Love let­ters from our read­ers

We ask friends of the mag­a­zine to tell us what keeps them turn­ing our pages

Country Life Every Week - - Contents -

What keeps peo­ple turn­ing the pages each week?

‘I adore it all, but par­tic­u­larly the rav­ish­ing pho­to­graphs of gar­dens and lovely houses, the Arts cov­er­age and, most of all, its huge af­fec­tion for dogs and the way you cam­paign for the sur­vival of animal breeds un­der threat’ Jilly Cooper, nov­el­ist

‘Coun­try Life con­sis­tently amazes and de­lights me with colour­ful in­sights into our glo­ri­ous green

and pleas­ant land. Be­tween the al­ways en­chant­ing girl of the week, whose mother—or, more fre­quently now, grand­mother —I of­ten find I knew and a quick Tot­ter­ing up­lift, all that makes life worth liv­ing is re­vealed’ Robin Han­bury-teni­son, ex­plorer and writer

‘Al­though I work in Cork Street, I’m a coun­try­man at heart. Each week, the mag­a­zine is de­liv­ered to the gallery and, with it, a re­fresh­ing re­minder of those coun­try pur­suits I find most nour­ish­ing. There are is­sues that speak about how grand life re­ally is and how im­por­tant it is to pre­serve our coun­try­side and well-be­ing; that, set against the ev­ery­day­ness of hav­ing to make a liv­ing, gives life a bet­ter balance. Long may it pros­per’ David Mes­sum, gallery owner ‘I en­joy the at­ten­tion to fine and dec­o­ra­tive art, ex­hi­bi­tions, mu­se­ums and market results. I al­ways turn to My Favourite Paint­ing and Huon Mal­lalieu’s col­umn’ Richard Green, gallery owner ‘Coun­try Life means var­i­ous things to me. Sheer cu­rios­ity leads to en­joy­ment of the prop­erty ad­ver­tise­ments and I par­tic­u­larly like to see what Coun­try Mouse has been up to. My Favourite Paint­ing can be re­veal­ing, sur­pris­ing and thought-pro­vok­ing and I en­joy fol­low­ing Huon Mal­lalieu, as you of­ten pick up on in­ter­est­ing ar­ti­cles from less well-known auc­tion houses. And, nat­u­rally, one ends with a smile for Tot­ter­ing-by-gen­tly’ The Duke of Bed­ford

‘It’s a mag­a­zine of dreams—dreams of the ru­ral idyll to which I still as­pire. It will never hap­pen now, of course, but that won’t stop me drift­ing through the beau­ti­ful houses and an­tiques that dec­o­rate your pages. It’s like re­turn­ing from a happy trip through the English coun­try­side to lounge, glass in hand, in front of an open fire in a gra­cious room with breath­tak­ing views. That’s got to be worth a few quid a year’ Sue Law­ley, pre­sen­ter ‘As the mid­week post hits the mat with the lat­est Coun­try Life, it lifts the coun­try­man’s spirit in me like no other tonic. The or­der of play is Tot­ter­ing, Agromenes, Leader, Town & Coun­try, Fron­tispiece, then ev­ery­thing else—hours of pure plea­sure. Oh, joy!’ Ross Mur­ray, CLA Pres­i­dent

‘For those, like me, with a short at­ten­tion span, but a love of ru­ral things,

Coun­try Life is ideal for

brows­ing. There’s some­thing in­ter­est­ing, at­trac­tive, amus­ing or in­for­ma­tive on vir­tu­ally ev­ery page and it de­liv­ers its goods in a charm­ing and un­pre­ten­tious way. There are, of course, traps that lure the browser into deeper in­volve­ment—be­fore you know it, you’ve read the whole of David Pro­fumo’s fishy ram­blings and all the Agony Un­cle’s witty ad­vice. Long may it con­tinue!’ The Duke of Northum­ber­land ‘Gar­den­ers build on yes­ter­day to cre­ate to­mor­row. We can mar­vel at the work of our men­tors who did so much to cre­ate the world we live in. In our turn, we ful­fil our­selves by cre­at­ing so much that only fu­ture gen­er­a­tions will fully ap­pre­ci­ate. Coun­try Life is the link be­tween these two worlds, al­ways re­mind­ing us what oth­ers did, al­ways en­courag-

ing us to plant our own piece of his­tory. Wed­nes­day by Wed­nes­day, it can­not come soon enough’ Michael He­sel­tine, for­mer Deputy Prime Min­is­ter

