1:00pm Saturday 5th May 2012
By Ian Craig
A FORMER Middle East correspondent who swapped Iran for the Cotswolds has written a book detailing the trails and tribulations of converting a derelict stable into a home.
Derek Taylor’s book, A Horse in the Bathroom, tells the story of how he, along with his wife Maggie, decided to renovate a old stable in Stow-on-the-Wold after an argument over what sort of home they would like to live in.
Among the challenges the couple faced in their two-year battle were collapsing walls, poison gas and an outbreak of flooding just as the finish line seemed near.
Derek, who formerly worked covering the Rome and the Middle East for ITN, said his experiences led to some interesting discoveries about the way that small villages operate in the modern world.
“It’s many people’s dream to live in a beautiful Cotswold village, but there’s a danger now that some of them are just becoming theme parks for wealthy retirees,” he said.
Referring to Condicote in Gloucestershire, Derek said: “It’s a wonderful but tiny place with a history going back 4,000 years. Now though, people whose families have lived there for generations are starting to move out.
“It’s very difficult for such small isolated communities to reinvigorate themselves, especially during a recession.
“In Blockley just a few miles north locals have set up a shop, café and post office – that’s provided not only facilities within walking distance but jobs for seventeen villagers as well.
“It’s the most successful rural community enterprise in the country.”
The book, which is Derek’s first, has received glowing reviews, including from former BBC News presenter Peter Sissons, who described it as ‘hugely entertaining’.
A Horse in the Bathroom is available at all bookshops or at derekjtaylorbooks.com
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group