Does the Country Living life exist?
It’s no secret to those who know me that I didn’t really enjoy living in the UK. I’m of a constitution that functions best in hot weather and I love seeing blue sky every day. And, much as the UK may have going for it, those two basic requirements of mine are never going to be met. Not unless we really speed up the global warming.
So I’ve made my peace with the fact that I’ll probably never move back there. When my friends get misty-eyed talking about small village prep schools, corner Post Offices and staying in treehouses suspended over fields of lowing cattle, I smile politely and think, “rather you than me, baby.”
I just don’t get it.
And then my mum arrived for her holiday, bringing with her a clutch of British magazines. Gone are the days when she hefted over Vogue, Tatler and Harpers Bazaar for me. This year, she produced Good Housekeeping, Coast and Country Living.
And, being a magazine-a-holic, I still looked at them. Good Housekeeping was excellent, but then, I always like it. Coast had some nice pictures of clapboard houses with beach-style décor and gave me a few ideas for building a veranda; but Country Living was the biggest eye-opener.
It made me envy life in the UK.
But not the life I expect I would have there, with children and school runs, housework and a small, economical run-around for a car.
It made me envy a life of lake-front properties with rowing boats tied up at the jetty. A life populated by people who wear stripy Breton tops, fisherman’s sweaters, twill shorts and loafers; by people who ride elegant bicycles to the grocer’s; sip freshly squeezed orange juice in sympathetically constructed, centrally heated conservatories; have immaculate kitchens made by the local joiners; and knock back ales in the pub of an evening.
It made me envy a life where even winter looks tolerable by dint of the steaming mugs of tea you’d drink by the fire after all those cheek-rosying walks on the beach.
I know it’s an illusion; a life that couldn’t exist without a million-dollar bank account to fund it (and the bolt-hole I’d need in the sun). But, honestly, it did suck me in for a while. Sigh.