I find myself in a small flat about ten minutes walk from our house. I said as much over the telephone to a friend and before I knew it, the rumour had gone up that my domestic bliss was bliss no longer and that I was living solo. 'And her husband seemed such a nice man,' exclaimed another friend, truly horrified. Oh, what assumptions we make in a world of Chinese whispers! In fact, my marriage is in fine condition, thank you. We have all simply been decanted from our house by the BBC, who, for the past six weeks, have been using it as a film location. Simply? Ha!
When we got that fabled 'note through the door' saying that our house had been spotted and might possibly be considered and and and, I so nearly put it in the bin. Had I done so, our hall would not now be purple and there would be no loo in our garden. But 'it'll be fun', I said to my reluctant husband. 'If they want the house, we should say yes.' Now, my husband is lovely, but since childhood parties which forced him into group laughter, he has viewed 'fun' with distinct suspicion. I backtracked. 'No, not fun. It'll probably be hell.'
That did it. We agreed and I promptly went to India for nearly three weeks with my gap year daughter leaving my husband to cope with the first excitement, which was that Health and Safety condemned our bedroom ceiling. 'It could fall right now, tonight, tomorrow or in five years' time,' he said. I must say that we don't worry much about that kind of thing. Ceilings come, ceilings go. We fix these things in our own good time. But even we could see that a lump of bony Victorian plaster on the head of a star of stage and screen might hold filming up a bit. But mikeyoreilly, the mess! I knew things were pretty bad when my husband stopped emailing me in Delhi. The silence shrieked 'WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO US?' quite eloquently, even over 3,000 miles.
By the time Eliza and I returned from India, the ceiling was fixed and 'prepping' was in full swing. 'I'm sure it looks lovely,' I said. It was not until I saw the purple that I realised the enormity of what we had done.
The excitement continues ...