the look of a big
black screen. It is now hard
to tell that a TV mirror is
more than just a normal
one, and the picture quality
is excellent.
A minor drawback is that
the speakers are sometimes
not as effective as they
would be on a normal TV,
because they are hidden
behind the mirror. If the
room is large, it may be
sensible to have an extra
sound bar or two (to act as
extra speakers). On the
whole, though, sound and
ventilation are not problems:
only a small gap is needed
between the TV and the wall.
It is best to avoid hanging
a TV mirror directly in front
of a window or other light
source, but that advice
also applies to a normal
television. If you look closely
and from a certain angle ?
especially with cheaper TV
canary yellow. Be warned,
though: the avocado is the
house-plant equivalent of a
cuckoo, and unless you live in
an Eden Project biome, it will
soon outgrow its new pot and
demand one that?s even bigger.
As they won?t survive outdoors
in this country, perhaps it?s
time to sow another seed and
start all over again.
Toby Buckland is a garden
writer and the host of
tobygardenfest.co.uk
Q
My bathroom has a
polished marble floor,
but it now has several
water marks that I can?t
remove. What can I do?
Deanna Kaye, London NW4
A
First you need to know if
you are dealing with a
water mark or an etch
mark (where the surface of the
marble has come into contact
with something acidic).
To identify which you have,
run a finger over the affected
area. Water marks are likely to
leave the surface slightly raised
(they can also attract more dirt
or scum), whereas etch marks
tend to leave a small dent.
mirrors ? you can see a faint
line in the mirror where the
TV screen stops and starts.
In better mirrors such as
Crystal Mirror, Magic Crystal
Mirror and Silver Magic,
however, this is all but
invisible. Cheaper mirrors
are a bit darker, too, but only
by 2%, which is hardly
noticeable.
At Studio Indigo,
we tend to design
joinery so the
TV mirror is
integrated within
a ?wall? or a
panel created a
few centimetres in
front of the existing wall.
This allows for ventilation
and cabling to be hidden
within it.
We often work with
Cornflake (cornflake.co.uk),
an AV and home automation
specialist, which
recommends Ad-Notam as
a manufacturer. A mirror
alone for a 55in TV screen
can cost up to �000,
including installation.
A more affordable
alternative would be
an off-the-shelf design
from Mirrortvs.com or
Overmantels (overmantels.
co.uk), which has an array
of classic and antique-style
frames in several sizes.
Prices for TV mirrors start at
about �500 for a 32in TV,
rising to as much as �000
for a 75in model. Samsung
makes thin HD TVs, which
are popular. If you want to
hide wiring or cabling, the
work can usually be
completed in half a day and
starts at about �0.
Luis Paris, head of technical
design at Studio Indigo;
studioindigo.co.uk
To deal with a water mark,
use fine wire wool (0000
grade). Dry the area, then
gently rub the wool over the
mark in a circular motion until
it has gone. Finish with a
marble cleaner ? there are
plenty on the market ? and a
soft clean towel.
If it is an etch mark, apply
a polishing powder to it. One
we know is MB Stone Care?s
MB-11 (�.50; mbstonecare.
co.uk). Clean the area around
the mark, then sprinkle on
the powder. Spray a few times
with water, then gently scrub
with a cloth, also lightly
sprayed. Twenty seconds to a
minute should do.
Don?t scrub too hard, just
work quickly. If the mark
remains, go a bit harder or
repeat. If none of this works,
contact a professional marble
cleaning company.
Wayne Perrey and Steph Bron,
founders of thediydoers.com
DO YOU NEED HELP FROM
ONE OF OUR EXPERTS?
Email your questions to
homehelp@sundaytimes.co.uk. Advice is given
without responsibility
The Sunday Times August 27, 2017 15
HOW TO...
BUY ANTIQUES
The collector is back. After a
slow death by flatpack, we
have started collecting ?to
display ourselves?, according
to says Mark Hill, a BBC
Antiques Roadshow expert
and author. ?It?s about
reflecting what you love.?
Unlike our parents, we
don?t curate rooms full of
matchy-matchy Georgian
furniture. Unique trumps
ubiquitous for the Instagram
generation, so we mix high
street and handmade, fiver
and fortune, new and old.
?An antique adds meaning ?
it adds soul,? Hill says. ?You
don?t get that with a Billy
bookcase, do you??
WHAT CAN I EXPECT TO PAY?
Thanks to a 45% drop in
prices since 2002, according
to the Antique Collectors?
Club, there has never been a
better time to buy ?brown
furniture? ? Georgian and
Victorian household staples.
?An unrestored George III
mahogany chest of drawers
can be bought at auction for
as little as �,? says Jeremy
Lamond, an auctioneer at
Halls of Shrewsbury and a
#bringbackbrownfurniture
Twitter campaigner. The
same piece, renovated, costs
?several hundred pounds?.
Yet the best craftsmanship
has kept its value, says Mary
Claire Boyd, director of Art &
Antiques Fair Olympia.
Exhibits at its winter fair
include a secretaire cabinet
with stone inlays for �,000
(October 31-November 5;
olympia-antiques.com).
Vetted fairs such as those
at Olympia offer top quality
Christie?s (christies.com)
and Lots Road, in Chelsea
(lotsroad.com). Bid online at
the-saleroom.com, which
covers most British auctions.
l Online platforms Search
hundreds of dealers?
inventories via portals such as
1stdibs.com, sellingantiques.
co.uk, antiques-atlas.com ?
and, yes, ebay.co.uk.
HOW DO I HAGGLE?
HOW DO I CART IT ALL HOME?
WHAT SHOULD I TAKE ALONG?
WHERE SHOULD I SHOP?
l Vetted fairs At the top-end
shows, experts check each
item?s authenticity, but you
will find little under �0.
Olympia is the largest; rivals
in London are Masterpiece
(masterpiecefair.com) and
fairs held by antique dealers?
associations (badafair.com;
lapadalondon.com). Antiques
for Everyone, held three
times a year at the NEC, in
Birmingham, is the only vetted
show outside the capital
(antiquesforeveryone.co.uk).
l Decorative fairs Uniting
antiques with interior design,
the Decorative Antiques &
Textiles Fair, in Battersea Park,
south London, is ?great for
the eclectic look?, Hill says
(decorativefair.com).
Somerset?s shows are rapidly
A torch and wellies to brave
a muddy field in winter, and
carrier bags or a rucksack
to carry off your haul. Have
blankets and bubble wrap in
the car. Take cash to outdoor
markets; high-end fairs and
auctions accept cards.
head of furniture at Bonhams
auction house in Scotland.
?Unless you are a great
expert, don?t simply buy as
an investment.?
Go for quality over quantity.
?One fabulous piece becomes
the centre of attention,? says
Daniel Hopwood, a judge on
BBC2?s The Great Interior
Design Challenge.
Avoid poor repairs, such
as screws instead of
replacement wooden dowels
? turn the piece over to
check ? and poor imitations
described as ?in the style of?.
Don?t buy without a receipt
that is clear about the item?s
age; you wouldn?t accept that
when buying a car.
catching up (bathdecorative
antiquesfair.co.uk; bruton
decorativeantiquesfair.co.uk).
l Big outdoor markets
The TK Maxx to the vetted
fairs? Dior, these markets are
bargain-hunting territory ?
and the further out of London
you go, the more ?affordable?
they get. For details of fairs
countrywide, visit iacf.co.uk.
Newark, in Nottinghamshire,
hosts the biggest in Europe.
Vintage boutiques stock up
twice a month at Sunbury, in
Surrey (sunburyantiques.
com), and at the Lincolnshire
Antiques & Home Show
(asfairs.com). Go direct and
pay trade prices.
l Antiques warehouses As
shop rates rise, dealers are
quitting the high street to
rent space in big antiques
centres such as Lorfords?s
hangar in Gloucestershire
(lorfordsantiques.com).
Hertfordshire has the
25,000 sq ft Bushwood
(bushwood.co.uk) and
Edinburgh the 50,000 sq ft
Georgian Antiques
(georgianantiques.net).
l Auction houses Though
auctioneers charge 20%-25%
on top of your successful bid,
you can ?make silly offers if
no one else is bidding?, says
the interior designer Harriet
Anstruther. She favours
?Some discounts offered for
the TV cameras would be
considered rude in real life,?
Lamond says. ?Don?t demand
50% off ? ask for the best
price.? Don?t endlessly point
out faults, Hill adds. ?Show
you?re genuinely interested.
Explain where the piece
would go, and why you like it,
but say you just don?t have
that much money.?
WHAT MUST I LOOK OUT FOR?
Above all, buy something you
love, says Bruce Addison,
Most auctions and dealers
will be able to offer a delivery
service or arrange to have
an item delivered for you.
Big fairs have stands with
carriers on site. To save on
costs, book a man with a van
via shiply.com or anyvan.
com, so bigger items can be
collected from the dealer at
a convenient later date. ?I
wouldn?t hire a van, then go,?
Hill advises. ?You may feel
obliged to fill it.?
Martina Lees
16 August 27, 2017 The Sunday Times
Home Interiors
THE NEW
DEALS
There are plenty of sales bargains to be found
beyond the high street, says Katrina Burroughs
B
link and you could
have missed the
main summer
sales this year.
The big high-street
names are already winding
up their clearances to make
way for new-season stock.
But that doesn?t mean you?ve
missed the best bargains ?
the high street is only a small
part of the sales story.
We?ve scoured our favourite
sources to bring you some of
the sweetest deals still
available, from the furniture
firms that aren?t in every town
centre to the less well-known
decorative accessories labels.
It?s also worth keeping in mind
that bargains are available all
year round if you know where
to look.
The British fabric brand
Fermoie has a factory outlet
in Marlborough. There is a
store stocking seconds and
discontinued lines at Burleigh
Pottery, in the Middleport
factory, Stoke-on-Trent, and
Fired Earth has a factory
outlet in Banbury that stocks
discontinued tiles and paint,
where you might also find
ex-display kitchens and
bathrooms up to 70% off.
If you haven?t yet set foot in
a Homesense, now is the time
to remedy that regrettable
oversight. Launched in 2008,
the interiors arm of TK Maxx
is an off-price retailer, rather
than an outlet store, offering
discounts of up to 60% on an
ever-changing stock of spendy
labels. It?s growing at an
astonishing rate ? its 50th
store opened this month in
Greenwich, southeast London
? and is well worth a regular
rummage. Happy hunting.
Cross your fingers
for an Indian
summer and invest
in bargainous
Belgrave garden
furniture. Though
it looks like teak,
it?s made from
FSC-certified
eucalyptus
hardwood. The
set includes a
two-seater sofa
(W133cm x
D95cm), two
armchairs and a
coffee table
(W130cm x
D75cm). Sale ends
on September 15.
