at last I have a name for my house in Spain. it will be the Potter’s House, Casa Alferera (a female potter of course). by 2010 I hope there will indeed be a kiln there, maybe sooner, but I want to build a version here in Norfolk first, a fast fire wood burning kiln, a “back-yard” kiln, like my friend Steve Parry’s.

I will be spending most of December in Extremadura getting the house organised, and ready for letting next year. it will have to earn its keep for the time being. it will be a lovely retreat when I do have time to be there. last week I stayed at Finca Al-Manzil, just down the old mule track from my finca. the weather was wonderful – a gentle sun, some cloud, but the air had that crystalline quality, still and dry, a perfect autumn atmosphere. around my friend’s cortijo, which is surrounded by holm and cork oaks, robins and other birds were singing, and their horses were eating acorns and the new grass which has sprouted since the summer.


from their high porch you can just see a little bit of my house, but it is discreetly behind  some holm oaks just to the left of the hillside in the right of this photo. I had to pick colours for the painter, including one for the outside of the house. so many colours on the chart, and none of them with instant appeal. in the end I chose a pale olive, almost a greyed-down yellow. I hope it will blend in with the sandy-grey granite and the green-grey leaves of the sierra. we are spoilt in the UK with the likes of Farrow and Ball.


the end wall in the kitchen is going to be painted this terracotta. the rest of the house, ceilings and walls, will be the nearest I could find to F & B’s Strong White, a greyed-down white, which I hope will soften the newness. I have also ordered a pale cafe au lait stone for the kitchen worktop, with the drainer for the sink cut into it.


the bathroom has a waterproof layer which means it doesn’t need tiles on the walls. in December I am going to take some F & B paint for just one wall, probably Pale Hound, a very soft pale yellow. (dogs can be yellow).


the floor tiles for the main part are these grey porcelain faux stone ones, and then rough terracotta for the porch and the studios at the back. so two greys, an olive, and terracotta. I think they will work together.


these enormous blank walls, with windows up high, just beg for huge paintings. now I have a home for some of my old paintings and three large kelims, which I had for a big flat in Newcastle in another age, and my present cottage in Norfolk is far too small for; more items to take in December.

one more photo of my finca with the horses grazing off the long grass, just to prove Extremadura is the Wild West.