Every week or so, I drive for about an hour or so to our small country cottage. It’s in a town founded in the early 1800s. There’s a large church and many small cottages made from wood or stone and many of them recognised by the National Trust.

It’s a peaceful place set in a valley, surrounded by farms. Other than the rattle of the agricultural machinery and visits by leather clad bikers, who enjoy wending their way through the empty country roads, visiting the place is like stepping back in time.

Our cottage is old too. More than 150 years have slipped by its timber structure. On my solo visits, I bring my lap top and write on the dining table. I cook a simple meal in the small kitchen that looks out to the garden. It could be two minute noodles or a can of soup and bread. In the evenings, I usually light a fire in the wood heater. It’s quite romantic, even when you’re alone. I hear its simmer and crackling. I see the flames eagerly licking the charred firewood.

The dining room and wood heater

As I write, I hear farm dogs barking, the sheep calling out soft and low, a truck driving past, even a cow mooing, and then it goes quiet. That’s what I need to write at my best. Quietude. Solitude.

My best writing gets done here.

Better still, that’s when I forget I’m writing.

The garden and studio

I have my cup of tea. There are birds chirping. The neighbour’s apple tree overhangs our fence. I pick one as I wander through the garden. There’s depth here, of other lives, other memories. This is not a place you own. Not really. The garden is lovely, even though it’s overgrown and dry.

There’s even a writer’s studio awaiting. I haven’t used it yet. But I hope to.

Where do you do your best writing?