Was �9, now
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Habitat?s
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The Bobby desk
lamp, pictured,
is made from
powder-coated
metal in various
colours. Sale
finishes tomorrow.
Was �, now
�.50; habitat.
co.uk
These Bloom glazed steel plates and
bowls can go straight from oven to
table: they?re dishwasher-safe and
you can even use them on the hob.
Plate, 18cm, was �, now � pasta
plate, 23cm, was �, now �; bowl,
14cm, was �, now � angled bowl,
17cm, was �, now �
brassicamercantile.co.uk
20%
OFF
41%
OFF
10%
OFF
One.World sources well-priced furniture
and accessories in styles from modern
rustic to contemporary glamour, including
this Marlborough oak dining chair.
Was �5, now �0; one.world
Tickled pink by
Arlo & Jacob?s
Hartfield sofa?
There?s 10% off all
showroom, online
and telephone
sales at Arlo &
Jacob until
Tuesday. Shown
in Romo?s Linara
fabric in Camellia,
the couch
measures W194cm
x D91cm. It?s
pictured with
the Hartfield
footstool (was
�0, now �3).
Was �957,
now �761;
arloandjacob.com
The Sunday Times August 27, 2017 17
51%
OFF
20%
OFF
Is there a better name for a bed than Fredd? This kingsize
bedstead in tan leather, with a comfy headboard, rejoices
in that handle. The design is available with or without
storage, in a choice of sizes and colours. Snap one up in
the Habitat sale, which ends tomorrow.
Was �5, now �6; habitat.co.uk
An industrial-style
light with added snazz,
at better than half price?
This is a real winner
from One.World. The
handsome Kenmore
34%
OFF
25%
OFF
For fans of modern
rustic, this is the website
to watch. Farmhouse
Table Company, a
Devon workshop, makes
much of its output to
order. Until next
Sunday, there?s a deal
on Spindle Back
dining chairs: solid
oak seats with a light
matt lacquer.
Was �5, now �0;
farmhousetable
company.co.uk
Made in Suffolk, Tree to
Table is a collaboration
by Anthony Dickens
and Sebastian Cox for
Heal?s. The W200cm x
D85cm dining table has
a limed beech top and
iron legs.
Was �650, now
�855; heals.com
pendant (22.5cm
diameter) has a
brass finish and a
metal cage.
Was �0, now �;
one.world
The British fabric brand
Fermoie doesn?t hold a
summer sale, but every
Wednesday, or any
time by appointment,
its factory outlet in
Marlborough is open
to view and purchase
colour trials, end of
lines and overstocks
at reduced prices.
Cushions now in stock
include the Self Piped
cushion in blue/green
Wicker and the
contrast-piped Colonel
plain linen cushion.
Both are 43cm square.
Was �, now �;
fermoie.com
24%
OFF
The Cement Tiles rug (250cm x
170cm) is 100% wool. Made by the
Tunisian design studio Marlo &
Isaure, it?s available from Nisi Living,
which specialises in furniture and
Here?s a bargain for
fans of industrial
chic: grey glazed
Cement-Tech
porcelain tiles
(80cm x 40cm)
inspired by factory
floors. Sale
continues until the
end of September.
Was �.76 per
tile, now �.78;
geminitiles.co.uk
38%
OFF
Pooky is a great website for
decorative lighting, with plenty of
colour and pattern. Among the
best of the bargains during its
clearance (until mid-September)
is the hand-painted ceramic
Palmyra table lamp base (H40cm x
W25cm). It?s shown here with the
Straight Empire shade (50cm
diameter) in Terracotta linen.
Was �5, now �; pooky.com
41%
OFF
21%
OFF
30%
OFF
accessories in Boho Beach and
Modern Mediterranean style.
Offer runs to September 10.
Was �250, now �0;
nisiliving.co.uk
Sales shopping needn?t
be for necessities. The
clearances can supply
an impulse buy or two
that will bring a bit of
fun to your decor, like
this ceramic parrot salt
and pepper set from
Rockett St George.
Was �, now �50;
rockettstgeorge.co.uk
50%
OFF
18 August 27, 2017 The Sunday Times
A POTTED
GUIDE TO...
BOX CATERPILLAR WOE
Cydalima perspectalis is the
box tree caterpillar ? and, if
you don?t already have it, I?m
afraid it?s coming soon to a
box ball near you. It lays pale
yellow eggs on the underside
of the leaves, which hatch
green and yellow caterpillars
with black heads. These
munch away, leaving crispy
brown leaves and making
you angry and sad.
IN THE GARDEN
THIS WEEK
l
Inspect your patch and
consider what has and hasn?t
worked over the summer.
Think about replacing some
of the earlier summer things
with plants that will serve you
at this time: asters, echinacea,
rudbeckia, grasses.
l Were you able to manage
the garden or outdoor space
within a sensible time frame?
If things got away from you,
a simple trick is to make room
for permanent plantings in
containers and put them in
Sprays will nuke the critters,
along with all beneficial insects.
If that doesn?t appeal, try hand
removal. It?s time-consuming
and unpleasant, but effective
if you do it regularly, keeping
in mind that this moth has
more than one life cycle a year,
and that the caterpillars will
overwinter on the plant.
Too gross for you? Then take
the nematode route: Nemasys
fruit and vegetable protection
(� for a three-month supply)
is effective. I have just ordered
Topbuxus Xentari (�), which
claims to kill caterpillars, but
not bees ? beekeepers use it
to control moths. I cannot
vouch for it yet, though.
This pest isn?t going away
any time soon, so if you want
box, you?ll have to commit to
it big time. Personally, I will
be phasing out my box and
replacing it with yew,
Pittosporum tobira ?Nanum?,
Sarcococca confusa or Lonicera
nitida, all of which respond
well to clipping and none of
which will break my heart.
ABDUL YUSUFU
CUTTINGS
Home Gardening
Laetitia Maklouf
the ground. They will need less
care once they are settled, and
will grow much better than
they ever did in their pots.
l Continue to sow salad leaves
to ensure a steady supply ? no
need for leaves in plastic bags
from the supermarket. Sow on
a cut-and-come-again basis
once every three weeks or
so, harvesting individual
leaves every day. Your salad
will keep in the fridge for a few
days if you line the container
with paper towel.
l Turn the compost heap ? it
will get things rotting down
more efficiently. The goal is to
get everything on the edges
into the middle and vice versa.
l Hard-working perennials
such as geraniums can look
rather tired now, left, but if
you chop them down to the
ground, you?ll get a second
flush of foliage that will look
fresh and beautiful, and keep
the garden looking neat.
Remember to water well every
day for at least a week if you
do this in hot weather.
WE DIG
We don?t know how many pairs
of gardening gloves William
Morris owned ? he famously
said: ?Have nothing in your
houses that you do not know
to be useful or believe to be
beautiful? ? but the briars of
his Golden Lily design adorn
this new pair. They are
practical and thankfully free
of the pink or purple that
typically denote a lady?s glove.
Ideal for a bit of autumn
pruning and leaf-gathering,
the gloves are part of a gift
set, along with a decently
emollient shea butter hand
cream that?s similarly
lightweight on the lily scent.
We?re not sure what Morris
would make of the matching
Golden Lily emery board.
�; johnlewis.com
CACTUS
PLANT
The spiky succulents on garden-centre shelves aren?t
grown in the desert, but in a vast greenhouse in Belgium.
James Gillespie visits the sharp end of the supply chain
The Sunday Times August 27, 2017 19
??
Cristata plants
have additional
bulges that give the
impression of a
plant gone rogue
and trying to
escape its pot
H
ans Van de
Voorde holds a
small pot in his
hands and raises
it reverentially.
It contains one of the smallest
cactus plants you are ever
likely to see. Van de Voorde, a
cactus connoisseur, developed
a love of horticulture at the age
of 12. Now, at 52, he stands
among line after line of tables
covered with more than
20,000 specimens.
In the small Belgian town of
Lochristi, near Ghent, he runs
a specialist cactus nursery that
supplies Wyevale, the biggest
garden-centre chain in Britain.
If you have one of the prickly
plants ? they?re bang on trend
? there?s a chance it spent time
in the court of this cactus king.
Here in the nursery, the
plants stretch out over an area
of 10,000 sq ft and grow under
plastic and glass. There are
cacti that tower over us,
others that are smaller than a
fingernail and some that are
100 years old. Amid the green
expanse are brilliant flashes
of colour: yellow flowers
sprout out of the areoles of
some; others have pink, red
or purple flowers.
?You need to have the
colours,? Van de Voorde says.
?They can be so beautiful.?
Well, perhaps. But a few seem
to have taken on the shape
of the human brain, some
look like gnarly hands, and
there?s one particularly ugly
specimen. ?Ah, yes,? he says.
?That one is Belgian.?
Van de Voorde is a keen
grafter and breeds various
species of cacti. ?Cristata on
the left, normal on the right,?
he declares, striding through
the main greenhouse. Cristata
are the plants with additional
growth, bulges that often
give the impression of a plant
gone rogue and trying to
escape its pot. There is one
that looks like a yellow-gloved
hand growing on top of a
green stem ? ?Chamaecereus
silvestris,? he says. Another,
Austrocylindropuntia vestita,
looks as if it?s been wrapped in
cotton wool.
Van de Voorde?s enthusiasm
is infectious. His job is
all-consuming and he?s never
far away from his plants ?
his home is at the end of the
greenhouse. ?You?ve got to
be on it,? he says. He makes
two trips a year to Tenerife,
where he sources plants from
growers. Every six or seven
years, he heads to South Africa
to do the same. With his wife
and two employees, he handles
about 2m plants a year.
Deliveries come from all
over the world, but one of his
main suppliers is based in
South Africa. The pace is
unrelenting, so much so that
his three children have no
intention of following him into
the business. ?They have seen
it is hard work,? he says.
He adores his plants ?
?On Sunday I come here, no
phones, no music. I come
just to look? ? but he does
acknowledge that one can
smother cacti with love.
?Don?t love them too much ?
if you treat them too well,
they will not flower. People
sometimes use too much
fertiliser. They grow quickly,
but they are not nice.?
Van de Voorde?s plants
sell for up to �0 in the UK,
though a Saudi sheikh recently
spent �000 on one of his
specimens. The larger ones
are popular with interior
designers, the smaller plants
with the domestic consumer.
So, which is his favourite?
There?s a long pause. ?All of
them,? he says diplomatically.
Back in London, Gynelle
Leon, a Royal Horticultural
Society award-winning plant
photographer, has an array of
cacti on shelves and plinths.
She is the founder of the
only shop in the capital
dedicated to cacti and
succulents ? Prick, in trendy
Dalston. It sells more than 150
types of cacti, with prices
ranging from �to �5.
Prick is also the title of a
book that Leon, 31, has written
and photographed. Due out
in October, it?s a guide to
choosing, styling and caring
for the hipster-friendly plant.
