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!)
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 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.
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!