Before we went on our little vacation last week, Pete asked what my Aunt’s place was like as we’d decided to stay with her for a few days towards the end of our week away. “Well, she lives in a little village in an old cottage that overlooks the estuary. There’s a pub and a church and when the tide comes in it goes up the bottom of her drive”.
The truth is, it had been so long since I’d visited (somewhere around 15 years ago) that it was hard to remember and even then I knew I’d never appreciated her life for what it was.
We arrived into Bere Ferrers on a gloriously sunny late afternoon and after 2 miles of twisty, turny, single-track road with high hedges (not too many of those in London, or tractors!), it suddenly gave way to the most amazing view. We drove past a handful of houses, the war memorial and the pub before swinging round alongside the estuary and parking up against a little stone wall – high enough to stop the tide spilling over but not too high to ruin the view and even low enough for Maddie to put her paws up and take it all in.
It is, simply, stunning. At 35 I can finally appreciate this lifestyle that I never did as a teenager, my childhood was spent in the Welsh countryside and then the Norfolk countryside before relocating to a small market town in Berkshire for my teenage years so I was desperately craving life in a big city by the time I left home at 21.
Now of course I realise the value in both lifestyles, and sitting in my Aunt’s garden last week having afternoon tea with damson and apple jam made from fruits she’d grown in her garden certainly does make you think twice.
Her house is an end of terrace cottage, built in the mid-1800s by some business-minded ferryman who used to ferry across the estuary.
You can sit and listen in her garden and hear nothing, apart from sea gulls or horses or the gently lapping tide.
I described it on Instagram last week as the kind of place a heroine would go in a film to mend a broken heart, and probably fall in love with some farmhand, realising that New York wasn’t for her after all and she’ll now be content with knitting bootees for goats whilst wearing clothes made of dandelions and drinking tea made of rainbows. Those kind of houses which we, as the movie-goer think “whatever, that kind of house or lifestyle doesn’t exist”.
But it does exist, and it was so very wonderful. Strolling to the pub each night for some local cider, letting Maddie run around wherever she wanted because there was no traffic, nothing to stop her, going on long walks, just generally enjoying a slower pace of life.
It was great to watch Pete taking everything in. Whereas I have lived in the countryside, apart from a short spell in Ely where he spent most of his time commuting to work in other places, he’s never spent time away from cities or new-build commuter towns, growing up within spitting distance of London proper. He’s a quiet happy is my husband, most of the time he looks totally fed up and miserable but just doesn’t outwardly express his joy or elation about anything unlike me who is deliriously happy just to wake up every day. We have different happiness scales, but I knew that he was enjoying it and just trying to comprehend it all. He’s already said he wants to go back, high praise indeed.
So to our rural idyll, for now a place that we can visit and love and cherish and slow down. Thank you.
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A lovely post. It makes me want to get on a train and go down there. I could do with a nice pint in a good pub (or even a cup of tea in a blooming garden) 🙂 xx
Isn’t the English countryside beautiful? Thanks for stopping by sweets Xx
God that is just gorgeous. I feel relaxed just looking at photos of those view! I can totally understand your description of a place the heroine of a film or book would go. Brilliant! And the light in the photos – amazing.
Fionnuala from http://www.threesonslater.blogspot.com
Ah thank you Fionnula, honestly the photos are all down to the beautiful subject matter I think it’s impossible to take a bad photo there. So very lovely X
It looks gorgeous – and what a stunning view! I think london should have more hedges 😉 Hope you had a great break #homeetc
It was so very relaxing, so much more so than I thought it would be. I’ve got some funny images in my head now of a London full of hedges 🙂 X
I’m with you on having a tidy ordered house but would love to live next to the sea like this. I’m a country boy, going to uni in Bristol is the only city living I’ve ever done so anywhere with space and nature like this appeals.
Ah my brother is the same as you, he spent a lot longer than I did living in the countryside and tried city life in both Manchester and London but it didn’t appeal. Thank goodness we’re all different otherwise we’d all be trying to squish into the countryside I’m sure! Thank you for stopping by.
Oh what an absolutely gorgeous spot that is, the house truly is idyllic and those views are lovely, I want to be sitting in the orchard too! x #homeetc
I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many apples on trees, and I’m definitely sure I’ve never seen pears! I’ve been in London too long 😉 X
Gosh — what an absolutely beautiful place!! SO lovely. You can see — as an artist — she’d get totally inspired living there. Wonderful! Thanks so much for linking up with us pet 🙂 #HomeEtc
Totally! There is literally inspiration within every view, so stunning. Thank you for hosting Xx
How romantic and utterly dreamy. So tranquil and peaceful. Stunning. I would like it there too – I can imagine writing in the garden, and then enjoying a cuppa after walking the dog. Lovely 🙂 Thanks for linking up, lovely to have you again – and thanks for sharing 🙂 Jess xx
It’s so beautiful, it definitely took the edge off my city life for the first couple of days we were back 🙂 Thank you for hosting as always Xx
It’s beautiful – I can totally see why you’re smitten! I always feel the same when I visit my auntie’s house in rural Lincolnshire – it’s so pretty and peaceful. I guess Ely seems quiet compared to London, but it still seems noisy and crowded to me! I love it when we go on a rural holiday and it’s just so peaceful. Hope you’re settling back down into normal life again. I think you’d enjoy this book, a lot of which is set in Cornwall: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Distance-Raffaella-Barker/dp/1408854155/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1442481574&sr=8-1&keywords=raffaella+barker
Lizzie, that book looks amazing!! I’m going to see if I can get it from the library on my next visit 🙂 Xx
Wow what a stunning place to live and your aunt’s cottage is just gorgeous. How wonderful to be able to wake up and see that view every day. I love your description of it being like somewhere a film heroine would go to get over a broken heart 🙂
Thank you Louise, it’s certainly inspirational and a super place to be an artist for sure. I wish I could see into the future and know whether I’d love this lifestyle or ultimately find it isolating X
Im a total country girl – this place is perfect! I grew up in the suburbs, lived in London for two years when I was 18 and had enough of it quite quickly. I love London, but living there is too much. I’m now living in the country where my house is plotted in the middle of lots of fields, farms and meadows and blackberries growing in my garden. I could read posts like this all day <3 xx
Thanks lovely for stopping by, isn’t it funny how sometimes we can go against the environment we were brought up in? I could well imagine finding myself back in the country at some point, but not for a while yet. My measure is that I’m ok if I can see stars from my backgarden at nighttime. But if I want chickens we may need to relocate ;O) Xx
Wow – this looks amazing. I love that she lives how she wants to. I find all too often we style our houses how we think others would like (and how fashion dictates). I personally can’t stand the shabby chic/Cath Kidston stuff – I love colour and my rooms vary from purple, green to teal. Bright and bold, but I know it wouldn’t suit other people taste.
Your Aunt’s home looks delightful xx
I totally agree Sarah, I am not a shabby chic lover either. Yes my aunt is very much her own woman, good for her! And I definitely think differences should be celebrated, who wants to be a lemming?! X