Thursday, January 06, 2011

All Quiet on the Watchtower?

Martello towers were built, at great cost, along the coasts of Kent, Sussex, Essex and Suffolk at the time of the Napoleonic wars. Originally, there were 103 of these 30ft-high towers, with walls 13ft thick and roof-mounted cannons capable of shooting lead balls a mile out to sea. _Guardian

These coastal towers still stand guard along the English coast, watching against the risk of Napoleon re-born. If you imagine yourself as a modern-day watchman, protector against the invading destroyer, one of these towers may be reserved just for you.
The overall effect is magical: brick fort on the outside, palatial home within. The main space, approached from the entrance lobby, is breathtaking, with the climb up the spiral stairs enjoyably spooky, and the top floor a revelation: all light, space and comfort, with little hint of ostentation. But then you don't need decoration when you have the sea and all its moods just beyond the parapet, with ships hoving in and out of view, and sunlight playing over that lichen-encrusted brickwork throughout the day. _Guardian

Some refurbishment will be required, however. Back in the day of Napoleon, they lacked such modern amenities as satellite television, the internet, electricity, and . . . flush toilets. Interior designs and standards of interior thermal control may have changed a bit as well.

Think it over. If Europe and the UK experience half the tumult that seems to be headed that way, you may be happy to be living in a fortress by the time the storm passes over.



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