Blog

Welcome to House With No Name. I write about everything from books and films to education, family and France.

The fabulous RNA

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Saturday 21st May 2011

Romantic fiction often gets slated – largely due, as Joanna Trollope once said, to snobbery and the genre’s pink covers, embossed lettering and “cartoon drawings of cocktail glasses and handbags and ditsy girls falling off their designer heels.” But so much of the criticism is downright unfair. A total of 25 million romantic novels are bought by readers in the UK every year and romantic fiction boasts some of the ...keep reading

The press pack

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Saturday 14th May 2011

Working from home is a double-edged sword. I can start work when I want, wear what I please, chat to my son when he gets in from school and fix coffee with friends without a clock-watching news editor yelling at me for being late back. All good, but I still hanker after office life – the gossip, the banter, the buzz. The best place I ever worked was the Evening ...keep reading

Chocolate biscuits, nagging and getting through exams

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Thursday 12th May 2011

Revision fever is rife at House with No Name towers. With two teenagers working towards exams, you could cut the atmosphere with a knife. Desperate to help (something they don’t want at all!), I appealed for advice on Twitter. Answers came back thick and fast, ranging from “nag them about tidying their rooms – they’ll prefer to revise” to “don’t insist that they can revise continuously – build in plenty ...keep reading

Vast skies and searing heat

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Sunday 8th May 2011

Amazingly, it’s nearly 30 years since Barbara Trapido’s first novel, Brother of the More Famous Jack, was published to huge acclaim. Since then she’s produced just six more. But trust me, her latest, Sex and Stravinsky, is well worth the wait. At first glance, Oxford headteacher Caroline Silver is one of those annoying women who’s clever, beautiful and selfless. She’s an amazing cook, makes her own clothes (for goodness sake!) ...keep reading

How it all began

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Friday 6th May 2011

I’m so excited. Five years after I bought the House with No Name, the first phase of the renovation is almost complete and we’ll be staying there this summer. Our architect and builder friends have worked miracles, keeping its character while transforming it into a place of charm. Lots of readers have asked how I came to buy it in the first place so I’ve gone back to my old ...keep reading

From Rory Balniel to Rupert Campbell-Black

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Wednesday 4th May 2011

I’ve loved Jilly Cooper’s books since I was a teenager. Emily, her very first novel, started life as a serial called Circles that she wrote for 19 magazine. She later completely rewrote it, and like every other reader I was hooked from the memorable first line – “If Nina hadn’t bugged me, I’d never have gone to Annie Richmond’s party.” And if that hadn’t happened, as you’ll no doubt remember, ...keep reading

Three cheers for newspapers

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Saturday 30th April 2011

From The Times’s wrap-around picture of the newly-weds in Prince Charles’s dashing sports car to the Daily Telegraph’s shot of the first (or was it second) balcony kiss, the newspapers did us proud today. I’m not sure what the Independent was playing at with Tracey Emin’s dreadful sketch of the bride and groom on its front page but we’ll gloss over that one. Newspapers come in for an awful lot ...keep reading

How I came to buy the house with no name

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Thursday 21st April 2011

Sitting in Oxford, with the number 7 bus trundling past and Marks & Spencer just up the road, I sometimes think the house with no name must be a figment of my imagination. Am I going to wake up one day and discover that the tumbledown French farmhouse that inspired this blog was just a dream? Definitely not. It all looked splendidly real when we sat in the courtyard in ...keep reading

Dreaming of a second-hand 2CV

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Tuesday 19th April 2011

Slowly, slowly, the French farmhouse I bought on a mad whim back in 2006 is coming back to life. My husband and children always promised it would but, being a wimp, I had my doubts. We still haven’t managed to sleep a night there yet, but the tumbledown six-bedroom wreck with half a roof, terrible damp problem and bathroom inhabited by a plague of rats is looking – and I ...keep reading

Twenty tricky teenagers

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Thursday 7th April 2011

My must-see TV of the week is Channel 4’s Jamie’s Dream School – the series where Jamie Oliver gets a host of celebrities to teach 20 tricky teenagers who’ve left school with barely any qualifications. The science teacher is fertility expert Lord Winston (who’s already hit the headlines for getting the boys in the class to study their own sperm). History is taught by Dr David Starkey, politics by spin ...keep reading

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