Wandering down Bedfordshire lanes one day I glanced through a gap in the trees and saw this building catching the intermittent late afternoon light. It's Hinwick House, built in 1709-14 for Richard Orlebar. But I only knew this when I got home and looked it up in Pevsner. As I stood on the grass verge waiting for just that moment when the house would be isolated in a shaft of sunlight, I had a very eerie feeling that I was somehow photographing the past. I've been in a number of places where this has happened, doubtless fuelled by an over-active imagination. Here perhaps was a real-life dust jacket image for a re-issue of L.P.Hartley's The Go-Between, or for H.E. Bates The Distant Horns of Summer. Deer moving slowly through long grass, the unsettling choking cry of a pheasant in woodland margins. Or maybe it's just the first signs of the onset of madness. I blame those white window shutters on the ground floor, fastened against the sun.
Derek Birdsall: Birdseye view
2 days ago