Vor längerer Zeit hatte ich hier bereits einen Blick auf die private Seite des Herrn Ian Anderson (die in Buckinghamshire) geworfen. Vor einigen Wochen gab es in der Online-Ausgabe des Wall Street Journals (Europe Edition) einen längeren Artikel, in dem der Flötenmeister sein jetziges heimeliges Domizil etwas genauer vorstellt. Es handelt sich dabei um ein Herrengut von 400 Morgen Größe (engl. Acre; ein Acre sind 4047 m²), nennt sich Braydon Hall und liegt in Wiltshire, im Westen von London (die Ortschaft heißt Minety).
1994 zog Ian Anderson in das 1753 erbaute Anwesen, das nach eigenen Angaben viel zu groß für zwei Personen ist („much too big for the two of us“), kein Wunder, verfügt es u.a. über 11 Schlafzimmer und 15 Badezimmer (nicht schlecht, Frau Specht!). Zuvor hatte die Familie Anderson nicht allzu weit von hier entfernt ein Haus aus dem 16. Jahrhundert in Buckinghamshire bewohnt. Hier wurden ihnen allerdings die Besuche ungebetener Gäste etwas zu viel.
Ein Wohnzimmer (Salon passt wohl eher) dient der Anderson’schen Gitarrensammlung. Angesichts der vielen schönen Klampfen könnte selbst ich glatt neidisch werden.
Ein überdachtes Schwimmbad mit Whirlpool, Sauna, Solarium und Gymnastikraum nutzt Ian Anderson wegen der guten Akustik als Übungsraum für sein Flötenspiel. Mr. Anderson schwimmt nicht.
Ich muss nicht Hund oder Katze zu sein, um mich in dieser geräumigen Küche wohl zu fühlen. Zum Anwesen gehören auch noch vier so genannte Cottages (Kate würden wir sagen, geeignet als Ferienhaus).
Natürlich ist eigens ein Tonstudio eingerichtet (wohl in eines der Cottages). Und in einer Lagerhalle stellt Ian Anderson seine Musikinstrumente unter.
Auf 12 Morgen Fläche wird angebaut. So gibt es einen Obstgarten mit Apfelbäumen. Und dann gibt es da die Gewächshäuser aus viktorianischer Zeit, wo Mr. Anderson Habanero-, Naga– und Bhut Jolokia–Chili aussät. Ansonsten wurden in den letzten fünf Jahren rund 30000 Eichen und Eschen auf dem Grundstück angepflanzt, um das Waldstück neu aufzuforsten.
Übrigens: Am 11. Juli erscheint der Remix (Stereo Mix auf CD und 5.1 DTS bzw. Dolby Digital Surround Sound auf DVD) von „A Passion Play“ samt der „Château d’Hérouville Sessions“ von Jethro Tull. Neben „Thick as a Brick“ ein weiteres Meisterwerk aus der Feder von Ian Anderson.
Hier der gesamte Text des Artikels im Original:
A ‚Downton Abbey‘ With Added Spice
The Jethro Tull founder and flutist enjoys pastoral privacy in his manor on 400 acres in the English countryside; tending to red-hot chilies.
Singer-songwriter Ian Anderson, 66, is best known as Jethro Tull’s founder, lead vocalist, flutist and acoustic guitarist. His new solo album is „Homo Erraticus“ (Kscope). He spoke with reporter Marc Myers.
For years, my wife, Shona, and I lived in a 16th-century house west of London in Buckinghamshire, but we always felt a little imposed upon. Stalkers managed to find their way to us, and strangers would wander our property. So in 1994, we moved to the county of Wiltshire a couple of hours away. Stonehenge is in Wiltshire, so the region has its share of crop circles and mysterious wild beasts roaming the countryside. If you go for a walk, you have to be ready for anything.
