Maggie and I both love to build things and were forever taking on projects. The first was a thatched, rickety, delicious old house called Peregrine House, in Enborne, which Maggie found and informed me we were going to buy. We viewed it on a wet day in spring, standing at the end of the garden under an umbrella and, looking back at the house, decided it would be ours.

As a practical man, I started on the wiring and managed to put my foot through the ceiling on my first visit. I quickly decided that I should go back to electronics and leave this work to the professionals. We stayed at Peregrine House for years and lived there through the 1968 flu epidemic that nearly carried Maggie off and which I barely survived. We were thirty years old and stayed put for ten years, by which time the businesses I had created were running successfully.

The newly thatched Peregrine House, a seventeenth-century inn, pictured with Pete’s first Aston Martin DBS.

Pete and Maggie in 1989, below the wisteria on the lawns of Eddington House, in Berkshire, which they bought in 1984 and eventually occupied in 1987, after extensive renovations.

Lady Michael on the front lawn of Eddington House next to the Henry Moore sculpture Reclining Figure.

Later, in 1985, we bought Eddington, a great old building in Berkshire with famous connections to the past but in need of care and attention, in a fit of madness. It was a rabbit warren of a place, with no logic or reason to its internal arrangement. So we took it apart, and over the course of the next two years, we rebuilt it into what we really wanted and came to truly love. Sadly, in 1996, Eddington burned down. A shaving mirror in a pine bathroom had caught the sun and set a towel on fire. But we rebuilt it and actually improved on our first effort.

Eddington House burned down in 1996 when a shaving mirror caught the sun and set a towel on fire. Pete and Maggie rebuilt, and their second remodel was even more beautiful than the first.