It's the Rightmove roundup and Richard E Grant is selling his Provence hideaway!
Perhaps he went on holiday by mistake?
Okay get yourself a cup of tea cos we are going straight in on Richard E Grant’s house in the South of France. Which he says he has enjoyed for thirty summers but is now selling with a sore heart, presumably after the loss of his beloved wife Joan a year or so ago. (And perhaps after that Instagram post he did about his Swedish neighbours awkwardly avoiding him now he’s a widower. Ouch.)
But the bit I don’t yet understand is the price. €570.000. That’s only £490k!
Which is free to those who can afford it (very expensive to those who can't). I mean, yes, French property is often cheaper than its British equivalents, but a celebrity villa with a pool in Provence? Those cost plenty. And this place is small but perfectly formed, and he says it sleeps seven, and it’s pink! And it does not have the sort of windows that faces look in at.
So maybe they’re trying to start a bidding war and it will go for a million Euros. Or maybe the village of Aups is far too inland to attract coastal villa sorts of prices (what good’s the countryside?)
Or maybe the Gods are simply trying to tell me that I should own this house. I mean, my mum just found a massive stash of my copies of The Face and i-D from the 90s and they haven’t gone in the wheelybin yet, so if I just put those on Ebay, we can all enjoy this holiday home for thirty summers more or I shall die here on this fucking mountainside.
(Alright that’s enough Withnail quotes now thanks.)
Richard’s house is called La Pigeonnier and has three bedrooms and three bathrooms, as well as a badminton court, and olive and fruit trees. The total building area is over 1250 sq ft, with a much bigger lot to fit that pool and lovely garden in. Full details here.
Alright, if you thought Richard E Grant’s house was too cheap, here’s an opportunity to spend precisely fifty times as much on a property. As for the running costs, well I’m not entirely sure how anyone would afford those, short of leading an organised crime syndicate or getting pally with the corrupt politicians who have spent the past decade dragging our country down to the gutter BUT WAIT
The listing says that this stately home, Wolterton Hall, was built between the 1720s and 1740s for Horatio Walpole, Earl of Orford. A man I’ve just looked up, for whom it seems King George III approved all sorts of whatnottery, including new hereditary peerages. So in fact this house has a long history of crime syndicates and dodgy politicos already, sweet.
Old Horatio was in the Whig party, who were rivals to the Tories for many years, and his fabulous 18th century new-build is described as “one of the four Whig power houses of Norfolk.” What a satisfying sentence that is.
One of the four Whig power houses of Norfolk. Alan Partridge could never.
But if you’re worried about being a little remote in your new Whig power house of Norfolk, fear not!
“The estate is only 12 miles from the superb Norwich International Airport which has a variety of domestic and international flights, and a very useful direct connection to Schiphol Amsterdam which connects to most major worldwide destinations. A private jet company also operates from Norwich airport.”
It is perhaps an indication of the London property market’s effect on my sanity that I keep coming back to this and thinking it might just be a bargain. Six hundred thousand pounds upfront, to rent a house for ten years and own nothing at the end of it?
And yet: I’m right, it is. Because renting a four bed house like this, which is well over two thousand square feet, spread over four storeys, right in the heart of central London, a short stroll to Bloomsbury or Kings Cross or Sadlers Wells, with all that picture postcard cuteness, on the Loyd Baker Estate -
well that’s going to cost you well over sixty grand a year. Maybe twice as much, right now. Even more. But sixty grand a year is all they’re asking, with no inflation over the next decade. So let’s all get one!
The Sophist is a reader-supported publication and my daughter is really sick of me looking at Rightmove so I need to pretend this is my job
Alan Wilder, who was in the band Depeche Mode until 1995, is apparently selling this house, along with its nearly 30 acres of land, in a Sussex village called Itchingfield.
An itchingfield already sounds like some kind of low-key torture space from a dystopian YA novel, and that’s before you see Alan’s gym:
And his drawing room:
And his kitchen:
And his bed:
Great places to enjoy the silence, at least.
The estate agents have de-listed it now but I’ve spent days trying to work out WHO THIS THATCHED COTTAGE IN SUFFOLK REMINDS ME OF. It’s that cheeky little face it seems to have. But who is it?
Wee Jimmie Krankie?
No, I’ve got it, it’s Jack Whitehall
NO HANG ON I’VE REALLY GOT IT NOW THIS IS IT:
It’s Jack Whitehall’s dad.