First an apology.
I’m sorry to disappoint but, despite the title of this blog, this is no lurid kiss-and-tell confession.
Although I slept in James Blunt’s bed, James Blunt was conspicuously absent from it at the time. In fact, I doubt that James Blunt had slept in it for at least a couple of decades.
I should perhaps explain.
I was staying in the Stone Room of the Cley Windmill, which used to be James Blunt’s bedroom when his family owned the property and was where the singer lived whilst growing up.
It is a lovely circular room, on the second floor of the tower of the windmill, with a private, open-air balcony surrounding, and stunning views across the flat expanse of the Cley marshes directly to the North Sea.
Beneath the balcony, a narrow stream winds lazily towards the village of Cley-next-the-Sea, and in front of me, one of the enormous wooden sails of the mill is almost within touching distance.
The beds of reeds and rushes provide an almost unbroken carpet to the wide horizon; the wind keeping them in constant, agitated motion; only by each rustle and eddy across their surface; each wave and ripple of their stems do they reveal the presence of the great invisible force of nature, which orchestrates such complicated abstract patterns and such freestyle jazz rhythms amidst the swaying plants.
My own stay in the Stone Room coincided with the arrival of Storm Arwen. A raging gale was blowing in directly from the north, the windmill exposed to its full force. At first instinctively, and then more consciously, I was aware that the room was moving; only minimally; barely perceptibly; but enough to be enervating.
The noise of the wind outside was terrific; unceasing, and the rain on the window pane when it turned to sleet, added a fresh percussive beat.
Snuggling deeper into James Blunt’s bed, I pulled the covers tight over me. It felt snug and warm and a relief to be inside, protected from the elements, yet still that slight motion unsettled, and still the sound of the storm persisted.
I wondered how many nights a young James Blunt had spent like this. What must be the influence of this landscape on the man? The endless horizons; the big skies; the raw Nature? Does it humble, or does it make you want to go forth and conquer?
For me, during my short sojourn in the Stone Room, it made me feel quite small; an insignificant speck measured against the vastness of the surrounding landscape; a burrowing creature, happy to hunker down until the storm had passed.
I was grateful to be not so much sleeping, as hibernating in James Blunt’s bed.
© E. C. Glendenny
E. C. Glendenny gets a good night’s kip.