40 came round our garden in the six hours for which we were open today as part of Cheltenham Green Doors. Five were children, but all seemed more or less committed to the quest for the shortest distance from land to mouth.
At four, we shut up shop and jumped into the car to drive up to Cranham, to see one of the other properties: it was open till six. That was quite a show-stopper: a green oak new build on the site of the TB Sanatorium where George Orwell had once been a patient. It's 1,000 feet up and thus with a fabulous view, over first open fields and then Buckholt Wood, sunny from breakfast to dinner.
My photograph shows the North side, where you drive in past a new lake and bund dividing the property from Cranham Sawmill. The facing here is a wall of Cotswold stone, the other side all glass, with sedum roof and both PV and solar thermal panels.
The owner indicated a line through the pond dividing Cotswold District from Stroud: the two Councils agreed, he said, that Stroud should deal with the planning application, which they were happy to approve, being "top eco".
Are such houses a sign of hope or of contradiction? I suppose the hope is that they can be the F1 racing cars of their time, justifiable on the grounds that they pave the way for more energy efficient roadsters. Because what we need of course is not just top eco, but middle and bargain basement eco too. Otherwise top eco will end up as unjust as Richard ("Eco") Branson's dream of Martian emigration.