Dig your own mega basement

Are you familiar with the story of London’s Mole Man? He was civil engineer William Lyttle, who over 40 years burrowed a maze of tunnels under his Hackney home. The late Mr Lyttle explained his burrowing as an attempt to create a wine cellar which got out of hand (we’ve all been there). The tunnels are thought to extend 20 meters from his house in every direction. Mr Lyttle was evicted from his home eventually, but only after years of complaints from the surrounding residents who, as one woman said, “half expected to see him pop up through the kitchen floor at any moment.”

Mole Man Hackney

Rather like that other great eccentric North London homeowner, Mr Trebus, the story of a man driven to destroy his own home with an obsession he can barely understand, let alone contain, is compelling, and can raise conflicting feelings. Living in a neighbouring house must have been terribly stressful – he managed to knock the power out on the whole road by hitting a cable on one occasion – and yet the grand ambition of this seemingly pointless project is just fascinating, and not a little touching. Not to mention the very contemporary issue of areas gentrifying around a person who certainly doesn’t view their home as an investment. Can I get a “Mega Basement*”? (more…)

swan vase

Moody swans

My mum came back from France with an unusual collection of gifts for me. Not only collected by herself from various brocantes, but also sourced by my junk-shop-loving cousin, who is also doing up a big old place in the French countryside. And so a collection has really begun… …aren’t they lovely, these moodily lit […]