?My love of cacti and
succulents was born from the
fact they are so resilient and so
sculptural,? she says. ?They
can take on such interesting
shapes, forms and structures.?
The shop?s clientele mainly
consists of those aged between
25 and 35. More women than
men pass through the front
door, and they?re often from
the creative industries ?
interior designers, architects.
Leon has also noticed that
brides are starting to use
succulents as favours or in
their wedding bouquets.
The humble cactus has
become oh so fashionable in
Britain, cropping up on
everything from T-shirts and
inflatables to tumblers and
bedding, but the popularity
of the plant appears to be
largely down to the fact that it
needs so little maintenance.
Patrick Wall, horticultural
buyer for Wyevale, says sales
at its garden centres have
jumped by 28% in the past
three years.
?They need almost no care
? you water them and that?s
essentially it,? says Wall, who
buys the company?s cacti
from Van de Voorde. ?There
are thousands of varieties ?
you can even produce your
own through grafting.?
Cacti are suited to
apartment living and
balconies, so city dwellers in
particular have taken them
to heart. ?Prickly on the
outside, but on the inside ?
people get really attached to
their cacti,? Wall says. ?They
embrace the purchase ? well,
not literally.?
HOW TO
CARE FOR
YOUR CACTI
Some varieties will have
specific needs, but if you
follow these general tips,
your cacti should live a long
and happy life.
l To allow for sufficient
water drainage, do not pack
your compost too densely.
l Most cacti prefer living in
a light, sunny position.
l During the winter, put
your plant in a cooler
place (8C-10C) and water
sparingly ? the soil should
be allowed to dry out.
l From spring to autumn,
water regularly. Compost is
best kept dry, though, so do
drain any excess water.
l Try to mimic a natural
season and climate
conditions: this will
encourage your cactus
to flower in ?active? months
(generally spring and
summer) when plants are
given more water.
Sales spike
Hans Van de
Voorde, above,
handles about
2m cacti a year
at his nursery
in Lochristi,
Belgium, left.
Below, Gynelle
Leon, who runs
Prick, the only
dedicated cactus
shop in London
22 August 27, 2017 The Sunday Times
Home
MARC MILLAR;GETTY; REX
TIME AND
SPACE
TOM
KITCHIN
Tom dreams of living among
the vineyards of Provence
The Scottish chef on 17-hour
shifts, his cookbook collection
? and sleeping on a lilo in Paris
VINE
ROMANCE
W
?I couldn?t live
without a
Thermomix?
Tom found an
unconventional
use for a lilo
Pierre Koffmann
passed on all of
his cookbooks
hen I was three, we
moved from our family
home in Edinburgh to
live on a farm in
Kinross. It would be
easy to assume that that?s where I
developed my love of the countryside and
seasonal food and game, but the truth is, I
was sports-mad as a kid. I wasn?t learning
secret recipes at any family member?s
knee ? though my grandmother was a
great traditional cook.
It was washing dishes at a wee pub near
Loch Leven that introduced me to the
buzz of working in a team. No way did I
ever set out to be a celebrity chef. It?s
always been about the work and the food
? and going back to test yourself as soon
as you think you?re king of the pile.
What were your digs like when you
started out in your career?
Pretty dire. I lived in south London, first at
staff digs in Battersea when I was 18,
working at La Tante Claire, Pierre
Koffmann?s three-Michelin-starred
restaurant in Chelsea, then in a block of
flats in Stockwell. I was a young Scotsman
working 17 hours a day, with little pay, and
it could be pretty battering, though I
managed to party hard at the Slug &
Lettuce on Fulham Road on Sunday
nights. When I first went to work with
Guy Savoy in Paris, I planned to stay at
a mate?s bedsit in Les Invalides for a
week. I ended up sleeping on a lilo on
his floor for more than a year. He
loved to let it down in the night, when
I went to the loo. He?s now my
business partner.
it allowed me to save for my first flat, in
Edinburgh, as well as set up my first
restaurant, the Kitchin, 11 years ago.
Cruising the Mediterranean, we would
stop at amazing food markets in Sardinia
and Sicily. Despite being able to afford to
eat in the most expensive restaurants in
the world, she taught me about the beauty
of simplicity in food ? when you have a
succulent tomato, you just need to let it be
a tomato and speak for itself. But living in
that kind of yachting world is very fake,
with so many crews on rock-star wages
and huge tips, then pissing it all up the
wall as soon as they hit land.
??
I had a tiny bedsit
overlooking the sea in
Monte Carlo, and could
buy croissants in France
and coffee in Italy
When did things start looking up?
The better the job, the better the digs.
I eventually fell in love with London, and
ALL HANDS
ON DECK
thought I?d made it when I rented a place
in Putney. Later, when I worked with
Alain Ducasse at his three-Michelinstarred Le Louis XV, in Monte Carlo, I was
earning peanuts, and it was gruelling,
but I had a tiny bedsit overlooking the sea
and could buy croissants in France and
coffee in Italy. I never dreamt that three
years later, at the age of 29, I?d have my
own Michelin star.
When did you buy your first home?
Working as private chef to Lady Bamford,
the founder of Daylesford Organic, at her
Cotswolds home, as well as doing two
seasons on her yacht, was one of the most
inspiring experiences of my career ? and
Tom spent two
seasons on Lady
Bamford?s yacht
while working as
her private chef.
Far left, prepping
for service with
his son Kasper
when he was
one year old
Where do you call home now?
A renovated Victorian house in Edinburgh,
with my Swedish wife, Michaela ? who
runs the Kitchin and our Stockbridge
gastropub, the Scran & Scallie, with me.
We have four children, Kasper, 9, Axel, 6,
and twins Lachlan and Logan, 4. Our
home is open-plan and clean-lined, very
pale, with lots of sheepkskin throws.
The living room has huge windows and
leather smoking chairs. I still pinch myself
that I live somewhere so lovely.
Describe your kitchen
My wife designed it, and it?s the heart of
the home. It?s painted light grey and has
all the essentials: an island, lots of
cupboards and fridge space. I couldn?t live
without a Thermomix, which we always
joke has replaced the job of one commis
chef: they cost about �000, but do
everything, from chopping, stirring and
blending to boiling and steaming.
Are your kids foodies?
We don?t want to push the boys into food
and make them total prima donnas, but
when I see a seven-year-old breaking off
the claw of a langoustine and sucking it,
I do think it?s great.
What possessions have been with you
through every move?
There?s a running joke in my family that
I know nothing about music or films. I do,
however, have hundreds of chef
cookbooks ? Pierre Koffmann passed on
all of his. I have so many bibles, as well
as amazing old French cookbooks I have
picked up on my travels.
If not Edinburgh, where?
The south of France, but inland, away
from all the madness. The dream is a
beautiful old Proven鏰l farmhouse,
surrounded by vineyards.
Interview by Emma Wells
Tom Kitchin?s Meat & Game is out now
(Absolute Press �); thekitchin.com
Shoeless and suntanned, he was
running a small hotel with a copy
of Joseph Conrad?s An Outcast
of the Islands in one hand and a
bloody mary in the other. Four
months later, I was pregnant.
We bought Hibiscus Hill
virtually unseen. The estate
agent had looked disapprovingly
at me ? unmarried, barefoot
and pregnant. She would not let
us into the house to view it. I had
peered through the windows.
David had toured the gardens.
We both agreed that it felt like
home. Built in the 1950s and later
extended, it seemed to have
?good bones? and many of the
structural features of Caribbean
style, such as verandas and a
high-pitched roof. It had sat
rather forlornly on the market
for some time before we
wandered about the grounds.
The deal was done quickly,
and I assured Mrs Fredricks, the
Swiss owner, that we would
adore the house and fill it with
love and laughter. Little did she
know that we would soon be
bursting at the seams with five
children and too many pets.
The place was in pristine
condition when we arrived, with
lots of apricot-coloured chintz
cushions and thick white carpet
in the bedrooms. We quickly set
to work, laying thick wooden
floorboards over the shiny white
tiles and repainting the outside
a cool white, not a pastel peach,
whereupon the inherited
housekeeper resigned.
As the months rolled into
years, David and I began to
understand that our island life
and decorating sensibility
were a combination of our
traditional British past and our
richly flavoured Caribbean
BRITTAN GOETZ CREATIVE LLC
FOREIGN
CORRESPONDENT
Home Opinion
The former fashion model
India Hicks with her
daughter Domino Flint
Wood at the family home
on Harbour Island
??
It?s one thing to
come on holiday,
another to live here.
The island is proud
of its fire engine,
but nobody knows
where the keys are
present, all mixed up with our
own eccentricities.
On this island, a sand bar in
truth, Hibiscus Hill sits back
from the ocean on high ground.
Fortunately, this means it does
not bear the full brunt of the
wind and salt ? an important
factor when living here all year
round, we later discovered.
Besides the five children
who call this home, we have
a steady stream of large land
crabs that wander through,
and a parade of gentle beetles.
Occasionally, a snake tries to
join us. I run on the sandy beach
with my dogs before sunrise
most mornings, and can hear the
faint cry of cockerels from the
small town beyond the sand
dunes. The smell of the salt air
and casuarina trees floats down
to the water?s edge, and I am
struck by it all: sea, land and sky.
The architecture and the view
from the harbour have hardly
changed in the past 200 years,
although the layers of time are
faintly visible. The churches
and historic wooden cottages
echo the memories of many
generations and the rhythms
of island life.
But beware, it?s one thing to
come here on holiday, quite
another to live here ? three
months of a hurricane season
and a goods boat that often
cannot land. There are power
outages for endless stretches
of time, and one doctor is shared
between several communities.
The island may be proud of its
fire engine, but no one knows
where the keys are.
Of course, buying a property
on Harbour Island now is not so
simple: there is far less choice
and prices have soared. It
remains everything the Bahamas
should be, a small community of
people who say ?good morning?
and ?goodnight? to one another
among frangipani and palm
trees, pretty timber houses
painted bright gelato colours,
white picket fences, crystal-clear
waters and exquisite beaches.
We call this home.
indiahicks.com; @Indiahicksstyle
The Sunday Times August 27, 2017 7
GOING
PLACES
NEWMARKET
ALAMY
Home
Racing is the Suffolk town?s
lifeblood, but you don?t have
to be horse-mad to move
there, says Tim Palmer
NEWMARKET
Stable market
All quiet on the
high street, right.
Below, at the
training ground
Moulton
A14
Cheveley
CAMBRIDGE
Dullingham
Bury
St Edmunds
M11
A11
5 miles
Why it?s hot If you like the nags, there?s
nowhere hotter. With 50 stables, a couple
of racecourses, a museum, auctioneers
and acres of gallops, this Suffolk town is
regarded as the world?s horseracing
centre. It?s big business, with the
highest earner in the neighbourhood
taking home a hefty �5,000 for a day?s
work. (That?s Frankel, the unbeaten
superstar racehorse, who now earns
stud fees of �5,000 a pop.) For lovers
of the sport, the benefits of living here
are obvious: the chance to watch
thoroughbreds training on the
surrounding heaths, easy access to
race meetings and bumping into jockeys
in the queue at Waitrose.
