Magazine article The Spectator

Real Life: Melissa Kite

Magazine article The Spectator

Real Life: Melissa Kite

Article excerpt

Credit: Melissa Kite

Just when I thought I couldn't possibly fight any more battles, a pink planning notice is pinned to the lamp post in front of my house. The upstairs neighbours are planning a loft conversion. Not just any old loft conversion. All I can see as I scan the notice, my eyes glazing over in a panic-stricken blur, are the words 'dormer windows'.

It has been said that 'cellar door' are the most beautiful words in the English language. Surely, the words 'dormer windows' are the most terrifying. The worst part about finding the words 'dormer windows' pinned to the lamp post outside my flat is that they have been there for goodness knows how long.

I have been in the country writing a book, blissfully unaware that the words 'dormer windows' had been pinned like a plague notice outside my hitherto very marketable garden apartment in sunny Bal-ham.

I returned to collect the mail the other evening, arriving in the dark so I did not, at first, see the notice of doom. The next morning I came out of my front door and screeched: 'Oh, for the love of God!' I'm sorry but I did. I apologise to those of you of a religious disposition. I could lie to you and put a gloss on my reaction. But I feel it is better to tell you the truth. Seeing the words 'dormer windows' had such a bad effect on me that it drove me to blaspheme like a heathen. Maybe the planning officers should take that into account.

I should have known something like this was coming because days earlier I had proclaimed to a friend in the country that I was going to be pleased to finish my book so I could return to the safe haven of London and get away from all the intrigue and gossip of the den of iniquity that is the countryside. I find village life quite exhausting. In particular, I am worn out by the controversy surrounding a massive development planned for the Surrey green belt right next to where I keep my horses, and where I have been staying in a little barn conversion writing my book.

Hardly a day goes by without some agonising new twist in the saga of the proposed building of a new town on the former Wisley airfield, a lovely stretch of farmland, now earmarked for complete ruination under the Coalition's new planning laws. …

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