The Fortress of Solitude

This is a sanctuary away from the stresses and buffooneries of modern-life. Unlike Superman’s eponymous hideaway my fortress would not be a huge ice palace in the middle of the Antarctic. Not that it’s an unappealing idea – but my ideal one would be something like this:

  1. Base and setting – a large log cabin somewhere remote within the UK – on the north coast of Scotland, for example. Preferably either near woodland, or near the sound of the sea / running water – or both.

  2. Insulation – tiled roof, all windows double-glazed and everything well-insulated to keep out the elements.

  3. Rooms – Three, including– a well-stocked bathroom with bath / shower large enough for me to lie in without bending my knees and cabinet. Second room – simple and homely bedroom with comfy double-bed and reading-light. The third, main room detailed below.

  4. Main room – solid wooden floor. Contains two large three-seater leather sofas set in an L-shape, ideal for relaxing in. In one far corner is galley-style kitchen with microwave, cooker, fridge, freezer, various cupboards etc. Also a coffee machine and plenty of Earl Grey tea. Well-stocked food cupboards plus fresh stuff in the fridge and freezer. Also soft drinks, cans of Coke and plenty of cleaning equipment etc.

  5. Main heating via old-style wood stove – supply of dry timber provided outside in sealed basket with axe and block. Washing machine with outdoor clothes-line. Small radiator also provided with boiler.

  6. Furnishings (main room) – Two large comfy leather sofas as above, two or three framed art-prints – something colourful and restful. Perhaps a picture of Miles Davis or a forest scene. Two or three thick-pile rugs dotted about the place. Decent-sized dining table with chairs just off the kitchen – suitable for entertaining or for dining alone.

  7. Electrical equipment – TV, wide-screen, with DVD player and full DVD rack (good selection), kick-ass stereo with four speakers (mounted on the walls) and a huge CD collection (alternatively – i-Pod or similar containing all my CDs – hooked up to stereo). Also lap-top computer with internet, e-mail – for writing, research etc.

  8. Book-cases – at least three, large, free-standing, crammed full of Fighting Fantasy books, poetry, history, art-history, philosophy, novels, comics, graphic novels etc.

  9. Collapsible desk / table – For optional use with lap-top. Chair comfy – both stored away when not in use.

  10. Extras – Large chess / draughts set for use on the above. Tea-light candles dotted about the place on various surfaces.

  11. Lighting – one large overhead light, smaller reading-lamps for evening near the sofas.

  12. Outside – enough room to park two or three cars (as needed) plus bins.

  13. Main door oak wood, with two-keys (including deadlock) and combination lock (optional).

  • Additional note – since writing this, I have thought of an alternative to the above – a lighthouse fortress of solitude. This would be located near a chalky cliff face (based on the cliffs of Dover) with a path leading down to a rocky beach. The lighthouse itself would be divided into five different levels which would be set out as follows. First floor, kitchen, lounge and bathroom; Second floor, office and library; Third floor, main bedroom and guest bedrooms; Fourth floor – Equipment storage; Fifth floor – observatory and trapdoor leading to observation deck. The content would be much the same as the hut version with a limitless supply of books, CDs, DVDs, food, all-weather clothing etc. The main door would be an iron-clad door with an eight-digit combination lock. There would also be a munitions room an panic room on one of the upper level floors.



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