Even if you?re only in Newmarket
because it?s a cheaper alternative to
Cambridge, 15 miles west along the A14,
there are other unexpected benefits.
Most of the land is owned by the Jockey
Club or wealthy stud farms, so the
quietly beautiful countryside is kept
manicured and (generally) protected
from development. There?s enviable
access to it, too. The gallops, where the
racehorses train, are open to the public
daily after 1pm.
VOCAL
LOCAL
When Sharon
Hamilton moved to
Newmarket a dozen
years ago, it was the
obvious choice. She
had a couple of
racecourses in training
and liked to ride out
regularly. Even though
the horses have gone
and she rarely rides
these days, Sharon,
Why it?s not While the lucky few make
a lot of money from the racing game,
most jockeys and stable lads don?t,
which means there?s a divide between
rich and poor, and not a lot in between.
Lord Derby?s plan to build 400 houses
at Hatchfield Farm has stirred up fierce
opposition from the racing community,
worried about how the extra traffic will
affect the many four-legged road users. It
has bounced around the various appeals
processes since 2009; a final decision is
promised within six months.
Education, education, education
There?s plenty of choice at primary
level, with several schools rated good
by Ofsted. The local secondary,
Newmarket Academy ? formerly known
as Newmarket College ? is also judged
good. Many parents dispatch their
offspring to schools in Cambridge,
especially after GCSEs, when Hills Road
Sixth Form College is a big draw.
46, who works in
marketing, still gets a
thrill from living in the
thick of the racing
capital of the world.
?If you love horses,
it?s the place to see
them in their working
environment,? she says.
?It can be frustrating
if you?re sitting in
traffic, waiting for a big
string to cross the road,
but to watch them
training at Limekilns
on a sunny morning is
an amazing sight.?
She?s also delighted
with the way the
town has improved in
the past few years.
?There has been a drive
to move Newmarket
beyond betting shops
and hairdressers. Now
there?s a lot more to do,
with a lot of different
places to go out.?
�25M
�0,000
Get connected The A11 and A14 are on
the doorstep, so it?s a handy crossroads
for anyone heading to Cambridge or the
M11, for Stansted and the capital. Trains
to Cambridge take a handy 25 minutes;
it?s an hour to Ipswich in the other
direction, and Norwich is 90 minutes
away by train or car. Superfast broadband
is available ? up to 200Mbps ? but there
are gaps in the coverage.
Be seen in Check out the Tack Room,
at Palace House, for good-value lunches
and classy evening dining. The Pantry
is a locally minded deli and restaurant.
If you want to rub shoulders with the
racing crowd, head to the bar at the
Bedford Lodge Hotel, where you?ll also
find the town?s most upmarket fine dining
? a venison fillet costs � ? or the
Packhorse Inn, in nearby Moulton, the
area?s gastropub of choice. Newmarket
Nights concerts at the racecourse are a
draw. Still to come this year are Culture
Club, Texas, Olly Murs and Chase & Status.
Buy in Near the town centre, Bury Road,
Fordham Road and the Avenue offer the
biggest, smartest properties. Expect to pay
�0,000 for a detached house, �0,000
for a four-bedroom family home or
�0,000 for a terraced two-bedder.
The most prestigious addresses are to
be found in villages such as Moulton,
Cheveley or Dullingham, which has a
station. Prices are higher, and this is
where you can go the whole equestrian
hog. If you?ve got more than � to spend,
you could bag a couple of acres, perhaps
with a paddock and a stable or two.
Why we love it It?s the town with
maximum horsepower.
CROCKFORDS ROAD
With six bedrooms and an annexe with a games
room, there?s no shortage of space at Windermere,
an Edwardian house set in half an acre of secluded
grounds. Cambridge is 15 miles away, and it?s a
50-minute drive to Stansted airport.
01638 662231, jackson-stops.co.uk
FORDHAM ROAD
Want to be near the racing action? This Victorian
former coach house looks out over stud paddocks.
It has four bedrooms, a conservatory and a sitting
room with a vaulted ceiling. Shops and schools are
a short jaunt away.
01638 663228, cheffins.co.uk
FIND YOUR
BEST PLACE
Check out our Best Places to
Live 2017 at thesundaytimes.
co.uk/bestplaces. And tell us
where else we should visit
@TheSTHome
The Sunday Times August 27, 2017 9
PETER TARRY; REX
Home Living
D
escribed by one critic as
?Enid Blyton for grown-ups?,
The Darling Buds of May
brightened up recession-hit
Britain in the early 1990s. Set
on a Kent farm in the 1950s, and adapted
from the bucolic novels by HE Bates, the
ITV series about the rural escapades of
the Larkin family mixed rose-tinted
nostalgia ? oast houses, strawberry
picking, rowboats ? with a libertarian
streak. David Jason?s character, Pop
Larkin, was a tax-dodging, free-loving
hedonist. Life was ?perfick?, according
to his catchphrase: this was comfort TV
that drew 16m viewers.
One of them was Simon Coulson, now
a millionaire entrepreneur, but back then
a wage slave for BT. ?I?d go to my nan?s
on a Sunday evening, she?d cook me a
roast dinner and we would watch it,? says
Coulson, 46, who grew up in Meopham,
Kent. ?I?d be wishing I was born in her
era. Here?s this family living in the
countryside, no one works, they live off
the land, but they have all the trappings,
from a fridge-freezer to the latest TV. I
thought, ?What a nice life.? And Catherine
Zeta-Jones was stunning.
?It was the opposite of my life. I
commuted two hours to London, to a job
I didn?t enjoy. I related to the Charley
character, a tax inspector who wore a suit,
but gets sucked into this country life,
marries Zeta-Jones and never goes back
to the office. I bought the series on VHS,
and in my twenties and thirties, I would
watch it. It was my guilty pleasure.?
Coulson?s life of drudgery reached its
nadir in 2003, when he collapsed from
exhaustion at King?s Cross station. He took
redundancy from BT, then fell into the
lucrative world of internet marketing by
accident. Thinking property in Bulgaria
was a sure thing, as the country was about
to join the EU, he invested �600. So
many people then asked him how to do it,
he wrote a property guide on the subject
and sold it as an ebook for � a pop.
Before long, he was earning �,000
a month in sales. Ebooks on buying in
Croatia, Turkey and Slovenia followed,
then a guide to acquiring empty
properties by adverse possession, then
PERFICK
BREAK
Simon Coulson loved The Darling Buds of May so
much that when he made his fortune, he bought
the farm where it was filmed. By Hugh Graham
Buss Farm, in Kent ? now renamed
Darling Buds Farm ? was the set for
the nostalgic 1990s TV show
other ?information products?: how to
become a plumber, electrician, mechanic;
how to grow bonsai trees. He was raking
in so much cash, he became a star of the
seminar circuit, a British Tony Robbins,
culminating in a gig at the O2 Arena, in
east London.
He now runs the Internet Business
School, as well as the Songwriting
Academy, and moonlights with Coolplay,
a Coldplay tribute band who perform to
crowds of 40,000. His ventures have
generated �m, as outlined in his new
autobiography/motivational book,
Interpreneur: ?Believe that dreams can
come true, because if they can for me,
they can for you.?
Yet his biggest thrill was not sharing a
stage with Bill Clinton or pow-wowing
with Richard Branson on Necker Island.
It was buying Buss Farm, in Kent, where
his favourite TV show was filmed. After
paying � for the property, 20 minutes?
drive from Ashford, in 2012, he spent �
more restoring the dilapidated farmhouse,
Tudor barn, oast house and cart lodge
in a year. Ever the entrepreneur, he
renamed it Darling Buds Farm and started
a holiday-let business, which he?s now
expanded into a wedding venue. He lives
on site and has done up many of the
rooms with 1950s touches: a farmhouse
kitchen with enamelware breadboxes, a
lounge with retro drinks cabinets and
galvanised buckets outside.
He?s painted the window frames yellow,
just like on the TV show. He?s stocked the
grounds with ducks, geese, chickens,
sheep, a donkey and llamas. When couples
book it for weddings, they can hire the
vintage yellow Rolls-Royce that Pop Larkin
drove on the show. (Jason recently turned
up to film for a TV show about his life,
airing today and tomorrow on UK Gold.)
?I admired his character,? Coulson
says. ?He was a wheeler-dealer, buying
old army surplus and selling it on, or
?
10 August 27, 2017 The Sunday Times
? buying a house and selling it the same
day for a profit. When I was at school, I
used to buy and sell cars, trading up, and I
DJed at a mobile disco. Later I used to buy
stuff wholesale ? dusters, light bulbs, salt
and pepper pots ? and sell it at boot sales.?
The farm isn?t a cash cow ? he lets 13
bedrooms and estimates it grosses less
than �0,000 a year, enough to pay for
itself. (He has a staff of three.) Rather, it?s
a passion. His perfect day is sitting in the
garden, watching birds and walking his
three border collies ? one is called Zeta.
He?s on the lookout for a real-life Mariette
to complete his Darling Buds fantasy; he
has a son with a previous partner.
What advice would the ?interpreneur?
give to would-be holiday-let owners?
?Don?t put all your eggs in one basket
with one cottage company. I signed an
exclusive contract with one for a year, but
I ended up selling more weeks than it did,
and each time I had to pay commission.
After a year, I renewed, but not on an
exclusive basis ? 30% of our business now
comes from our Facebook page.?
Despite splashing out �000 on
Egyptian-cotton linen, Coulson soon
worked out it was cheaper to hire bedding
from an industrial company than to do all
the washing and ironing himself. And he
advises owners to go with their gut, not
the lowest price, when hiring builders.
?My main contractor gave a detailed
schedule of works, with every item priced.
Each month, we?d look at the schedule.
If something was 60% done, he?d charge
60%. If something was fully done, I?d pay
fully. It was transparent.
?Others were cheaper, but their quotes
were ambiguous. And when you screw
PIC CREDIT HERE PLEASE
Home Living
BUDDING HOTSPOTS
Britain?s most popular destinations
for holiday rentals for summer 2017*
1 Tattershall, Lincolnshire
2 Newquay, Cornwall
3 Whitby, North Yorkshire
4 York
5 Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
6 Bournemouth, Dorset
7 Brighton
8 Filey, North Yorkshire
9 Glasgow
10 St Ives, Cornwall
11 Tenby, Pembrokeshire
12 Inverness
13 Portstewart, Co Londonderry
14 Scarborough, North Yorkshire
15 Weymouth, Dorset
*excludes London and Edinburgh
Source: holidaylettings.co.uk
Larkin around
Simon Coulson,
an internet
millionaire, right,
lives on site and
runs the farm as
a holiday let
business and
wedding venue
The Sunday Times August 27, 2017 11
someone down to the lowest price, they
won?t be motivated.
