While we have been in England I have become hooked on a program called “Escape to the Country“. Each episode focuses on a county in England and helps a couple find a new home. We hear what sort of house the couple are hoping to buy and the presenters choose four homes for the couples to explore to see if they might like one enough to buy. Not only have I enjoyed seeing many different types of houses, but the responses of the couples is often hillarious.
This is an example of one of the house we have been shown in this program.
We have learnt so much about what cute cottages look like on the inside, so many couples want a large kitchen with an aga and a large “reception” room, but are keen to find these things in a country cottage. But many cottages have small rooms, low ceilings and tiny windows. Seeing couples bending to enter a room and hearing them say “this is a little smaller than I had imagined” is a fairly typical response to some of the cottages. However, we have also seen restored Mills, large Georgian homes and converted barns. Then there are the gardens and surrounding fields – some have had an orchard, one included a poultry business.
I told my aunt Ursula that I thought they should have done a program on North Somerset as it is so picturesque. Yesterday Ursula returned from her day working in the local cafe in the village where her daughter Susannah lives and said “you will never guess who came for lunch!” “Escape to the Country” had shown a couple some houses in this very village and the film crew and presenter had popped into her cafe for lunch while the couple went to a local pub for lunch. Funnily enough it was the very pub we had been to the day before! I missed my opportunity to be the Aussie interloper.
I can’t tell you exactly why I enjoy this program so much, but I am sure it is because I have always dreamed of doing just that – escaping to the country. I have also been reading a delightful book called “Tales of the Country” by Brian Viner, a former journalist of the Independent. He moved to a small village in Herefordshire – just north of here ten years ago with his wife and three small children from London. He is an amusing writer and each night I have gone to bed giggling at his stories of their experiences. He has a great sense of humour and describes their new life well – it is not a piece of cake and they have often found the transition difficult.
Neither the program or the book have put me off one little bit. We have been in England during the wettest summer in one hundred years. This week, we had more rain and after one particularly heavy shower, Ursula’s garden was inundated with water – it cascades down the hills across the road, and down into her driveway and there is no where for the run off to go. It happened suddenly and by the time the water was rising, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining.
It has been like that all summer – cloud, rain, clearing and sunshine. You just get on with it regardless. We have managed to have a wonderful time in England despite the weather. When the sun shines we have raced out doors, and when the rains come, we put our rain coats on, head out doors and come home with muddy shoes – very muddy shoes!
The mud – our shoes have collected mud from all over England – we each had a brand new pair of joggers, but they have lost that new shiny look. Keith has spent time today cleaning them and they now look almost respectable enough for our next destination: Paris. We leave in the morning. We will be there for ten days. The weather forecast is good, we will wait and see.