King Tone's Castle
I often cycle and walk past ‘Chequers’, the country house of the Prime Minister of the day. I recommend a tour of the security; in rural settings you rarely see so many CCTV cameras and notices telling you that awful things will happen if you climb over a fence. The whole area is quite posh. The nearby Plough Inn at Cadsden, where David Cameron famously left his daughter Nancy in the loo, has a car park stuffed with SUV’s. Not a tractor or compact in sight.
My routes and nosey nature also take me past the current homes of several former and hopefully soon-to-be former Prime Ministers.
The last ‘country home’ of Boris Johnson was outside Thame, on my ‘Midsomer Murders’ cycle tour. It is a large-ish farm building at the end of a short lane. Not grand. Boris, of course, has had the need for a variety of residences to accommodate his variety of partners and spawn. I gather that this was one he bought with his former wife and is now let out. He prefers his modest terrace house in Westminster. But it seems such a shame to spend so much on wallpaper for a short stay.....
|One of Boris' family homes!
Working backwards in time, Theresa May lives in Sonning, with her financier husband, in a large detached house presumably chock full of John Lewis furniture. It isn’t ridiculously posh but the village is. Jerome K Jerome, the author of ‘Three Men in a Boat’, described it as ‘the most fairy-like little nook on the whole river’. And it is in a league of its own as a celebs ghetto. Google it up if you are into that kind of thing,
David Cameron’s house is on my ‘Nobs & Yobs’ tour, near Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire. There is a pattern developing here. Again, large but not massive and plenty of celebs nearby. The proximity of Jeremy Clarkson is presumably a drawback but there are lots of rich yahoo’s at the ‘Soho House’ club’s ‘Farmhouse’ which isn’t far away. Don’t be fooled by the name, it is huge. By the way, Clarkson got to develop his new gaff nearby by dynamiting the old one. Unpopular move. For more, read the tour notes. (Link) Nobs & Yobs
But THE prize has to go to King Tony. He is a very rich man now, with a veritable empire of properties, several of which he supposedly lives in, but many presumably bought to let as investments. The ‘out of town’ residence is a magnificent but compact stately home, next to Wotton House in Wotton Underwood, Bucks. It came complete with a 52 ft long double height dining room and a mere seven bedrooms and used to belong to Sir John Gielgud, who kept his Oscar on the bathroom mantlepiece. According to the Daily Mail, Cherie 'fell in love with it' but the Telegraph reported that the residents were far from in love with them, objecting to the coming and going of helicopters and armed police presence, something I didn't see at the other ex-Prime Ministers homes. Finally, here is Sir John, happy at home.
Looking forward, Liz Truss has a home in Greenwich and in her constituency in Thetford, Norfolk. That is too far away for a cycle ride. You might know the place as the setting for Dad's Army. Appropriate really.