When Julian and I left Scotland for good, I had finished my degree and we set about trying to restore the remaining portion of The Ivy, rescued from the jaws of bulldozers by Julian in 1981. Local architectural, poetical and rural rider and writer Candida Lycett Green came into our lives, having been the Boudicca of a campaign to save the house along with, among others, her father John Betjeman. Candida had long been one of the watchful eyes behind the ‘Piloti’ column which highlighted wanton destruction of buildings in Private Eye magazine, and was contributing to the Prince’s new publication Perspectives on Architecture – treading a difficult line between the conservationists and contemporary architects. Candida saw us as part of a new generation: informed and educated advocates of contemporary art and design who were also passionate about history. She thought that the Prince of Wales might be interested in the project of restoration and resuscitation of The Ivy, marooned as it was amongst housing estates and tangled in highways and ring roads. What to do with mansions like ours in insalubrious settings was the kind of problem which exercised the Prince of Wales and she suggested bringing him to tea.


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