Before they moved to France in the mid-90s, my grandparents lived in an old house in the Cotswolds. It was properly magic — packed with trinkets and bowing book shelves to the tops of its wonky corridors, its deepest corners. A bazaar of strange gems and rugs and books and videos and artefacts, and many of Gran’s still-life paintings.

Outside was a greenhouse that smelled so strongly of soil and tomatoes.

When you stayed, Gran would take god knows how many pillows and make a kind of nest on your bed. You’d clamber in and she’d read to you. She still tells a story of me being hysterical because Fantastic Mr Fox got his tail blasted off.

My grandparents are my favourite storytellers. They’ve always told the best anecdotes, myths, experiences. And I’ve always collected them. Their new house is still wallpapered with books. These shelves are in their library at the top of the house — their original Penguin section. It’s one of my favourite places in the world.


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