For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to build a house. Not a sleek modern house crammed with the latest gadgetry, but a really imaginative house inspired by all the books I loved while growing up.
Ideally it would be in the country, preferably inside a tree or underground, and there would have to be secret rooms. Whatever it appeared to be on the outside, the inside would be different, as if simply stepping through the front door transported you to a whole new world.
Years passed and I got a job making documentaries, moved to the city and married an artist. We lived in a flat that he had bought when it was near-derelict, and together we discovered something. I had ridiculously ambitious ideas for our home that I couldn't translate into reality. Nichol was extremely skilled at making things and had a remarkable degree of tolerance. And gradually, we transformed our home into a wonderful, creative place that reflected all of that - a home that we thought we'd probably stay in forever.
Out of the blue, the chance came up to buy some land. We wrote down what we wanted, hired an architect and drew up the plans. Our brief was simple - or so we convinced ourselves. We'd like a Hobbit House on a Weasley budget with as much room as possible for the stuff that we'd made. Our budget was very tight, and so as much of the house that we could do by ourselves we would need to. Given my previous experience of watching building projects go off piste you'd think I'd have learned my lesson, but apparently not. I'm nothing if not optimistic.
So that's where we now stand. Tether's End will chart the growth of our new project from start to finish, and hopefully the final cost will be less than £400 million.
So, to all those who partied, loved, crashed, missed the millennium, danced on the roof, painted, played chess, made films, held cricket matches and rode half-pipes in the hall, came to the poker, cooked banquets, were born, slept in the storeroom / roof / bath, wrote books, fell down the stairs, got up the stairs in the first place, drank purple passion punch and survived, didn't fall off the edge of the mezzanine, or smoked cigars next to the chimney watching the sun come up at our old home - we salute you.
We had a great time there.
Welcome to our next adventure.