Tiled Cottage is at the end of the lane, the church is opposite and it has a large garden which goes down to the Test. I love walking, it’s when I learn my lines, and I got permission from the water bailiff to walk along the Test. I walk at six o’clock in the morning in the summer and autumn and a little bit later in winter. As we filmed in Romsey, I could also walk to work.
The cottage had three bedrooms, a large sitting room that looked out over the river, a nice kitchen and a work room for me. The work room was where I wrote my cook book A Cook For All Seasons. Tiled Cottage became a second home and an enormous amount of emotion was there.
First of all I had a very happy time there with my wife Sally and my five daughters, who visited. Then Sally got ill with cancer and was in Southampton General Hospital. So I would go to the hospital and then back to Tiled Cottage. It was an enormously friendly area and it seemed a very safe and nice place to be.
I think what always stays with me is the aspect the property had over the Test and the surrounding countryside. It was next door to the M27 but we got used to the noise in no time. But one dear American friend who came to visit said: ‘Oh my God, George, I thought it was the ocean!’