The Fallen Man

Everyone has a shady secret of some description. Oh yes you do. We all do. I developed mine late in life. About 6 months ago in fact. Of course I had seen the magazine before. At the bottom of the pile, grubby and rather well thumbed. Popping up in the most unexpected places. In the doctor’s waiting room, the dentist’s too and perhaps not so strangely, The Club library. Men!! I am of course talking about Country Life.

It started when we were looking for a home back in Britain. I wanted something rural. Mrs. Ha wanted to live next door to Hermes. In the end we ended up with a fairly rural home 5 minutes from the Sainsbury megastore. I told Mrs. Ha that there was sure to be a Hermes somewhere locally. I was wrong. Too late. My usual Reading Room fare was Private Eye, often accompanied by the FT. Then one day I looked surreptitiously around me, slid Country Life behind my FT and slumped back into the leather armchair.

I started as an occasional user. Just dabbling. The way of the world however is that soon you need a more regular fix and eventually you can’t do without it. This week (The Easter Edition) it contains an article on the gardens at Hereford Cathedral and mentions Bishop Eastaugh or Mark as I knew him, Mark Hereford. He confirmed me circa 1970. We knew him well as my late brother was a choral scholar at the cathedral school. There is also an article on pond building and another on bird nests. Add in a rather sweet picture of Miss Ella Prichard in the kitchen (she of Sugurella Cakes) and you can begin to see how a man can lapse so easily.

I tend to flick over the stuff on paintings and focus more on the dogs. Last week was particularly good with lots of Norman Thelwell drawings of dogs misbehaving. All of course in the best possible taste.

Paradoxically the section which now interests me least is what is euphemistically called Property News. I would call this bit the property adverts. As a soon-to-be new homeowner (Wednesday is the day) I can now gloss over this. Mrs. Ha and I have to decide whether to keep the existing house name. Being of a (very minor) Country Life type there is no house number. I have suggested Money Pit. We went a mere 50% over budget on the purchase price (a little more if you include the government’s poisonous stamp duty) so it is little wonder that on my most optimistic estimate the refurb is also heading towards the same percentage overspend.

My intention is to keep a natural history journal of my discoveries in and around Money Pit. It started yesterday as we walked from the public house (lunch was excellent) over the down to the new house to show my S-in-L where it is. Best sighting was a pair of copulating kestrels. Rather more impressive than educated fleas but possibly just as quick. We should have averted our eyes but we didn’t. I think Country Life may have corrupted me. I hope it is kept on the top shelf in a brown paper cover in future. Who knows where it may lead?

22 thoughts on “The Fallen Man

  1. Wonderful magazine, even for a colonial who can only sigh longingly.
    The Money Pit it may be, but I do wish you’d give it a better name, Andrew – especially if you mean to expose it to us.
    How about … oh … Merrie Moolah ?

  2. At boarding school in the late 60s someone deposited a large number of 1940s and 1950s vintage “Country Life” mags in the common room.

    Very addictive for a bored kid, I can tell you. I think “CL” drifted towards moral turpitude with the advent of glossy paper….

  3. What’s in a name? A lot, when you think about how you want to be perceived by the local folks are those that are in passing. Something that makes sense to you and is sort of catchy maybe? Not sure what direction you want to go but it could be a combo of your name and Mrs H. and even lulu. Or a nod to your profession or birding. I came up with a number of possibilities- just playing around. I like to make up names for all kinds of things.

    Anyhoo, those that Lottie mentioned made me smile. Clever people for sure.

    I almost fell off the kitchen stool when I read- “Rather more impressive than educated fleas but possibly just as quick.” Andrew, you were on a roll today when writing. All I need do is read, “All downhill From Here” if I want a good laugh. |

  4. Country living and the Hermes well Andrew I would say something but dark would not be what I would call it,May be to much information into the crazy life of finding a house for Andrew to build,its a guy thing as long as there not delivering it in a brown wrapping paper

  5. Wonderful to know that you can simultaneously meet your requirements and Mrs. Ha’s, as well as walk to dinner while keeping an eye on costs and on copulating kestrels. Well done!

  6. Just hand it all over to your higher power and it is not your fault Andrew.I have done the same with glancing (surreptitiously) to the property section of ‘ in Florence and even Sienna.
    It is a vice that has me firmly in its grip.

  7. Copulating kestrels is a great start to your natural history journal – maybe these amorous birds are a sign that you should call your new house ‘The Love Nest’. It’s not very Country Life I know, but it’s a hell of a lot better than’ Dunroamin’.’ The doctor in our village built a new house and called it ‘Bedside Manor’ and the lady opposite us called her house ‘Rogues Roost’ – There’s a lot to be said for just having a number! 😉

    • Perhaps I should open it up for suggestions. Once we are the owners I will reveal its current name Lottie. I do like Bedside Manor.

  8. It sounds like you are definitely in need of rehab. As for your wife needing to live within 5 minutes of Hermes…ah, a woman after my own heart. This is why I tell my husband, no way are we living in the sticks.

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