Town mouse – Mark Hedges

I have been staying at Somerleyton Hall, the great Victorian country house near Great Yarmouth on and off for the past 20 years. However, I have very rarely actually stayed in the house. This is not due to a shortage of bedrooms?there are at least 20?but because the Crossley family, given half a chance, go camping. They love it.

We stay on the estate on the edge of Fritton Lake. It is idyllic. Each day, wood is gathered for the fire to cook the meals; a swim across the lake takes you from Suffolk to Norfolk. The fishermen among us spend hours trying?and usually failing?to catch the lake?s pike. Meanwhile, the children catch roach by the bucketload from the landing platform.

Occasionally, we find a patch of ceps under the pine trees, and an omelette is made that is treated with more reverence than anything at a smart London restaurant.

Some people would think it odd that you could have such a marvellous house and go camping so close by. The happy truth is that doing the simplest things can still provide the happiest and most contented family moments?however big your house is.