I need to make up an exact location for the village in which ‘The Angel’ in located. In my mind it’s somewhere on the top of the Chilterns between Wendover and Lacey Green, probably fairly near Great Hampden or Speen. The Cross’s farmhouse/vineyard is to my imagination somewhere around Hampden Hall (the exterior location where many of the Hammer Horror films were shot). There’s a view from the road near Hampden Hall looking into what develops intoÂ the valley of the River Misbourne towardsÂ Little HampdenÂ and Buckmore End which I think is possibly the most beautiful view in the south of England — particularly of rolling hills. Of course this is very near Chequers and I might make it a minor point of the plot that Robert Cross’s land adjoins that of the Prime Minister’s country retreat — may help in increasing the plausibility of a news blackout.
Here’s a photo I took recently in the general area. There was a really nice sunset in the early autumn that was even more spectacular. I wrote a paragraph of description of it in ‘Burying Bad News’. I posted it up as part of a Lancaster University creative writing course and someone commented that although describing sunsets is often avoided to prevent lapsing into cliche that he thought I’d done a reasonable job. ‘
â€˜Itâ€™s a lovely sunset,â€™ Sally said, joining Robert gingerly at first to watch the spectacle. Her concentration on the interview faded as she gazed at the startling palette of cinnabar, vermilion and violets splashed high across the westerly sky. She lifted her head to stare at the sky overhead, already the deepest shade of blue but borrowing a barely distinguishable lustre from the fading light on the horizon. The texture was like a luxuriant ball gown, its satin sheen arching above. As the light dimmed, a few scalloped clouds scuttled into the scene, reflecting and refracting the reddening light high into the sky like an invisible hand had pulled a ruche in the material. A softening red glow bathed Robert and Sallyâ€™s faces.’