142. Van Gogh in Essex

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A mad idea, I know.

But somehow, when Maureen and I first moved to Great Waltham, we conjured up the idea that Vincent Van Gogh once lived in our village. It’s not very far to Holland from here, and he was open to travel.

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More than anything, it was the lie of the land that amplified our twinkling thought. The undulating nature of many surrounding fields, and the sweep of burnished gold that meets the eye as summer progresses. The stark, gaunt landscapes of the winter. Also, the unpolluted skies at night, when the stars shine so clearly. We reckoned he would have felt at home here, whichever side of his character manifested.

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We used to sit on the patio of an evening chuckling quietly at the notion that Vincent once lived in our house. That he had probably left some old paintings laying around. Shall we open another bottle of wine? Perhaps we could start guided tours. We might be the only two people in the world to find this amusing.

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As things stand, I console myself that there is a fine artist here, right by my side. Working in a range of mediums, splashing joy and colour around our domestic environment.

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