Coun­try Re­treat

A week­end in a pretty cot­tage, the an­ti­dote to city life.

Chic & Country - - Contents -

As city dwellers, we needed a well de­served week­end away from the grind and noise of our busy Lon­don street. The heat of the sum­mer had fi­nally lifted its un­pleas­ant scorch­ing stick­i­ness but its ef­fects were still present - not only on our tired bod­ies but all around us. The beau­ti­ful green of the fields had turned yel­low and the flow­ers had died be­fore their time. Even so, it was a so­lace to be away from build­ings and into fields. Driv­ing through the pretty lanes, ad­mir­ing all those wonky yel­low stone cot­tages that make you scream “Yes, here, I want to live here!”, we were get­ting closer and closer to our des­ti­na­tion. And, boy, were we not dis­ap­pointed when we fi­nally saw it! Old Walls cot­tage was ev­ery­thing we ex­pected it to be. The old stone wall with the picket fence, the slop­ing slate roof, the friendly lit­tle win­dows peek­ing through the trees. We un­packed our car and, be­fore we knew it, we felt like this was our own home as we

for­aged flow­ers from the gar­den and picked all the fallen ap­ples to dis­play in each room. Au­tumn was al­most here and you could feel it slowly creep­ing into the air. This is a beau­ti­ful time of the year, when sum­mer goes and the new sea­son takes its place. The colours are bright and, as blooms be­gin to fade, there is a sense of pre­cious­ness in the few that re­main.

The mod­ern con­ser­va­tory ad­ja­cent to the kitchen looks into the gar­den and it was the per­fect set­ting for our first coun­try break­fast. We were gen­er­ously sup­plied with good­ies by the Thyme ho­tel which owns the cot­tage. The bas­ket was filled with de­li­cious warm crusty bread, creamy farm milk, but­ter, home­made jams, and freshly laid eggs. We took plea­sure in set­ting the table with the whimsy blue polka dot pot­tery, odd jugs and flow­ers, freshly made cof­fee and we let the day lazily un­fold.

The tra­di­tional coun­try style fiend in us was not dis­ap­pointed with the in­te­rior ei­ther. The liv­ing

room has a large open fire­place, in­te­rior shut­ters, win­dow seats and oak floors. Al­though the decor is some­what aus­tere, and a lit­tle dated, some de­light­ful French an­tique painted pieces have been added here and there, and do mix well with the English darker tones. In­dian em­broi­dered pil­lows adorn seats and the cur­tains are made of heavy flo­ral fab­rics. There are two up­per floors, and two dou­ble bed­rooms with bath­rooms and a sin­gle bed­room so there is space for your tribe. Even dogs are wel­come. Sadly, not cats and yet, fun­nily enough, on our last night we had a fe­line vis­i­tor. He just turn up out of nowe­here and he quite clearly felt rather too much at home in the cot­tage as he wan­dered in­side with­out ask­ing for per­mis­sion. We had to ask him, po­litely, to leave and he non­cha­lantly obliged. The master bed­room, with its blue and grey tones, is sim­ple and com­fort­able. A por­trait of a young boy is a re­minder that this was once a fam­ily home and not just a re­treat for city folk look­ing to re­con­nect with na­ture for a few days. Or was it? Wasn’t I ac­tu­ally look­ing into the lo­cal es­tate agent’s win­dow al­ready?

Coun­try liv­ing We leapt at the chance to pick flow­ers from the gar­den and for­age for ap­ples that had fallen from the trees

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