Autumn treasure 10: Lit cottage windows

Lit window7/12/2018 Sometimes it can feel like a nuisance having to drive home in the dark as early as 4.30 in the afternoon. I don’t much like it, partly because so many people fail to dip their headlights that I often get home with a headache, not to mention experiencing several moments of panic as a result, when I can see nothing of the road in front of me.

But then I realise there is something I love about going home in the dark. Seeing the little windows of old Suffolk cottages lit up is delightful. They are better than any Christmas lights, and last all autumn and winter. The occasional glimpse of beamed walls and wonky ceilings inside adds to the treat. Although I am out in the dark, they remind me how snug I will be once I get home. And it also somehow makes me feel as though I am in a story, wondering what all those people are doing inside in the warm.

I think I would love the lit windows even if they were a novelty in my life. But, of course, there are memories in the mix. The sight takes me back to childhood holidays, when we would sometimes drive to Suffolk after school in the dark. Passing through Bildeston – the last village before we reached Hitcham, and the signal that we were nearly home – was the moment in which I was most aware of the lights. And this is still the village that, in the dark, takes me back to those journeys, and the last five minutes of anticipation before we reached our dark, cold, damp but much-loved scruffy Suffolk farmhouse, where we could breathe a sigh of relief and know that by the following day it would be transformed into the best of all places to spend the holidays.