‘One of the things I en­joy most is the ar­chi­tec­tural

fea­tures—john Goodall is a par­tic­u­larly bril­liant writer. His in-depth ar­ti­cles are al­ways il­lu­mi­nat­ing and in­for­ma­tive and full of won­der­ful ideas I can nick. Sec­ond, Coun­try Life has a very long shelf life. I’m for­tu­nate enough to have some early bound copies and am al­ways find­ing some­thing of in­ter­est. The other evening, I was brows­ing through a 1953 edi­tion and noted very good pieces on me­dieval wall paint­ings, par­get­ing and the propen­sity of herons to sulk. My high­light is My Favourite Paint­ing—it’s like a vis­ual Desert Is­land Discs and I al­ways learn some­thing new about the painter from John Mcewen’s daz­zling writ­ing’ Jools Holland, mu­si­cian

‘There are few plea­sur­able “con­stants” in life, there­fore the things that are be­come im­por­tant.

Coun­try Life, is for me, a con­stant. It has never let me down and seems to just get bet­ter in a world where stan­dards so of­ten seem to drop. I live half the year in New Zealand and would have a se­ri­ous prob­lem if I could not have my weekly joy of go­ing to the mail­box to re­trieve my mag­a­zine. I love ev­ery page as I have done since I was about 14’ Hen­ri­etta, Dowa­ger Duchess of Bed­ford

‘I love the pictures and the down-to-earth sub­jects.

Coun­try things I have taken for granted all my life are ex­plained in a de­tail I had not hith­erto com­pre­hended —al­ways fas­ci­nat­ing’ Lucinda Green, cham­pion even­ter

‘Most of Coun­try Life is time­less, as en­joy­able years later as it is hot off

the press. What John Corn­forth [late ar­chi­tec­tural edi­tor] wrote over the decades is still full of ex­tra­or­di­nary in­sight, but there are new heroes of these pages, equally en­gag­ing and bril­liant at un­rav­el­ling com­plex fam­ily and build­ing sto­ries. I rather long to kid­nap them as semi-per­ma­nent house guests’ The Duke of Buc­cleuch

‘Coun­try Life is in the busi­ness of fu­elling dreams and it has cer­tainly fu­elled mine for the past half cen­tury.

Not only dreams of large houses and rolling acres, but of a whole way of life that has been en­dorsed, cel­e­brated and, in some cases, res­cued through its ar­ti­cles. The day fi­nally dawned when my wife and I bought a place that we had first spot­ted in the mag­a­zine and those long-held dreams came true. Thank you’ The Lord Fel­lowes of West Stafford, writer and cre­ator of Down­ton Abbey

‘I have missed very few edi­tions in 25 years and, ev­ery week, when the new is­sue ar­rives, I play

the same game. You page through the prop­erty ad­ver­tise­ments at a reg­u­lar pace, al­low­ing five sec­onds for each spread. When you spot the house of your dreams, you shout: “That one!” You only get one shot, one choice and you can’t go back­wards. If you choose too early, you might get the pretty Lu­tyens house in Kent with eight acres when there is an even more fab­u­lous Ge­or­gian one with 5,000 acres and a he­li­pad com­ing later. And there’s a fur­ther twist: if you keep your pow­der too dry and the house ad­ver­tise­ments run out, you have to marry the Fron­tispiece girl. The

“Coun­try Life game” has been a Co­leridge fam­ily favourite for ever’ Ni­cholas Co­leridge, pres­i­dent of Condé Nast and chair­man of the V&A

‘Once a week, Coun­try

Life al­lows me to dream and imag­ine… beau­ti­ful writ­ing, beau­ti­ful places, coun­try tra­di­tions and con­tem­po­rary con­cerns.

I love the chance to be guided around glo­ri­ous houses and gar­dens, learn about dogs and sheep, trees and clocks, but, oh, what I’d miss is Agromenes’s rants and the prac­ti­cal pre­oc­cu­pa­tions of the Town & Coun­try Mice. There’s never a dull week’ Dame Fiona Reynolds, Master of Em­manuel Col­lege

‘Coun­try Life gives an in­ter­est­ing, thought­ful, di­verse and up-to-date view of the Bri­tish coun­try­side and ru­ral life, all done in its own unique way.

