Alexander Averin

Friday, 10 December 2010

On Cottages and Simplicity

A Good Book

Dear Diary,

If the rural hideaway is about one thing (apart from escape and sanctuary) it is about simplicity.  The rural hideaway is about life reduced to its basics: talking, cooking, reading, sleeping, walking;  the lost pleasures of solitude and unscheduled time.
Antony Woodward.
The Garden in the Clouds

Dove Cottage. Grasmere
Wordsworth's cottage.

Candles at four o’clock, warm hearth rugs, tea, a fair teamaker, shutters closed, curtains flowing in ample draperies on the floor, whilst the wind and rain are raging audibly without.
Thomas De Quincey writing about when he lived at Wordsworth's Dove Cottage.
Confessions of an English Opium Eater.

The first quote above sums up absolute perfection for me especially unscheduled time; there is nothing I like more.  That and being cosy in my little cottage when wild weather is raging outside which is what the second quote is about.

It’s still cold, we had a wee thaw last night but it is about 0 degrees this morning, positively balmy and much more comfortable to live with.  My cottage feels cosy once more and less like the interior of a freezer.

Talking of cottages I was browsing an October issue of the  magazine Country Life which comes round to my library, it’s  not really my cup of tea although there are sometimes new artists to discover and the occasional really interesting article relating to the countryside but I have no interest in the hunting, shooting and fishing brigade or in the sometimes hilarious photos of rich debutantes.  I looked into this issue only because on the front cover a heading Dream Cottages jumped out at me.  You may know that I am passionate about cottages and the smaller the better so I had visions of cottages for sale or luscious paintings of cottages.  There were no pictures and none for sale, only the huge mansions that always fill the pages.  There was however an article by Antony Woodward who found his dream cottage in the Black Mountains of Wales.  I found the two quotations therein.  I think I blogged about this book earlier this year but if I didn’t then I can tell you now that it is a great read, beautifully written and a true story.  It is called The Garden in the Clouds.  The garden is open once a year under the Yellow Book scheme and is definitely on my list to visit in 2011.

I will sign off now, my time is alas rather scheduled today, how I long for the days that aren’t…….

Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,


Cottage Garden said...

I'm so glad I popped over this morning. I love this post! You are a girl after my own heart Cait.

I will look out for this delightful-sounding book.

It's the same here - relish the thaw, I have a feeling there is more bad weather to come...


Toni aka irishlas said...

Unscheduled time. Oh the dream of it all! For now, I catch it when I can and relish every moment of it!

Have a lovely weekend!

Mark said...

I escaped to my Pembrokeshire cottage today - alone to do nothing but write. Bliss.

Frances said...

Ahhh Cait, I am now ending two weeks of unscheduled time, and think that I love it as much as you do.

I do envy you the quiet of your winter in that cottage. And I am going to see if my library will have or can locate a copy of The Garden in the Clouds.

May I also send along a compliment on your poem from the prior post. It fit perfectly in with my restful, yet curious mind.


Ruth said...

I have a cottage heart too, as I sit by the fire this morning. Wordsworth's is so lovely.

I think "candles at four o'clock" is a nice title for a book, or a poem.

ds said...

Wonderful quotes, and the book sounds lovely. Simplicity, yes. Important to remember in this hectic month. Thank you.

Bee said...

This makes me LONG for a rural hideaway. I've been to Dove Cottage, though, and I didn't much fancy it. Frankly, its dark cramped interior made me think: No wonder William and Dorothy were always outside walking!

As for the unscheduled time, though . . . I'll take a big portion of that!