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Back in 1976, we lived in a flat in Paddington. With two two-year-olds — my son, Daniel, and adopted daughter, Li-Da — having frequent tantrums and my late husband, the writer Rayne Kruger, needing quiet, a country house looked like the answer.

In those days, the Cotswolds were a rural backwater and properties were cheap.
But Rayne's specifications included high ceilings, plenty of light, no damp — and no other houses in sight. This ruled out most farms, village houses and cottages.

My demands included a good railway service into Paddington and enough land to grow veg and buy images flowers and to start a duck farm.

At the time, my restaurant was selling 15 portions of Leith's duckling a night, which meant using more than 200 birds a month. (This plan came to nought — my ducks were going to cost about twice as much as we were paying our suppliers.)

The first time we visited the Glebe, my main impression was of good-sized rooms, high ceilings, wonderful light and freezing cold.

It was so cold the water in a vase on the sitting room mantelpiece had frozen — it was warmer outside in the snow than inside.

Heart of her home: Prue Leith in the kitchen where she tested 'zillions' of recipes. She says: 'The kitchen has always been the heart of the house and where most of my memories are'

Heart of her home: Prue Leith in the kitchen where she tested 'zillions' of recipes.

She says: 'The kitchen has always been the heart of the house and where most of my memories are'

A view of the Cotswolds retreat, which Prue is now selling. The home was originally a 16th-century farmhouse and has been 'altered by almost everyone who had lived in it', writes Prue

A view of the Cotswolds retreat, which Prue is now selling.

The home was originally a 16th-century farmhouse and has been 'altered by almost everyone who had lived in it', writes Prue

What really attracted me was the dining room, which I knew at once I'd turn into the kitchen. It has wonderful views, and it had space for cooking and buy pohtos eating.

The view from the room at the top of the house, immediately earmarked for Rayne's study, sell you photo was what seduced him.

The house, though big, wasn't grand or pompous.

Originally a 16th-century farmhouse, it had been altered by almost everyone who had lived in it and was now a happy muddle of ancient cellar, Georgian middle, Victorian wing, and tacked-on 1930s sitting room.

Now, 44 years on, it's our time to say goodbye.
With the children grown, the Glebe has become too big and expensive for sell you photo us, so with a heavy heart we're selling up and (horrible word) downsizing.

My second husband, John Playfair, who is finally selling his house, too, is irretrievably throwing in his lot with me (we've famously maintained separate houses throughout our time together).

Our new house (‘Our Eventide Home', as John rudely calls it) is totally different, and planning this is a great antidote to keening over the loss of the old one.

But looking back, I can't believe I've been lucky enough to have had 44 years of the Glebe.

When we bought it, I was beside myself with excitement. Aged 36, to be mistress of paradise! It took us a year to renovate, and I loved that summer. We'd drive down from London, Rayne would disappear into the house to talk to the builders, while I'd pick spinach and peas and the children would run about or sleep on a blanket under a tree.

Apart from putting in decent central heating, our biggest change was to open up the hall, making it double height by losing a bedroom and bathroom above it.

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