I’ve been house–hunting (images of gentlemen farmers in red coats riding horses around the countryside surrounded by hounds is wrong in this context). I’ve found something in Oundle I rather like—and Oundle is a pretty little country town with history, architecture and two arts festivals (and a theatre that burnt down a month ago—oh well, you can’t have everything). The house itself is not your usual square block; it’s in an old school house which has been converted into four separate houses. I’m waiting for confirmation on the mortgage before I put an offer in. Wish me luck!
I’m not going near thatch, though. The problem with thatched roofs on house is not insects, but fire. The reeds have to be thoroughly soaked in fire retardant chemicals, otherwise a chimney spark will have a house destroyed in a matter of minutes. My mother, as a child, saw a thatched roofed cottage go up in flames; the sound of the crackling burning reeds on the roof as everyone in the village rushed in and got whatever belongings they could out of the house remained with her all her life.