?It?s also important to pay on time. So
many businesses take forever to pay
people. If someone gives me an invoice,
I will do it there and then, so they will
want to work for me again.?
Coulson has made his fortune spotting
gaps in the market and future trends, then
flogging them online. So what?s on the
horizon? ?I wouldn?t be piling my money
into property right now. Buy-to-let has
had a good run, but it?s coming to an end.
Student accommodation, I think, is
doomed, too. People are promised great
yields, but the number going to university
is going to fall massively in the next
decade. The pace of change is overtaking
the length of a university course.?
The future, he says, is tech: drones,
driverless cars, robotic bricklayers and
surgeons, with an accompanying growth
in the gaming, leisure and holiday
industries. All of which will help business
at Darling Buds Farm ? he?s putting in a
planning application to build more guest
cottages in the 35 acres. ?This TV show
was the Downton Abbey of its time. I knew
there were others like me, who had fond
memories. I can still hear the theme song
when I turn into the drive.
?Nothing happens by accident. Your
subconscious is driving you and setting
your direction. My favourite toy car as
a kid was a black Range Rover, and I
eventually got one. Owning this place was
in my subconscious. It?s about the power
of intention, putting stuff out there. It can
be self-fulfilling.?
darlingbudsfarm.co.uk; interpreneur.com
LIFE
IN THE
BUBBLE
First came the shed, then the chalet, the
lodge, the rustic cabin, the shepherd?s
hut ? we all know who bought one of
those earlier this summer ? and now
the Dome. The blue-sky brainchild of
Michael Beare, 33, a former City banker,
the Dome is your chance to live, literally,
in your own bubble. The pressurised
PVC chamber has a diameter of 16ft;
with an entrance hall and an ensuite with
a rolltop bath, perfect for stargazing,
there?s 215 sq ft of living space.
Beare has developed seven bubbles
that are dotted around the woods of Finn
Lough, the holiday resort near Enniskillen,
in Co Fermanagh, where he grew up, and
which he and his sister now run. In the
wake of the recession, and down to just
�,000, he gambled everything on
creating a blow-up prototype with a
Barcelona-based company specialising
in inflatables for bouncy castles.
?Everyone thought it was mad, especially
my parents,? he says.
Tempted? The Dome can qualify as
a temporary structure, and must be
built on a solid base: a deck, concrete
or even a well-drained lawn. You?ll need
an electrical point and, if you want the
ensuite, permissions and plumbing.
The four-poster bed adds a further
touch of luxury ? and, should the
bubble deflate, it will offer an extra layer
of protection.
domes.io; finnlough.com
12 August 27, 2017 The Sunday Times
LIVE YOUR
JAMES RAM
Home Moving
DREAM
We all think about ditching the 9-5 to start
afresh somewhere new. Cally Law talks to
three women who did just that ? and finds
out if the reality matched the fantasy
I
t took an adventure on
a paradise island for
Willow Reed to realise
that what she wanted
was back in England ?
the life she had left behind
when she went in search of
peace and fulfilment.
Her journey began in 2013,
after the death of her mother.
Then in her mid-thirties,
Willow had already bought and
turned around a run-down pub,
the Plough Inn, in Taunton,
Somerset, ?and it was a wild
success?. But after her mother
died, so did her enthusiasm.
?I came back to the pub only
to realise that it was, literally,
a public house,? she recalls.
?People were there to have a
good time, which is difficult
when you are grief-stricken.?
Looking for an escape, she
leased the pub to tenants
and spent Christmas Day on
the internet, searching for
somewhere to go. ?I simply had
to get away, so, armed with a
loan against the pub, I came
across a deserted island in
the Caribbean. It offered all
I could dream of ? solitude,
nature, incredible seascapes
and a new culture to submerge
myself in.?
In January 2014, she bought
her paradise island, a cay off
the coast of Belize. ?I had been
to Belize ? formerly British
Willow Reed left
Somerset to live
on a deserted
island off the
coast of Belize.
Three years later,
she decided to
return home,
and her cay is
on the market
for �0,000
Honduras ? when I visited
Central America. My Spanish
is appalling and Belize is
English-speaking. I fell in love
with the country, so, when I
saw the ad, I flew to Cancun and
took the overnight bus to Belize
City, then a little ?chicken bus?
to Hopkins, a coastal village.?
The vendor?s agent took her
by boat to the island. ?On the
way over, we saw two dolphins,
a mother jumping in one
direction and a baby dolphin
jumping the other way. I took it
as an epiphany and knew that,
whatever happened, I was
going to go forward.?
They pulled up on the beach
and did the deal there and then.
?I had borrowed �0,000 from
the bank, and that?s what I paid
for 3.98 acres of mangrove
island. With cash from the
sale of my mother?s house, I
bought a boat and a motor, built
a jetty and installed solar and
rain-collection systems.?
Willow also shored up the
buildings ? a three-bedroom
wooden house and a cabin. It?s
a bit rustic, but there?s a fridge
and an outside shower. The
main event, however, is the sea:
?The snorkelling is incredible
and the sunsets are fabulous.?
The plan was simple, the
reality less so. ?I wanted an
alternative life, away from
society, and to experience
simple living away from the
pressures of the modern world.
I threw myself into it, fishing for
food, swimming every day and
letting mother nature do her
thing. I had a Man Friday by the
name of Captain Breeze, who
lived on the cay and taught me
what I needed to know. It was
a wonderful adventure.?
Yet it was also an uphill
struggle on a tight budget. ?I
was forever going back and
forth to collect volunteers.
They came from all over the
world through Workaway.info
and Helpx.net, swapping
labour for accommodation. I
needed help taking seaweed
and coral to the swampy centre,
which I?d been filling in to plant
papaya trees, tomatoes and
coconut palms. But they were
fresh out of university, and I got
fed up chasing them. It also
occurred to me that the job
needed mechanical diggers.
All I had was a wheelbarrow.?
By then, Willow was 39, and
she didn?t want to end her
thirties sitting on a desert island
hoping to meet someone. She
also needed to make money to
reinvest in the cay. Eventually,
she realised she needed to be
back among her own tribe and
returned to the Plough, full of
appreciation for her experience.
It has been cathartic, she says,
?like pressing the reset button
on my life? ? but she?s happy
to be home.
Willow?s cay is on the market
for �0,000 through Kieran
Weisburg at McCloy Legal;
mccloylegal.com
Lucy Ward had an enviable life,
working for internationally
renowned art galleries and
living in groovy Hackney, east
London, but she gave it up to
flee empty-handed to Cornwall.
?I was finding the capital
exhausting, high-pressured and
stressful,? she says. ?I began to
feel a lack of love for this thing
I adored. I was working with art
patrons and fundraising, which
moved me away from a more
hands-on role, working with
artists. I was 32 and completely
wiped out. I realised I needed
to take time out.?
Two years on, she?s never
been happier. ?I was lucky ?
a friend?s mum offered me a
cheap place to stay in north
Cornwall for a month.? Lucy
didn?t waste a minute. ?It was
an incredible opportunity. I had
saved, but I didn?t have much
money, which galvanised me
to put myself out there and
make those calls. There were
serendipitous meetings with
interesting people, enough to
make me think it might be
possible to start a new life,
working on my own time,
picking from all the skills I?d
learnt along the way.?
Originally from Cambridge,
Lucy had a fine art degree
from Falmouth University. ?I
imagined that I?d be an artist,
but when I plunged into the
real world, I realised that was
quite difficult.? Instead, when
she was 22, she got an
internship with an art gallery
in Australia. ?After a week,
the gallery manager left, so I
filled in and ran it for a year.
At 22, I was running a small
commercial gallery in
ad
The Sunday Times August 27, 2017 13
Going coastal
Lucy Ward, left,
quit the London
rat race to start
a new life in
Cornwall.
American Mary
Manley, right,
moved to
Northumberland
for love, then set
up a successful
second-hand
bookshop there
Melbourne, learning on the job
? the best possible training.?
After that, she moved to
London, where she spent five
years working with established
figurative artists at the Mall
Galleries. Then she had a
two-year stint at Parasol Unit,
a not-for-profit foundation for
contemporary art, set up to
support emerging artists. She
followed that with a job at the
ICA, in central London.
In Cornwall, with its
flourishing art scene, all this
went down well. ?There?s a
new flurry of creative people
??
I wanted to live an
alternative life, away
from society, and
experience simple
living away from the
pressures of the
modern world
realising you don?t have to live
in London,? Lucy says. ?More
young people are moving back
or coming to settle because it is
affordable and inspiring. People
are keen to help you out.?
Now she?s an art consultant.
?I help artists, galleries and
creative people with anything.
Jethro Jackson is a successful
painter and savvy businessman
who needed help with
marketing, social media and
putting together a coffee-table
monograph-type book. We
also made a short film of him
in the studio.? In addition,
she works a couple of days a
week for Anima-Mundi, a
contemporary gallery in St Ives,
and fundraises for theatre and
dance companies.
At first Lucy lived in the tiny
village of St Mabyn, but she
soon moved to the seaside
town of Newquay. ?I missed a
bit of busy-ness. Hackney to
St Mabyn was quite a jump,
and I wanted to be able to walk
to the sea. I moved here slightly
by accident, but it was a happy
accident, because I love it.?
Lucy found a beautiful
two-bedroom flat in an old
Victorian house that costs
�0 a month to rent, and
shares it with a friend. ?In
Hackney, I was paying �0
a month for a room in a
four-bedroom shared house,?
she says. She?s found more
than just a new way of life.
?I arrived a single woman, and
my next-door neighbour is
now my boyfriend. He fixed my
bicycle, I invited him to my
birthday party, and that was a
year and a half ago. He is
another escapee.?
She says she feels like a
completely different person. ?I
am happy, though not carefree,
because I?m self-employed and
there?s a pressure to earn
money. And I?ve made some
wonderful friends ? without
that, it would be hard for me to
stay. I am earning less than I
was, but I wanted to forge my
own path. And I swim in the sea
every morning.? You can?t do
that in London.
lucyward-arts.com
It would be good to report that
a love of old books brought the
American Mary Manley to
the market town of Alnwick,
in Northumberland, but it was
nothing of the sort. It was there
that she launched what has
become one of the largest
second-hand book emporiums
in Europe, but the prompt was
a scribbled note chucked in her
direction on a flight.
The missive was brief: raise
your hand if you?d like to talk.
Intrigued, she raised a hand,
then Stuart Manley moved over
for a chat. They married three
years later and she found
herself in Northumberland,
aged about 50, knowing
nobody and with no job. Stuart
had an ailing business in the
town?s former train station,
manufacturing things for model
railways. Money was tight.