Town & Coun­try and My Favourite Paint­ing are the pages I turn to first’ Sir Wil­liam Wors­ley, Chair­man Na­tional For­est Com­pany ‘I love your mag­a­zine and all the ex­pert ar­ti­cles, es­pe­cially about gar­den­ing, and, of course, Tot­ter­ing’ The Duke of Devon­shire ‘Sir Robert Walpole showed his cool head as Prime Min­is­ter by al­ways open­ing let­ters from his Nor­folk agent be­fore turn­ing to mat­ters of state. I know the feel­ing. As my hand wan­ders

over the threat­en­ing mountain of weekly pe­ri­od­i­cals, it rests with relief on Coun­try

Life and I am lost for a blessed hour. It is cus­to­dian of the eter­nal rather than the tran­sient. Its busi­ness is Na­ture, land­scape, beauty in ar­chi­tec­ture—the Vir­gilian plea­sures of the out­doors. What Coun­try

Life cham­pi­ons needs cham­pi­oning. What it saves is worth sav­ing. It is friend to the frag­ile, be it moth, meadow-grass or man­sion. It is never triv­ial. And I can van­ish into all those glo­ri­ous houses with­out ever feel­ing the need to buy one’ Si­mon Jenkins, jour­nal­ist and au­thor ‘Hav­ing lived in Ox­ford­shire for 46 years, I hope I am en­ti­tled to claim to be a coun­try boy, al­beit with a mildly funny French ac­cent. My favourite pages are fea­tures on the Arts, as well as Town & Coun­try Note­book and the colour­ful snip­pets within. I have a huge ad­mi­ra­tion for this pub­li­ca­tion, which has be­come an in­sti­tu­tion and to­day, more than ever, is still per­ti­nent, rel­e­vant and an im­por­tant por­trayal of the re­la­tion­ship be­tween town and coun­try. Bonne an­niver­saire!’ Ray­mond Blanc, owner and chef of Le Manoir aux Quat’saisons

‘I used to read Coun­try Life in the tra­di­tional way—front to back—but of­ten didn't get be­yond the prop­erty ad­ver­tise­ments. Now, I read it back­wards, start­ing with a smile in a Tot­ter­ing-in­spired way. I find the mix­ture of tid­bits of news (Town & Coun­try) and the deeper probes into our won­der­ful ru­ral life in the fea­tures ir­re­sistible. Oh yes and I still some­times read the prop­erty ads.’ David Furs­don, Lord-lieu­tenant of Devon

Now, now Basil: Coun­try Life is of­ten on cel­lu­loid as well as at Fawlty Tow­ers: James Bond has hid­den be­hind it and the Fron­tispiece was a vi­tal clue in an episode of En­deav­our

A shrine to Coun­try Life: Ju­lian Spicer and Christo­pher Le­grove in their sum­mer house, which is lined with mag­a­zines from the past 75 years. ‘We al­ways look for the ar­chi­tec­ture and gar­den ar­ti­cles first—for us, these are the real heart and sig­nif­i­cance of Coun­try

Life. It’s great that the mag­a­zine is again tak­ing an in in­ter­est in the de­sign of new houses, as this was such a strength on its foun­da­tion and also in the in­ter-world-war years,’ says Ju­lian. ‘The out­stand­ing colum­nist is, of course, Carla Carlisle who, with­out be­ing preachy, makes one think be­yond the head­lines and, in ex­plain­ing Amer­ica to the Bri­tish, is the true suc­ces­sor to Alis­tair Cooke. We have most is­sues from 1941 on­wards, but it would be won­der­ful to find is­sues from ear­lier years that fea­ture new do­mes­tic ar­chi­tec­ture, par­tic­u­larly that of Lu­tyens, the most clever, subtle, witty ar­chi­tect Bri­tain (and per­haps the world) has ever seen.’

Col Is­mail, who was re­spon­si­ble for the trans­fer of se­cu­rity from in­ter­na­tional forces to the Afghan Na­tional Po­lice, seems trans­fixed by the Royal Wed­ding num­ber

Reader Ha­ley Ho­ley from York sent us this pic­ture of her loo, lov­ingly pa­pered with

Coun­try Life pages (June 11, 2014)

A gen­tle­man’s re­treat: Alex Reilly, chair­man of Loungers, has dec­o­rated all the gents’ loos in his 18 Cosy Clubs with Fron­tispieces. ‘One gent re­fused to use the bath­room un­til we had taken down the pic­ture of The Queen. They’re much talked about and a great source of fun.’

Bram­ble the ter­rier is one of Coun­try Life’s many ca­nine read­ers

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