Writer Hattie Holden Edmonds on drawing inspiration from a fisherman’s hut and the fresh air of the Kentish seaside town of Whitstable. Interview: Gabrielle Jaffe
Five years before we bought the fisherman’s hut in Whitstable, I’d cut out an image of a similar-looking place from a magazine and stuck it on my wall. We were visiting a friend when we turned the corner and saw this hut that looked almost identical to the one in the picture. My husband made me put a note under the door, asking the owners if they were selling. By the time we arrived back in London, we had a message from them on our answerphone.
The twist was that the price the couple wanted was the exact amount that had just come into my bank account after my dad’s will had gone through. It felt like fate. I bought the place without even looking inside.
I spend my summers here, and every other weekend in winter. Even a weekend feels like a week’s break, as it’s so revitalising. We go for long swims and walks along the shingle beach and pull oysters straight out of the sea. At night, the view of the twinkling lights on the Isle of Sheppey puts us in a holiday mood.
I mostly visit Whitstable for pleasure, to blow away the cobwebs so I can return refreshed to write in London. But sometimes I’ll go with a couple of scriptwriter friends. We write during the day, then play in the evenings. My table is by the window and it can be distracting watching people migrate towards the shore. It’s impossible not to want to join them. I’m a less disciplined writer here than in London but, as a result, it doesn’t feel like work at all. For me the sea is a place to dream and to let your horizons expand.
Hattie's book Cinema Lumière is £7.99 from RedDoor Publishing). For more information, visit hattieholdenedmonds.com
"We go for long swims and walks along the shingle beach and pull oysters straight out of the sea. At night, the view of the twinkling lights on the Isle of Sheppey puts us in a holiday mood."