?As I tell people often,
there?s nothing more inspiring
than an overdraft,? says Mary,
who had worked in an
antiquarian bookshop in
Greenwich Village, New York,
before coming to the UK.
?The only thing that I knew
anything about was books,
and I thought maybe I could
start a second-hand bookshop
and have a little barter system.
Stuart liked the idea and said,
?Let?s give it a go.??
That was 26 years ago, so she
could be in her seventies now.
(?If you ask me my age, I just
lie,? she says.) Barter Books
moved into the old station and
began a book-swapping
operation: customers bring in
volumes and are given credit to
spend in the shop. At first they
dealt only in paperbacks ?
cheaper and smaller ? but as
the shop expanded further
into the building, they moved
into hardbacks and the
antiquarian market.
They are firm about what
they will take: no textbooks,
nothing from Book of the
Month Club, and everything in
good condition unless it?s
special ? they pay cash in that
case, or twice as much in barter
value. The cheapest books on
the shelves are 30p Mills &
Boons; the most expensive right
now is a Kelmscott Chaucer,
priced at �,000.
The shop gets thousands of
visitors, attracted by the books
and the quirky eccentricity of
a place with murals of former
railway employees and authors,
original tiles, a light-up art
installation and model trains
that chug round the shelves.
It?s as much a tourist attraction
as a bookshop.
?Stuart is marvellous at
dealing with cash flow ? you
have to be canny or you don?t
survive ? but he combines it
with ethics,? Mary says.
?There?s no hanky-panky
here. Some of our books are
priced too high, but others
are priced too low. And we are
good employers. In other
words, when we die, we will go
to heaven.?
Barter Books employs 50-60
people, not all full-time, and
stocks about 350,000 books.
Mary and Stuart are in the shop
every day, and they even live on
site, renting the former station
master?s house. ?You get up and
go to work, seven days a week.
Two big upshots: we don?t have
to work by committee, and
that?s been heaven, and we can
take off when we want to.?
Stuart, 74, was the one who
found the thing they are most
famous for ? apart from the
books. Back in 2000, he was
sifting through a box of
hardbacks bought at auction
when he saw something folded
at the bottom. ?I opened it out,
and I thought, ?Wow. That?s
quite something.? I showed it to
Mary and she agreed. So we
framed it and put it up on the
bookshop wall. And that?s
where it all started.?
What he had found was an
original Keep Calm and Carry
On poster, printed 60 years
earlier in case of German
invasion, then forgotten. They
reproduced it, and so, soon,
did others. Then everybody
else. ?It?s been massive, but we
haven?t got rich on it, because
it?s out of copyright,? Mary says.
This business is not about
making a fortune. ?I am
extremely grateful to
Northumberland because I?ve
found something I can do that
I really love,? she says. ?It finally
came together in the job I
wanted all along ? creating,
with Stuart, Barter Books. I
can?t imagine many places on
this earth with a site so open to
what I like. And the weather is
good for bookshops, too ? ?Just
get us out of this rain.??
barterbooks.co.uk
14 August 27, 2017 The Sunday Times
ILLUSTRATOR: MICHAEL DRIVER
Home Expertss
THE BEST
CORDLESS HEDGE
TRIMMERS
Stihl HSA 56 Set, 99/100;
�9; stihl.co.uk
� Excellent results: cuts
through hedges and
bushes with ease
� Useful safety latch
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� Lightweight and
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� Good size
� Easy to operate
� Comes with battery and
charger. Shows battery life
� Pricey
Bosch ASB 10.8 LI Shrub
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98/100; �6; diy.com
� Designed for cutting
grass, shrubs and shaping.
It comes with three
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� Reasonably priced
� Blade guards for
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� Great for rounding edges
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� Compact and
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� Shows battery life
� For thicker areas, it
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goodhousekeeping.co.uk/
institute
READERS?
CLINIC
HOW DO I DETER
SPIDERS?
N Reed, east London
Heather Renfree, via email
Collect conkers, place in
areas prone to spiders. Or
try No More Spiders spray.
Vivien Lewis, via email
Put one or two conkers
in corners, drawers,
cupboards and shelves.
Replace every year.
Pat Wadsworth, via email
Horse chestnuts (conker
variety), placed near spider
access points. The season
to collect is almost here.
Clare Maceachen, via email
Conkers on window sills.
Peppermint spray is also a
supposed deterrent.
Jen Ashbridge, via email
Conkers by outside doors
and places they sneak in.
My house is arachnid-free.
Future question How do
I clean the inside of glass
salt and pepper mills?
Send your tips, tricks and
questions to homehelp@
sunday-times.co.uk
QUESTION OF
THE WEEK
SHOULD I BUY A
TV MIRROR?
Q
I am a widow, and
wish to replace the
large-screen TV
my husband loved
with a smaller one
inside a mirror,
to hang above
the fireplace.
What are the
pros and cons of
TV mirrors?
Sue Roscoe Watts,
via email
A
HOME
HELP
Derelict house next door, or an avocado tree
that?s shedding leaves? Our experts are on hand
Q
Our neighbour?s empty
property is derelict, and
it has hurt the value of
our terraced house.
A water leak from his
home has been affecting
our property for a year.
The water authority is still
trying to gain access to
deal with it. Our insurance
company will only pay our
claim once the leak next
door is remedied.
Last November our
neighbour?s house was set
on fire by an arsonist, but
the police haven?t solved
the case. Afterwards, the
building was partially
cleared by a restoration
company, contracted by our
neighbour?s insurer, but it
is still boarded up and
uninhabitable. There is no
sign of repairs being done.
Nobody knows where the
neighbour is. How might we
find out what is being done
to restore his home? And if
we had to sell our house
below market value owing
to the derelict property,
would we be able to recover
the difference in cost from
our neighbour?
MW, via email
A
To find out what is being
done to repair the house,
try to track down the
owner?s contact details by
searching the Land Registry
(although this may simply
provide you with the address
of your neighbour?s home).
If you have no luck there, get
in touch with the council.
All local authorities are
charged with trying to get
vacant properties back into
occupation. Ask the building
control department about its
policy for such homes and
ask for the name of the empty
property officer, so you have a
contact. Ask other neighbours
to voice their concern.
Local authorities can:
l Serve improvement notices
on the owner ? this could
include requiring works to
remedy the leak
l Deal with dangerous
buildings
l React if an empty building
causes a nuisance under
environmental protection
legislation
l If ignored, the council can
do the works itself and charge
the owner. If the latter doesn?t
pay, the council can instigate
an enforced sale
l Issue empty dwelling
management orders and
compulsory purchase orders.
These are a last resort, and
it can take years to reach
this stage.
As for selling your house at
reduced price and recovering
costs, though we are not
lawyers, I suspect it would
be hard to prove your case in
court. Even if you did, would
your neighbour be able to pay?
You?d be better off spending
your energy on getting the
owner or the council to fix the
leak and restore the property.
Paula Higgins, chief executive,
HomeOwners Alliance;
hoa.org.uk
Q
I have an avocado tree,
but it sheds its leaves at
an alarming rate. How
can I slow this process?
Neil Davis, via email
A
The loss of leaves is a sure
sign that your avocado
requires potting into a
larger container. Once the
roots become congested, they
either trap too much moisture
or become bone dry, both of
which will turn the leaves
Having a mirror that
becomes a television
at the flick of a switch
will appeal to anyone who
doesn?t like the look of a big
black screen. It is now hard
to tell that a TV mirror is
more than just a normal
one, and the picture quality
is excellent.
A minor drawback is that
the speakers are sometimes
not as effective as they
would be on a normal TV,
because they are hidden
behind the mirror. If the
room is large, it may be
sensible to have an extra
sound bar or two (to act as
extra speakers). On the
whole, though, sound and
ventilation are not problems:
only a small gap is needed
between the TV and the wall.
It is best to avoid hanging
a TV mirror directly in front
of a window or other light
source, but that advice
also applies to a normal
television. If you look closely
and from a certain angle ?
especially with cheaper TV
canary yellow. Be warned,
though: the avocado is the
house-plant equivalent of a
cuckoo, and unless you live in
an Eden Project biome, it will
soon outgrow its new pot and
demand one that?s even bigger.
As they won?t survive outdoors
in this country, perhaps it?s
time to sow another seed and
start all over again.
Toby Buckland is a garden
writer and the host of
tobygardenfest.co.uk
Q
My bathroom has a
polished marble floor,
but it now has several
water marks that I can?t
remove. What can I do?
Deanna Kaye, London NW4
A
First you need to know if
you are dealing with a
water mark or an etch
mark (where the surface of the
marble has come into contact
with something acidic).
To identify which you have,
run a finger over the affected
area. Water marks are likely to
leave the surface slightly raised
(they can also attract more dirt
or scum), whereas etch marks
tend to leave a small dent.
mirrors ? you can see a faint
line in the mirror where the
TV screen stops and starts.
In better mirrors such as
Crystal Mirror, Magic Crystal
Mirror and Silver Magic,
however, this is all but
invisible. Cheaper mirrors
are a bit darker, too, but only
by 2%, which is hardly
noticeable.
At Studio Indigo,
we tend to design
joinery so the
TV mirror is
integrated within
a ?wall? or a
panel created a
few centimetres in
front of the existing wall.
This allows for ventilation
and cabling to be hidden
within it.
We often work with
Cornflake (cornflake.co.uk),
an AV and home automation
specialist, which
recommends Ad-Notam as
a manufacturer. A mirror
alone for a 55in TV screen
can cost up to �000,
including installation.
A more affordable
alternative would be
an off-the-shelf design
from Mirrortvs.com or
Overmantels (overmantels.
co.uk), which has an array
of classic and antique-style
frames in several sizes.
Prices for TV mirrors start at
about �500 for a 32in TV,
rising to as much as �000
for a 75in model. Samsung
makes thin HD TVs, which
are popular. If you want to
hide wiring or cabling, the
work can usually be
completed in half a day and
starts at about �0.
Luis Paris, head of technical
design at Studio Indigo;
studioindigo.co.uk
To deal with a water mark,
use fine wire wool (0000
grade). Dry the area, then
gently rub the wool over the
mark in a circular motion until
it has gone. Finish with a
marble cleaner ? there are
plenty on the market ? and a
soft clean towel.
If it is an etch mark, apply
a polishing powder to it. One
we know is MB Stone Care?s
MB-11 (�.50; mbstonecare.
co.uk). Clean the area around
the mark, then sprinkle on
the powder. Spray a few times
with water, then gently scrub
with a cloth, also lightly
sprayed. Twenty seconds to a
minute should do.
Don?t scrub too hard, just
work quickly. If the mark
remains, go a bit harder or
repeat. If none of this works,
contact a professional marble
cleaning company.
