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LOCATION: Cornwall, or beautiful Dor-set. Anyhow, only in the south-west, for climatic reasons. Both Dorset and Cornwall are beautiful in different ways. Also historically interesting, with ruined castles, old churches, country houses - just what I like.

ESSENTIAL AMENITIES: A good supermarket and a branch of the county library.

CHARACTER: Only decent 18th-century Georgian permissible.

HISTORICAL ASSOCIATIONS: Interest-ing, eccentric county family, to provide a ghost and stories to write up.

CONSTRUCTION: Cornwall granite or Bath stone. Cornish blue slate roof, not purple Welsh slate. Certainly not red tiles.

RECEPTION ROOMS: A small dining room, a middle-sized sitting room, a study and a big library. I've about 10,000 books.

BEDROOMS: Seven or eight, including two to serve as extra book rooms and an upstairs study with a view. Upstairs I'd keep literature, English and French; downstairs history, Shakespeare and reference books.

BATHROOMS: Three would be enough.

ESSENTIAL KITCHEN FEATURES: I don't know about kitchens and don't much care, so long as the food appears. I have a housekeeper who lives in and she does the cooking, not me. If I could cook I'd be more independent of the human race,

DECORATIVE STYLE: White paint, matt of course, to suit Georgian style and for light and cheerfulness. I would furnish with good antique furniture, though I'm not opposed to reproductions in traditional style. I would have a basket for one cat in my bedroom for company.

LUXURIES: A picture gallery with a couple of Cornish landscapes, an early Augustus John and a John Piper; an Opie portrait would be appropriate for a Cornish writer.

SPECIAL OUTBUILDINGS: A summer house with a view, where one could occasionally have tea brought out.

VIEW FROM THE WINDOWS: Sea essential, for variety of colour and pure air.

SIZE OF GARDEN: Moderate, on the small side - like that of the 18th-century poets Pope and Shenstone.

GARDEN'S BEST FEATURES: Scented flowering shrubs: rhododendrons, viburnums, hydrangeas, camellias, a few echinacea, beech trees and a graceful eucalyptus to remind me of California.

NEIGHBOURS: A few well-educated and well-read within reach.

MOTTO OVER THE DOOR: Welcome, IF invited.

WHAT IT WOULD COST: According to Julian King, director of Link-Up Properties Nationwide, a house with sea views fitting A L Rowse's description could cost anything between £350,000 and £500,000.

! A L Rowse's latest book, `All Souls In My Time' (Duckworth, £14.99), is a memoir of his life at the Oxford college