When I met Mike, I was working as the head gardener on Parnham House estate in Dorset. Sadly, the house suffered a devastating fire last month. You can read all the details here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4436066/Torch-stately-home-s-insane.html
I don't normally write about places or families I work for in any detail. Discretion and respect for others' privacy is important. However, as this story is national news, I'm not sharing anything that isn't public knowledge already.
It's been confirmed that the fire was deliberately started, but it's not yet been proved by whom. Thankfully no one was hurt. The apartment I lived in was attached to the house and completely gutted by fire. I've already experienced enough fire for one lifetime.
They were kind employers and my heart goes out to the family for the huge loss of their home. It's also a terrible loss for architectural and garden history. If there is no home, the gardens will be lost to the encroachment of nature. Formal gardens are time-consuming to maintain and take lots of man (and woman!) power. I dread to think how many hours I spent mowing lawns alone.
I don't think this story is over. I'm hoping for a happy ending.