Saturday, January 12, 2008

Today has been a day of contrasts...

Our house

This morning the sun shone brightly and we headed down to Beesands for a walk along the Ley. Ben was overjoyed to meet his best mate Paddington, a chocolate-coloured labrador who loves to romp and chase with him until they both collapse in a heap of squirming dog flesh. Meanwhile the girls, Blossom and Fleur - two beautiful honey-coloured labradors, and Amy are content to frolic in a more dignified fashion, leaving the real rough and tumble to the two silly youngsters.

After lunch though, the sun went in and the heavens opened. I'm writing this at half past six in the evening and although the curtains are closed I can hear the rain flinging itself against the windows and rushing down the pipes to the well below the house. There was no chance of getting out into the garden so I spent some time working on new designs for DevonBears then settled down with a new book I received for Christmas. It's called "Country Fair" and is a compendium of fifties country lore offering advice on everything from how to prune roses to how to deal with moles and the behaviour of rooks.

One chapter discussed living in the country and said confidently,

"To get along in the country, you've got to prefer it to the city in all its moods, even its most vile, when it's blowing and raining, drizzling and damp, or just plain dull and uninspiring. If you can stand it under these conditions, even taking real pleasure on a drenching day that instead of walking on comparatively dry pavements as one of a crowd you are splashing and squelching your way through mud and muck and puddles in splendid isolation, then the bond between you and the country must be a strong one."

Interestingly the author then went on to say that real country-lovers are almost invariably those who grew up in the country - I wonder if that's true? Certainly I grew up in rural Warwickshire, but couldn't wait to leave for the bustle of the city where life was fun and the job was interesting. But one day I knew I'd had enough of city life and felt an overwhelming nostalgia for the countryside I left behind so long ago. Now we've made our home in Devon - and we're here to stay!

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