… well you can, if you have ‘a little north’ of half a million pounds burning a hole in your pocket.
The two-bedroomed cottage called ‘Little Orchard’ in Hoo Lane, Back Ends, Chipping Campden is being marketed by the agent Jackson-Stops at an asking price of £525,000. It is described as an 18th Century, Grade 2 listed property with two double bedrooms, one of which has an en-suite bathroom, and a lawned garden full of flower beds and ornamental trees. If this sounds idyllic it is worth looking up what Greene had to say about the place in the early 1930s in Chapter 11 of A Sort of Life.
Graham and Viven lived there between 1931-33 as he struggled to make a living as a writer. Perhaps the eventual, lucky owner of this property, on a quiet day, will hear be able to hear the ghostly strains of Honneger’s Pacific 231 which Greene played while he wrote Stamboul Train. In A Sort of Life, the author recounts that it was ‘almost impossible’ for him to re-read the novel which eventually gave him security as a writer, noting, ‘The pages are too laden by the anxieties of the time and the sense of failure’.