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Thursday, 14 May 2015

Country Living days

I don't know what your favourite magazine is, but mine is Country Living. I've been a loyal reader too...I've been reading it since 1988, poring over the pages packed with country homes, articles on gardening, hen keeping, rural issues , seasonal recipes and wellbeing.

And this month's edition June 2015 is a very special one. Firstly the magazine is celebrating its 30th birthday

And secondly there's an article about five mothers and their daughters who enjoy reading the magazine, and my daughter Lucy and I are featured.

I may be used to hearing my voice over the airwaves of the BBC, but it was quite a shock to see a photo of Lucy and I in a magazine which we both love.

The first copy of Country Living I saw was placed on a table by my bedside with a small jug of flowers from the garden. Mr Thinking of the Days, our children and I were visiting my brother  Richard and my lovely sister in law Cindy....I remember it was the summer of 1988. I read it from cover to cover, bought the next month's issue, and that was it.....I was hooked, and have read every copy since!

At the time we were living in surburbia, on the very last  road before open countryside. Yes , we could walk down the lane into open country, but I yearned for a cottage in the country. Reading Country living fuelled that longing and five years later, my husband, three children and I were living in an idyllic conservation village in a  three hundred and sixty year old thatched cottage in Leicestershire.

So what do I like  about Country Living? Well, most things really. I love peeking into other people's homes and gardens for inspiration, the pages on rural issues, and particularly am enjoying Patrick Barkham's evocative features and Louise Elliot's Country in the City columns. I've tried many of the recipes over the last twenty six or so years, and in the old days I very much enjoyed Barbara Grigg's articles on health and wellbeing.

There's a monthly ritual following the thwack of the magazine  through the letterbox. First of all, I make myself wait until I am comfortably sitting on the sofa with the dogs beside me. I may have a cup of coffee by side, or it's after 6.30pm, there will probably be a glass of wine involved.
I look at Suzy Smith's editor page first...then it's straight to the homes and gardens features, where I admire or, lust after various properties and gardens with the wow factor. Then it's a straightforward read, page by page through the magazine. I might leave the magazine on the coffee table or by my bed for a spot of late night re reading. After that, the current issue joins the others in various piles of Country Living dotted around the house. I keep the copies for about three years, sometimes more.

 When I'm feeling under the weather, there's nothing more comforting than a whole batch of magazines to have a flick through sat by the fire or propped up in bed.

But even being such a hoarder, there's a time when the old magazines have to go! But not before I 've cut out favourite recipes or things that have caught my eye.

I haven't bought my own copy of  Country Living for a while now though - my mother very kindly buys me an annual subscription as part of my Christmas present. And in turn, I now buy one for my daughter Lucy. I have to...otherwise my copies might go missing!

So Country Living, congratulations on your thirtieth anniversary, and thanks for the memories...


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