The reason I am going is that this was my great-grandmother’s childhood home (she of the biography I was going to write, now of the novel that I am about to begin).
It’s called Prinknash (pr Prinnidge) and I’m going to meet the Abbot who will show me round the house before it reverts to a closed monastic community and the Abbey they built in 1972 becomes an old people’s home. (The monastic community is shrinking, hence the changes.) When I get there I shall also remeet a woman I met as a result of my Scottish research … a woman who is the daughter of my great-grandmother’s second husband’s (do keep up) chauffeur. A woman who was so full of wonderful memories of my great-grandmother and the Scottish life they led.
You could, of course, say that this visit is a MAT. You could say that all research is MATing. But just as I went to Kilmalieu to get a sense of the place where my great-grandmother lived after the Titanic sank, so I want to go to Prinknash to get a sense of the place where she lived as a child, and from where she was married. That’s how I justify it anyway … .