In my obsession with the garden, I realised I haven’t shown any recent pictures from inside the cottage. The renovation works are now all complete and we’re now living in a fully finished, furnished house.

This weekend we had a rainy day indoors, cleaning and doing some of the final finishing touches. Among other things, we put up these two photographs in the hallway. If you squint closely enough there are two black and white photos of the abandoned Denbigh asylum in North Wales, close to where I grew up. It was always a cautionary tale, a threat: ‘carry on like that and you’ll be taken to Denbigh’. I’m ashamed to say that it seemed to be locally known – among us kids at least – as the ‘nuthouse’.

The asylum was built in 1848 as the first of its kind in North Wales. Previously, Welsh-speaking patients were sent to English asylums. The hospital treated patients until it started to close in the 1990s. You can read a fascinating history of it at The Time Chamber. These days there has been considerable fire damage and vandalism and, as a result of the neglect, the site has been compulsorily purchased by the council, which is being appealed by the current owners.


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