Wayne Perrey and Steph Bron,
founders of thediydoers.com
DO YOU NEED HELP FROM
ONE OF OUR EXPERTS?
Email your questions to
homehelp@sundaytimes.co.uk. Advice is given
without responsibility
The Sunday Times August 27, 2017 15
HOW TO...
BUY ANTIQUES
The collector is back. After a
slow death by flatpack, we
have started collecting ?to
display ourselves?, according
to says Mark Hill, a BBC
Antiques Roadshow expert
and author. ?It?s about
reflecting what you love.?
Unlike our parents, we
don?t curate rooms full of
matchy-matchy Georgian
furniture. Unique trumps
ubiquitous for the Instagram
generation, so we mix high
street and handmade, fiver
and fortune, new and old.
?An antique adds meaning ?
it adds soul,? Hill says. ?You
don?t get that with a Billy
bookcase, do you??
WHAT CAN I EXPECT TO PAY?
Thanks to a 45% drop in
prices since 2002, according
to the Antique Collectors?
Club, there has never been a
better time to buy ?brown
furniture? ? Georgian and
Victorian household staples.
?An unrestored George III
mahogany chest of drawers
can be bought at auction for
as little as �,? says Jeremy
Lamond, an auctioneer at
Halls of Shrewsbury and a
#bringbackbrownfurniture
Twitter campaigner. The
same piece, renovated, costs
?several hundred pounds?.
Yet the best craftsmanship
has kept its value, says Mary
Claire Boyd, director of Art &
Antiques Fair Olympia.
Exhibits at its winter fair
include a secretaire cabinet
with stone inlays for �,000
(October 31-November 5;
olympia-antiques.com).
Vetted fairs such as those
at Olympia offer top quality
Christie?s (christies.com)
and Lots Road, in Chelsea
(lotsroad.com). Bid online at
the-saleroom.com, which
covers most British auctions.
l Online platforms Search
hundreds of dealers?
inventories via portals such as
1stdibs.com, sellingantiques.
co.uk, antiques-atlas.com ?
and, yes, ebay.co.uk.
HOW DO I HAGGLE?
HOW DO I CART IT ALL HOME?
WHAT SHOULD I TAKE ALONG?
WHERE SHOULD I SHOP?
l Vetted fairs At the top-end
shows, experts check each
item?s authenticity, but you
will find little under �0.
Olympia is the largest; rivals
in London are Masterpiece
(masterpiecefair.com) and
fairs held by antique dealers?
associations (badafair.com;
lapadalondon.com). Antiques
for Everyone, held three
times a year at the NEC, in
Birmingham, is the only vetted
show outside the capital
(antiquesforeveryone.co.uk).
l Decorative fairs Uniting
antiques with interior design,
the Decorative Antiques &
Textiles Fair, in Battersea Park,
south London, is ?great for
the eclectic look?, Hill says
(decorativefair.com).
Somerset?s shows are rapidly
A torch and wellies to brave
a muddy field in winter, and
carrier bags or a rucksack
to carry off your haul. Have
blankets and bubble wrap in
the car. Take cash to outdoor
markets; high-end fairs and
auctions accept cards.
head of furniture at Bonhams
auction house in Scotland.
?Unless you are a great
expert, don?t simply buy as
an investment.?
Go for quality over quantity.
?One fabulous piece becomes
the centre of attention,? says
Daniel Hopwood, a judge on
BBC2?s The Great Interior
Design Challenge.
Avoid poor repairs, such
as screws instead of
replacement wooden dowels
? turn the piece over to
check ? and poor imitations
described as ?in the style of?.
Don?t buy without a receipt
that is clear about the item?s
age; you wouldn?t accept that
when buying a car.
catching up (bathdecorative
antiquesfair.co.uk; bruton
decorativeantiquesfair.co.uk).
l Big outdoor markets
The TK Maxx to the vetted
fairs? Dior, these markets are
bargain-hunting territory ?
and the further out of London
you go, the more ?affordable?
they get. For details of fairs
countrywide, visit iacf.co.uk.
Newark, in Nottinghamshire,
hosts the biggest in Europe.
Vintage boutiques stock up
twice a month at Sunbury, in
Surrey (sunburyantiques.
com), and at the Lincolnshire
Antiques & Home Show
(asfairs.com). Go direct and
pay trade prices.
l Antiques warehouses As
shop rates rise, dealers are
quitting the high street to
rent space in big antiques
centres such as Lorfords?s
hangar in Gloucestershire
(lorfordsantiques.com).
Hertfordshire has the
25,000 sq ft Bushwood
(bushwood.co.uk) and
Edinburgh the 50,000 sq ft
Georgian Antiques
(georgianantiques.net).
l Auction houses Though
auctioneers charge 20%-25%
on top of your successful bid,
you can ?make silly offers if
no one else is bidding?, says
the interior designer Harriet
Anstruther. She favours
?Some discounts offered for
the TV cameras would be
considered rude in real life,?
Lamond says. ?Don?t demand
50% off ? ask for the best
price.? Don?t endlessly point
out faults, Hill adds. ?Show
you?re genuinely interested.
Explain where the piece
would go, and why you like it,
but say you just don?t have
that much money.?
WHAT MUST I LOOK OUT FOR?
Above all, buy something you
love, says Bruce Addison,
Most auctions and dealers
will be able to offer a delivery
service or arrange to have
an item delivered for you.
Big fairs have stands with
carriers on site. To save on
costs, book a man with a van
via shiply.com or anyvan.
com, so bigger items can be
collected from the dealer at
a convenient later date. ?I
wouldn?t hire a van, then go,?
Hill advises. ?You may feel
obliged to fill it.?
Martina Lees
16 August 27, 2017 The Sunday Times
Home Interiors
THE NEW
DEALS
There are plenty of sales bargains to be found
beyond the high street, says Katrina Burroughs
B
link and you could
have missed the
main summer
sales this year.
The big high-street
names are already winding
up their clearances to make
way for new-season stock.
But that doesn?t mean you?ve
missed the best bargains ?
the high street is only a small
part of the sales story.
We?ve scoured our favourite
sources to bring you some of
the sweetest deals still
available, from the furniture
firms that aren?t in every town
centre to the less well-known
decorative accessories labels.
It?s also worth keeping in mind
that bargains are available all
year round if you know where
to look.
The British fabric brand
Fermoie has a factory outlet
in Marlborough. There is a
store stocking seconds and
discontinued lines at Burleigh
Pottery, in the Middleport
factory, Stoke-on-Trent, and
Fired Earth has a factory
outlet in Banbury that stocks
discontinued tiles and paint,
where you might also find
ex-display kitchens and
bathrooms up to 70% off.
If you haven?t yet set foot in
a Homesense, now is the time
to remedy that regrettable
oversight. Launched in 2008,
the interiors arm of TK Maxx
is an off-price retailer, rather
than an outlet store, offering
discounts of up to 60% on an
ever-changing stock of spendy
labels. It?s growing at an
astonishing rate ? its 50th
store opened this month in
Greenwich, southeast London
? and is well worth a regular
rummage. Happy hunting.
Cross your fingers
for an Indian
summer and invest
in bargainous
Belgrave garden
furniture. Though
it looks like teak,
it?s made from
FSC-certified
eucalyptus
hardwood. The
set includes a
two-seater sofa
(W133cm x
D95cm), two
armchairs and a
coffee table
(W130cm x
D75cm). Sale ends
on September 15.
Was �9, now
�9; outandout
original.com
43%
OFF
TIMES +
Subscribers can buy
six bottles of Lobster
Shack Chardonnay
Viognier 2016 for
just �99 a bottle.
You?ll enjoy a �
saving and free
delivery (normally
�99). To redeem
this offer, visit
mytimesplus.co.uk
Habitat?s
offers for
the bank
holiday include
up to 20% off
ceiling lights and
up to 30% off
lamps and shades.
The Bobby desk
lamp, pictured,
is made from
powder-coated
metal in various
colours. Sale
finishes tomorrow.
Was �, now
�.50; habitat.
co.uk
These Bloom glazed steel plates and
bowls can go straight from oven to
table: they?re dishwasher-safe and
you can even use them on the hob.
Plate, 18cm, was �, now � pasta
plate, 23cm, was �, now �; bowl,
14cm, was �, now � angled bowl,
17cm, was �, now �
brassicamercantile.co.uk
20%
OFF
41%
OFF
10%
OFF
One.World sources well-priced furniture
and accessories in styles from modern
rustic to contemporary glamour, including
this Marlborough oak dining chair.
Was �5, now �0; one.world
Tickled pink by
Arlo & Jacob?s
Hartfield sofa?
There?s 10% off all
showroom, online
and telephone
sales at Arlo &
Jacob until
Tuesday. Shown
in Romo?s Linara
fabric in Camellia,
the couch
measures W194cm
x D91cm. It?s
pictured with
the Hartfield
footstool (was
�0, now �3).
Was �957,
now �761;
arloandjacob.com
The Sunday Times August 27, 2017 17
51%
OFF
20%
OFF
Is there a better name for a bed than Fredd? This kingsize
bedstead in tan leather, with a comfy headboard, rejoices
in that handle. The design is available with or without
storage, in a choice of sizes and colours. Snap one up in
the Habitat sale, which ends tomorrow.
Was �5, now �6; habitat.co.uk
An industrial-style
light with added snazz,
at better than half price?
This is a real winner
from One.World. The
handsome Kenmore
34%
OFF
25%
OFF
For fans of modern
rustic, this is the website
to watch. Farmhouse
Table Company, a
Devon workshop, makes
much of its output to
order. Until next
Sunday, there?s a deal
on Spindle Back
dining chairs: solid
oak seats with a light
matt lacquer.
Was �5, now �0;
farmhousetable
company.co.uk
Made in Suffolk, Tree to
Table is a collaboration
by Anthony Dickens
and Sebastian Cox for
Heal?s. The W200cm x
D85cm dining table has
a limed beech top and
iron legs.
Was �650, now
�855; heals.com
pendant (22.5cm
diameter) has a
brass finish and a
metal cage.
Was �0, now �;
one.world
The British fabric brand
Fermoie doesn?t hold a
summer sale, but every
Wednesday, or any
time by appointment,
its factory outlet in
Marlborough is open
to view and purchase
colour trials, end of
lines and overstocks
at reduced prices.
Cushions now in stock
include the Self Piped
cushion in blue/green
Wicker and the
contrast-piped Colonel
plain linen cushion.
Both are 43cm square.
Was �, now �;
fermoie.com
24%
OFF
The Cement Tiles rug (250cm x
170cm) is 100% wool. Made by the
Tunisian design studio Marlo &
Isaure, it?s available from Nisi Living,
which specialises in furniture and
Here?s a bargain for
fans of industrial
chic: grey glazed
Cement-Tech
porcelain tiles
(80cm x 40cm)
inspired by factory
floors. Sale
continues until the
end of September.
