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On a Small Island on the River Derwent by Kitty Greenbrown

So you found us?

Yes. I came through Buttercrambe as you suggested.
That field of sunflowers on the left is quite magnificent –
somehow more France than you would expect.

Well it was all once one estate. You’ll see the gates. Toppled empires lumped at Crambe and Kirkham – Barton way. Please follow me. It isn’t far. Just watch your footing. It can be slippery this time of year.

Is this the Derwent?

Yes. Stirred thick with pike. And shallow here. Though the current pulls and pulls. The kingfisher is out today. He’s by the weir. By the way, we say no swimming here. The undertow is strong. Plus the pump. I’m sure you understand.

No, that’s fine, we hadn’t planned to swim.

Well. Here you are. A folly really. In the gothic style. Quatrefoils and Diana on the roof. Stone originally. Just mesh now. But it means you see the sky behind her bow. A corn mill. Tiny grinding palace among the trees. Very Grand Meaulnes. And really rather beautiful.

Oh it is.
I read somewhere that there’s a curse.

No. Not unless you count the balsam. We bash, but we are just a small team of volunteers. It’s very quiet here. No one bothers much. We say no fires. Except at the designed BBQ spot. We can do a projector and trestles. Though the wi-fi’s iffy. If you can get it, you’re doing better than me.

And what’s upstairs?

Oh, just storage and extra chairs. We don’t charge. And logs for the stove. We can leave you some of those. I should mention the compost loos. I mean, they’re not to everyone’s taste, but they are quite easy to use. And that – in the bunk barn – at the moment we’re not doing bedding. And this is for – I haven’t got my list. A yoga retreat?

Oh goodness, no.
A wedding.