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Tag Archives: Small Eden

A backward place of some 2500 souls

The setting for my tenth novel Small Eden is Carshalton, called Aulton in the earliest records, meaning Old Town. I have called it home for over twenty years. But what did it look like during Robert Cooke’s lifetime? The Wandle: leisure, industry and life Just eleven miles from Westminster-Bridge, the village of Carshalton is dissected…
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A potted history of pleasure gardens

In my tenth novel, Small Eden, I tell the story of how Robert Cooke creates a pleasure garden in memory of his infant sons. What exactly is a pleasure garden? The short answer is that it’s an outdoor space dedicated to pleasure. Before the eighteenth century, London had few places that fitted this description. Perhaps…
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Pondering trees

In our back garden, almost on the boundary with our neighbour’s garden, stands a lone horse chestnut tree. It has been here longer than our house, and our house first appeared on an Ordnance Survey map in 1903. This is the time of year when the tree is just coming into leaf and, as they…
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Setting free the parakeets

No eden, small or large, would be complete without birds. Several species feature in Small Eden. First, we have the songbirds in the hedgerows and the pleasure gardens. There’s Hettie’s grey African parrot Fairfax (a personality in his own right). And then we have the green ring-necked parakeets Robert buys for his pleasure garden. I…
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Small Eden: exclusive preview

My tenth novel is a personal one. With Small Eden, I have written yet more characters into my local landscape – the land on which our cottage is built. When we moved into the cottage, the vendors told us that it had been the gatehouse for an estate, and this was certainly the received wisdom,…
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Small Eden: Cover Reveal

I felt very strongly that the cover for Small Eden should have a strong local anchor. The inspiration for my tenth novel was the cottage I have called home for the past twenty-one years, built (as far as we’ve been able to ascertain) as the ticket office for pleasure gardens which opened at the turn…
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