This is a photo of my daughter enjoying the beach on the Flete Estate.
I've just finished writing another Jane Austen Sequel, Mrs Brandon's Invitation, inspired by Sense and Sensibility. I loved the Emma Thompson/Ang Lee adaptation which was made in 1995 and so when I had a special birthday looming on the horizon, I thought I would celebrate it in the house where a lot of the film was shot, at Efford House on the Flete Estate, Holbeton, in Devon. My birthday is in November, but the weather was surprisingly mild and we had a few sunny days which were heavenly. I knew the house would look a little different from the way it looked in the film; its windows were given Georgian proportions and the door was given a canopy and columns, but it was still lovely to walk in the Dashwood sister's footsteps up to the entrance and imagine gorgeous Greg Wise, Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman coming to call! Inside, the rooms are recognisable, especially the Dashwood's dining room, which really does have a chimney that smokes! My family didn't know it as they unsuspectingly arrived for what they thought was a party, that they would have to act out their parts - poor things, I hear you cry - at least I didn't make them dress up! It was a very inspiring place to be, the surrounding countryside is gorgeous.
There is a beach within walking distance and the people in the village were very welcoming and friendly. The most wonderful sight was the sky at night. The house is far away from street lights and any noise from town life, which is what I am used to in suburban London. On the night of my birthday the sky was very clear and the velvet night studded with stars like diamonds. I did not want to go to bed even in the early hours and stayed for as long as I could sitting on the window seat in my bedroom enthralled by the view. It was a truly memorable birthday treat.
The second photo shows the view from Efford House