Me And My Home: The art of country living

The only blot on Nancy Sorrell's rural landscape is Vic Reeves' beloved stuffed animals. Sian Pattenden reports
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The Independent Online

Nancy Sorrell is married to comedian Vic Reeves, known to friends and family by his birth name Jim. They share a converted Georgian schoolhouse in Kent. Nancy appeared last year on 'I'm A Celebrity...' and is a model for Anne Summers

Nancy Sorrell is married to comedian Vic Reeves, known to friends and family by his birth name Jim. They share a converted Georgian schoolhouse in Kent. Nancy appeared last year on 'I'm A Celebrity...' and is a model for Anne Summers

A friend of ours, the actor Tom Baker, lived here before, and we used to come round for lunch. We were living just up the road. Tom and his wife had lived here for 20 years, then we found out they were selling and Jim [Vic] was on the case to buy the house. It's such a great location, and we got away from a place which is getting very built up - there are property developments everywhere. We know our neighbours, but they're not that near. We've got the scenery, everything is amazing.

I come from Chigwell, which is out of London, too - so I'm a country girl. I do love London, and my sister used to live in Fulham, but it's too expensive and I wouldn't sell this place to move there; you can't get a garden like we have, and you don't get the view, either.

One of the first things I did in the house was to put the red carpet in. I love red, it has a warm feeling, but it's not too "in your face". I love the original floor in the main room too, it's oak, I think. We didn't change much in this room; the layout was similar before. The table was in the same place. Tom would eat and then come and have his gin and tonic in front of the fire. We've got a lot of stuff but putting all of it into the house really did work, including all our paintings and everything.

Jim got the antler chandeliers from Selfridges; it took us ages to get them through the door. They're great, and we don't have to light them up a lot, because they look good just like that.

We've got a friend called Jo who's an interior designer. She helped us find the chairs, table and curtains. She's really good, she can walk straight in and she knows exactly what you need.

In what I call my "Chinese Room", where my clothes are stored, I came up with the red and black theme. The cupboards were in there already, so we painted them. I got the doorknobs with flowers in them from Headcorn village nearby. I love that room and I loved making it look pretty, a girlie room. I sit on the floor in the morning and put my make up on.

Jim got jealous of my room, which was maybe why he wanted his room full of stuffed animals. I would never allow any stuffed animals in my room, I don't like them. He can have them, but they freak me out. I can see a bird flying round out of the window; I don't want to see it stuffed.

The crow fell on the cleaner's head once, and I had never heard a man scream before, in fright. I'm used to the animals now, but when you turn the light off the shadows are scary. It's true that we live next to a church cemetery, but I'm actually more afraid of coats in the dark. The cemetery doesn't spook me usually, but I saw a man digging a grave not long ago, and then, all of a sudden, there was a funeral, in my back garden. I was spotted looking out of the window, so I ran off.

The office/studio is in the outhouse where my drum kit is. Jim bought me the kit for my birthday and Jeff Beck and his wife, Sandra, bought me lessons. I do like the drums, but I prefer to sing.

The out-house was newly built for Tom when he lived here, and we want to build on to more of the house. The plan is to get a conservatory round the back and make the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom bigger, so we're looking for some good, cheap builders. We need a larger kitchen because Jim and I like to have a dance in it. We tried to do this unusual dance the other day which I had seen on Richard and Judy and I ended up hitting my hand, so we definitely need room to fling our arms around.

Jim's kids love it here. When they first saw the house, they couldn't believe it. Louis, who's seven, just runs around going: "Weeeeeurgh!"

Alice is 11, so she needs her own room. We have lots of photos of us and the kids all round the house and there is a portrait of me and one of Jim in the main room. Sandra Cush - Jeff Beck's wife - did mine as a present. I burst into tears when I got it. She's an incredible artist and I think she could make a million from her art. The other painting of Jim is by an old friend of his.

Jim paints a lot - he had an exhibition a few years ago at Britart. The moody sunglasses picture of me shows what he calls his "drippy effect" because he lets the paint run. I like it. He used to teach art to kids before he was famous. We do family paintings, Jim, myself, Alice and Louis. Once we found a small animal skull in New York, got some canvases and all painted the skull one afternoon - the results are on show in the cabinet downstairs. We all did a picture of flowers in a vase too, which is slightly less odd.

We have chickens out the front, but I have to admit that I don't have a lot of feeling for them. There are four at the moment. I had one called Preachy and I fell in love with him. He was so cute, fluffy and white. Then one day he started limping and his head was hanging off a bit. I was really upset and rang Jim who said that everything would be fine. By the next week, the head was properly hanging off. We had to let him go, he was in so much pain. We couldn't bring ourselves to break his neck, so Jim got him with a rifle. It wasn't animal cruelty, his head was hanging off, but he didn't die straight away, Jim had to shoot him 10 times. It was awful.

Nancy unveils her new underwear range at Anne Summers in April.

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