Our home was built in 1753—which ranks as a new house here—and it’s remarkably free of weird stuff. It’s a friendly house and much too big for the two of us. There are 11 bedrooms and 15 bathrooms between the main house and adjoining stables and offices. It’s a 400-acre property that is technically a farm, but we’ve planted 30,000 oak and ash trees over the past five years to renovate the ancient woodlands that were cleared over the centuries for building and firewood. What’s nice about our place is the atmosphere. The area isn’t particularly remote but it’s in the countryside and it’s convenient. When we originally went looking for a home, we drew an hour-and-a-half travel-time circle around Heathrow Airport to ensure that my trips back and forth weren’t too long when heading out on tours or returning home.
As you pull up to our house, your first impression might be „Downton Abbey,“ but it’s really a fraction of the size. The three-story manor house has 18th-century pretensions. As for a style, it’s not really anything. It goes back to the post-Elizabethan period for sure, but subsequent generations of bits and bobs have changed it. It’s not a mishmash—it’s just not highly original. The facade was added in the 1800s and then extensions were built in a couple of places in the 1920s.
Over the years, a succession of owners elaborated upon the house. For instance, the owners in the 1980s built an extension with an indoor swimming pool, whirlpool, sauna, solarium and gym. I don’t swim there, but it’s one of the most used areas of the house. The temperature is even throughout the year, and I like to go in to practice the flute and write music because it’s warm, relatively humid and kind of big and echoey.
We also have four cottages on the property and another block of buildings for stables, offices and greenhouses.
My days in the home office that I share with my wife are blissful. If you have to go to work and do clerical things, this is a nice place to be doing them. I’m only a short stroll to the kitchen and the espresso machine, and a slightly longer stroll to my recording studio and warehouse where my musical instruments are stored. I have staff that comes in and looks after the accounting and those sorts of things. My wife looks out for the personal side of our lives, from banking to accounting with tour promoters. There are a couple of ladies who come in each day to clean, a few gardeners and a couple of other staffers that do other things.
I pretend to be hands-on and interested in gardening, but my role is basically to grow chilies and carry chicken eggs. We have a generous 12 acres of managed gardens before you go into the open fields and woodlands, and my wife works in the vegetable gardens and directs the gardeners with precision and a good amount of knowledge.
One of two areas of the house that’s special to me is our bedroom. It has a reasonable degree of coziness, but it’s a big room with an adjoining bathroom with a vast amount of Italian marble installed before we moved in, so it’s a bit „Dynasty“ and over the top. From the bed, our view looks east, giving us the sunrise and a nice vista. You wake up in the morning and look out over England’s green and pleasant land. You don’t see anything other than trees and fields and the morning sun.
The other room where I feel most comfortable is the kitchen. The first thing we did when we moved in was to gut that end of the house and put in modern equipment. We turned a mess into a large family kitchen and dining area. It still retains all of its leaded windows and stone mullions outside, but inside it’s up-to-date and practical—at least it was 20 years ago when we moved in. The kitchen has a cast-iron stove and range that stays on 24 hours a day with a trickle of fuel. Because the stove is huge, the room is always warm. Our dogs and cats come to lie in the kitchen, and the chickens and sheep would be in there like a shot if you left the door open. The kitchen is the hearth of the house and we use it not only to sit and talk, but also to eat most of our meals—despite having a wood-paneled dining room.
I use the warm solarium to germinate my exotic habanero, naga and bhut jolokia chili seedlings, but I grow the plants in the Victorian greenhouses. When I roast the chilies in the kitchen to prepare them for grinding and storage as dried powder, the space becomes uninhabitable. I try to remember to put on rubber gloves when handling them. Ever since I was young, I’ve had a taste for very hot, spicy food, and I use the powder to flavor soups and stews to give them a semblance of taste. I think part of my chili fetish is the challenge of growing hard-to-germinate varieties. I used to grow a couple of hundred plants but I’ve since cut down to about 50. Now I give away a few young plants to friends and members of the band.
Another reason I practice the flute in the pool house is to keep the peace. If I play in the kitchen or living rooms, my wife and our dogs will tend to leave as soon as possible. The cats, however, are unfazed and will open an eye and go back to sleep, so I’ve convinced myself they rather like it. I also fancy that my chili seedlings respond positively to the seductive sound. Primitive flutes were on the rise in South America right around the time chilies were first planted for human consumption, so I play to them.