Went to see a house just beyond the village of Venta del Carrizal, Jaen province. Houses like this, designed to keep out the sun, are as cool as a castle. Wrestle the windows open, and the light (bright even on a rubbish day) pushes in making blinding squares on the tiled floors. Depending on the way the light bounces, the white walls are brilliant white, chalky white, grey, cream, black. They are designed primarily to be cool, but a minimalist couldn’t do a better job with light and shade.
Unusually (given my budget and journalist wage), it was too big. There were 14 or 16 rooms (none a kitchen or bathroom), the kind of house that a more practical person would immediately see potential in as a B&B. I did like it the way it was, cool and rambling with lots of interconnecting rooms, different stone staircases, and squares of light for pictures; all completely empty except for a china alsatian in a ruff and souvenir of the Eiffel Tower on a shelf above a fireplace. And if I’d bought it that’s how it would have stayed, bar three or four rooms, because I wouldn’t have the money to fill it. I’d have had one room alone for my Cabinet of Precious Things, another for computer leads, cables and gadgets I don’t understand. Not that there’s anything wrong to have an empty house to play in (if you’re a ghost), but I’d have had to sell the car to get a bathroom fitted, and that would have left me stranded with a view of a road, and a village where I didn’t know anyone, in an area that was okay . . . absolutely fine, but a bit random.
That started me thinking: what’s more important? Having the right house or the right setting? Looking in or looking out? Having somewhere to be or having somewhere to go? They seem like fundamental questions but I have no idea.