Spooky old house revisited…

Back in the nineties, I spent a week with a friend who had just moved to Biddenham. It’s a good area for a visit from Switzerland – Bedford just a hop down the road, and Cambridge and London less than an hour away. I made the most of my UK shopping and culture week.
One day, we visited my friend’s parents-in-law, who lived in a lovely flat by the Great Ouse.

We stood at the window, looking out over the river and the gardens along the bank. A family was grouped on the grass, the father taking photos of a little girl who’d been celebrating her First Communion. The springtime sun was splitting the sky, and swans were gliding along in the water. Little did I know back then that I would take that location, turn it into a spooky old house where horrible things had happened, and put it in my third book, The Attic Room.

On my recent visit to Bedford, I revisited the place I’d seen in my head so often since that day. Here’s the grass where the little girl and her family were. Nina in The Attic Room noticed it, first time she went to the house she’d inherited. (n.b. Nina was there in summer!)

…a wide strip of grass stretching down to the river. Nina gazed out at well-kept flower beds, shady trees, and people on benches enjoying the sunshine.

Here’s the street where Nina’s house would have been. I wonder which one has the attic room… Nina sensed the atmosphere, that first visit:

…a well-proportioned building made of red brick. But it was all so dingy. They’d probably filmed the last Frankenstein movie in here, she thought, giggling nervously when the door creaked.

A whole generation beforehand, Nina’s mother Claire had returned to the area. She walked along by the river, remembering how unhappy she’d been there.

How odd it felt, wandering along the pleasant river pathway. For a long moment Claire stared at her old home, resentment flooding through her.

She sat down on a bench to recover, not thinking for a moment that Robert might be home at two o’clock on a Thursday to notice her. But he was. Claire’s stomach churned.

And that was Claire’s last visit to the house with the attic room, though twenty years later, Nina saw more of it than she wanted to. What did happen there? No spoilers here…

One thing I saw during my visit that neither Nina nor Claire did, was this sculpture. It’s called Reflections of Bedford, by Rick Kirby, and it’s at the end of the pedestrian area in the centre. Headless faces – that’s spooky, too!

Click HERE to see it in Google Maps!

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12 Responses to Spooky old house revisited…

  1. jenanita01 says:

    Those faces are definitely spooky enough for Halloween!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. gordon759 says:

    You definitely feel that something bad might happen if you were to dare to step between them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A very interesting post. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this post and how place and fiction merge with your own memory. Locations can be so powerful, the way they burrow inside our heads, and how they haunt us, and how we never know what will later inspire us. P.S. Love the headless faces, so odd and yet so satisfying.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindahuber says:

      Agree. I always set books in places I know – or areas I know, if the story takes place in a fictional village. I think it’s good to have felt the wind in your hair before you write about a place.
      I wish I’d thought to go and look at those heads in the dark – they must look really surreal, lit up!

      Like

  5. It’s great to see the places that have inspired your writing, Linda. A very enjoyable post and great pics again. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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