Was �.76 per
tile, now �.78;
geminitiles.co.uk
38%
OFF
Pooky is a great website for
decorative lighting, with plenty of
colour and pattern. Among the
best of the bargains during its
clearance (until mid-September)
is the hand-painted ceramic
Palmyra table lamp base (H40cm x
W25cm). It?s shown here with the
Straight Empire shade (50cm
diameter) in Terracotta linen.
Was �5, now �; pooky.com
41%
OFF
21%
OFF
30%
OFF
accessories in Boho Beach and
Modern Mediterranean style.
Offer runs to September 10.
Was �250, now �0;
nisiliving.co.uk
Sales shopping needn?t
be for necessities. The
clearances can supply
an impulse buy or two
that will bring a bit of
fun to your decor, like
this ceramic parrot salt
and pepper set from
Rockett St George.
Was �, now �50;
rockettstgeorge.co.uk
50%
OFF
18 August 27, 2017 The Sunday Times
A POTTED
GUIDE TO...
BOX CATERPILLAR WOE
Cydalima perspectalis is the
box tree caterpillar ? and, if
you don?t already have it, I?m
afraid it?s coming soon to a
box ball near you. It lays pale
yellow eggs on the underside
of the leaves, which hatch
green and yellow caterpillars
with black heads. These
munch away, leaving crispy
brown leaves and making
you angry and sad.
IN THE GARDEN
THIS WEEK
l
Inspect your patch and
consider what has and hasn?t
worked over the summer.
Think about replacing some
of the earlier summer things
with plants that will serve you
at this time: asters, echinacea,
rudbeckia, grasses.
l Were you able to manage
the garden or outdoor space
within a sensible time frame?
If things got away from you,
a simple trick is to make room
for permanent plantings in
containers and put them in
Sprays will nuke the critters,
along with all beneficial insects.
If that doesn?t appeal, try hand
removal. It?s time-consuming
and unpleasant, but effective
if you do it regularly, keeping
in mind that this moth has
more than one life cycle a year,
and that the caterpillars will
overwinter on the plant.
Too gross for you? Then take
the nematode route: Nemasys
fruit and vegetable protection
(� for a three-month supply)
is effective. I have just ordered
Topbuxus Xentari (�), which
claims to kill caterpillars, but
not bees ? beekeepers use it
to control moths. I cannot
vouch for it yet, though.
This pest isn?t going away
any time soon, so if you want
box, you?ll have to commit to
it big time. Personally, I will
be phasing out my box and
replacing it with yew,
Pittosporum tobira ?Nanum?,
Sarcococca confusa or Lonicera
nitida, all of which respond
well to clipping and none of
which will break my heart.
ABDUL YUSUFU
CUTTINGS
Home Gardening
Laetitia Maklouf
the ground. They will need less
care once they are settled, and
will grow much better than
they ever did in their pots.
l Continue to sow salad leaves
to ensure a steady supply ? no
need for leaves in plastic bags
from the supermarket. Sow on
a cut-and-come-again basis
once every three weeks or
so, harvesting individual
leaves every day. Your salad
will keep in the fridge for a few
days if you line the container
with paper towel.
l Turn the compost heap ? it
will get things rotting down
more efficiently. The goal is to
get everything on the edges
into the middle and vice versa.
l Hard-working perennials
such as geraniums can look
rather tired now, left, but if
you chop them down to the
ground, you?ll get a second
flush of foliage that will look
fresh and beautiful, and keep
the garden looking neat.
Remember to water well every
day for at least a week if you
do this in hot weather.
WE DIG
We don?t know how many pairs
of gardening gloves William
Morris owned ? he famously
said: ?Have nothing in your
houses that you do not know
to be useful or believe to be
beautiful? ? but the briars of
his Golden Lily design adorn
this new pair. They are
practical and thankfully free
of the pink or purple that
typically denote a lady?s glove.
Ideal for a bit of autumn
pruning and leaf-gathering,
the gloves are part of a gift
set, along with a decently
emollient shea butter hand
cream that?s similarly
lightweight on the lily scent.
We?re not sure what Morris
would make of the matching
Golden Lily emery board.
�; johnlewis.com
CACTUS
PLANT
The spiky succulents on garden-centre shelves aren?t
grown in the desert, but in a vast greenhouse in Belgium.
James Gillespie visits the sharp end of the supply chain
The Sunday Times August 27, 2017 19
??
Cristata plants
have additional
bulges that give the
impression of a
plant gone rogue
and trying to
escape its pot
H
ans Van de
Voorde holds a
small pot in his
hands and raises
it reverentially.
It contains one of the smallest
cactus plants you are ever
likely to see. Van de Voorde, a
cactus connoisseur, developed
a love of horticulture at the age
of 12. Now, at 52, he stands
among line after line of tables
covered with more than
20,000 specimens.
In the small Belgian town of
Lochristi, near Ghent, he runs
a specialist cactus nursery that
supplies Wyevale, the biggest
garden-centre chain in Britain.
If you have one of the prickly
plants ? they?re bang on trend
? there?s a chance it spent time
in the court of this cactus king.
Here in the nursery, the
plants stretch out over an area
of 10,000 sq ft and grow under
plastic and glass. There are
cacti that tower over us,
others that are smaller than a
fingernail and some that are
100 years old. Amid the green
expanse are brilliant flashes
of colour: yellow flowers
sprout out of the areoles of
some; others have pink, red
or purple flowers.
?You need to have the
colours,? Van de Voorde says.
?They can be so beautiful.?
Well, perhaps. But a few seem
to have taken on the shape
of the human brain, some
look like gnarly hands, and
there?s one particularly ugly
specimen. ?Ah, yes,? he says.
?That one is Belgian.?
Van de Voorde is a keen
grafter and breeds various
species of cacti. ?Cristata on
the left, normal on the right,?
he declares, striding through
the main greenhouse. Cristata
are the plants with additional
growth, bulges that often
give the impression of a plant
gone rogue and trying to
escape its pot. There is one
that looks like a yellow-gloved
hand growing on top of a
green stem ? ?Chamaecereus
silvestris,? he says. Another,
Austrocylindropuntia vestita,
looks as if it?s been wrapped in
cotton wool.
Van de Voorde?s enthusiasm
is infectious. His job is
all-consuming and he?s never
far away from his plants ?
his home is at the end of the
greenhouse. ?You?ve got to
be on it,? he says. He makes
two trips a year to Tenerife,
where he sources plants from
growers. Every six or seven
years, he heads to South Africa
to do the same. With his wife
and two employees, he handles
about 2m plants a year.
Deliveries come from all
over the world, but one of his
main suppliers is based in
South Africa. The pace is
unrelenting, so much so that
his three children have no
intention of following him into
the business. ?They have seen
it is hard work,? he says.
He adores his plants ?
?On Sunday I come here, no
phones, no music. I come
just to look? ? but he does
acknowledge that one can
smother cacti with love.
?Don?t love them too much ?
if you treat them too well,
they will not flower. People
sometimes use too much
fertiliser. They grow quickly,
but they are not nice.?
Van de Voorde?s plants
sell for up to �0 in the UK,
though a Saudi sheikh recently
spent �000 on one of his
specimens. The larger ones
are popular with interior
designers, the smaller plants
with the domestic consumer.
So, which is his favourite?
There?s a long pause. ?All of
them,? he says diplomatically.
Back in London, Gynelle
Leon, a Royal Horticultural
Society award-winning plant
photographer, has an array of
cacti on shelves and plinths.
She is the founder of the
only shop in the capital
dedicated to cacti and
succulents ? Prick, in trendy
Dalston. It sells more than 150
types of cacti, with prices
ranging from �to �5.
Prick is also the title of a
book that Leon, 31, has written
and photographed. Due out
in October, it?s a guide to
choosing, styling and caring
for the hipster-friendly plant.
?My love of cacti and
succulents was born from the
fact they are so resilient and so
sculptural,? she says. ?They
can take on such interesting
shapes, forms and structures.?
The shop?s clientele mainly
consists of those aged between
25 and 35. More women than
men pass through the front
door, and they?re often from
the creative industries ?
interior designers, architects.
Leon has also noticed that
brides are starting to use
succulents as favours or in
their wedding bouquets.
The humble cactus has
become oh so fashionable in
Britain, cropping up on
everything from T-shirts and
inflatables to tumblers and
bedding, but the popularity
of the plant appears to be
largely down to the fact that it
needs so little maintenance.
Patrick Wall, horticultural
buyer for Wyevale, says sales
at its garden centres have
jumped by 28% in the past
three years.
?They need almost no care
? you water them and that?s
essentially it,? says Wall, who
buys the company?s cacti
from Van de Voorde. ?There
are thousands of varieties ?
you can even produce your
own through grafting.?
Cacti are suited to
apartment living and
balconies, so city dwellers in
particular have taken them
to heart. ?Prickly on the
outside, but on the inside ?
people get really attached to
their cacti,? Wall says. ?They
embrace the purchase ? well,
not literally.?
HOW TO
CARE FOR
YOUR CACTI
Some varieties will have
specific needs, but if you
follow these general tips,
your cacti should live a long
and happy life.
l To allow for sufficient
water drainage, do not pack
your compost too densely.
l Most cacti prefer living in
a light, sunny position.
l During the winter, put
your plant in a cooler
place (8C-10C) and water
sparingly ? the soil should
be allowed to dry out.
l From spring to autumn,
water regularly. Compost is
best kept dry, though, so do
drain any excess water.
l Try to mimic a natural
season and climate
conditions: this will
encourage your cactus
to flower in ?active? months
(generally spring and
summer) when plants are
given more water.
Sales spike
Hans Van de
Voorde, above,
handles about
2m cacti a year
at his nursery
in Lochristi,
Belgium, left.
Below, Gynelle
Leon, who runs
Prick, the only
dedicated cactus
shop in London
22 August 27, 2017 The Sunday Times
Home
MARC MILLAR;GETTY; REX
TIME AND
SPACE
TOM
KITCHIN
Tom dreams of living among
the vineyards of Provence
The Scottish chef on 17-hour
shifts, his cookbook collection
? and sleeping on a lilo in Paris
VINE
ROMANCE
W
?I couldn?t live
without a
Thermomix?
Tom found an
unconventional
use for a lilo
Pierre Koffmann
passed on all of
his cookbooks
hen I was three, we
moved from our family
home in Edinburgh to
live on a farm in
Kinross. It would be
easy to assume that that?s where I
developed my love of the countryside and
seasonal food and game, but the truth is, I
was sports-mad as a kid. I wasn?t learning
secret recipes at any family member?s
knee ? though my grandmother was a
great traditional cook.
It was washing dishes at a wee pub near
Loch Leven that introduced me to the
buzz of working in a team. No way did I
ever set out to be a celebrity
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