Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Allure of a Cottage...

From across the sea, a land I have never visited beckons to me. Why have I always dreamed of England as if it were a place of myths and enchantment? Perhaps because, to me, it is. The stories of King Arthur that I devoured as a child are rooted there. The windswept moors of the Brontes are there. The manor houses peopled by Jane Austen's unforgettable characters are there. And always, indisputably romanticized in my mind, tiny cottages with lovely gardens are strewn across the countryside, awaiting my arrival for a long, lazy fortnight. Nevermind that no-one does anything by the "fortnight" in my real world. Never mind that I have no imminent plans to travel to Great Britain. A cottage awaits me. Of that I am sure.

Have I been making scones more frequently of late because the Anglo-mood is upon me once again? Or have I induced the interest in All-Things-English by consuming so much tea and so many scones? The latest batch, laced with apples and cinnamon, was consumed just before I piled my bedside table with a few modern novels set in an English cottage. The two I intend to read first are Thornyhold and Rose Cottage by Mary Stewart. These are old favorites of mine, and I am looking forward to visiting old friends as I read them again!

This afternoon, I watched Emma Thompson's movie version of Sense and Sensibility as I did my ironing. I've seen it many times, but still cried my way through a favorite emotional scene. I'll pull out a few more Jane Austen adaptations as the month goes on. I have to admit, February and March are the months I am most ready to head for "anywhere but here." By this time, late in winter, I am ready to fly thousands of miles to find spring. I'm ready pack my bags and leave a note on the counter saying, "Call me when the first flower blooms and I'll come home."

Why do I imagine that in England it is always late spring, or the soft early days of summer, and flowers always blooming? Why do I imagine that rain there does not ruin plans, but rather softens the hard edges of one's life? I know that I have "picked and chosen" the things I love about England and made of them an imaginary place in which I would love to spend idyllic days. Never mind what my intellect tells me. In my heart, I know that tucked inside a cheerful tangle of rosevines beyond a garden wall, a cottage awaits me.

photos by Aisling, 2006 and 2007

11 comments:

Vicky said...

I really like this post, M. Your words take me to England too. I like the thought of rain softening the hard edges of life. Have to admit that I never turn away a rainy day. I think I like them better than snowy days. I think because, from inside the house, rain has both sound and sight. Anyway, just wanted to say how lovely your words are and that your blog, along with Lynda's, has such good food ideas and pictures! :)

Aisling said...

Vicky, Thank you for stopping in for a visit. I do love the sound of rain falling against the window, and even a thunderstorm.

Senryu said...

You'll never guess what I was doing last night, Kaa-san. I was recording rain outside my window, saving the file as "Neihu Rain" on my computer. ^^ I do love rain...

You are probably one of the biggest culprits in me being so desparate to head over to the UK for college...you, and the world of literature, and Otou-san and his family's storytelling. I think I can credit you with my love of all things written, and both of you (as well as my ancestors!) for my love of the spoken word. ^^

You're making me wish I'd gone on Exchange to England, Kaa-san, stop it! Lol. Much love,

~Senryu

Aisling said...

Senryu,

I can't wait to hear your recording of the rain! Your time in Asia may have proved my theory that we "pick and choose" what we love about another culture, and make of it an imaginary place. Nevertheless, I still yearn for a little time in the English countryside (and yes, I still hear Ireland calling my name too!) *grin*

Grace said...

I too have that longing to visit the land of my ancestors - England. My little cottage is nestled amongst the green hills and is covered with flower-covered ivy, surrounded by a fabulously wild little country garden.

It's a place I go in my heart when I need peace and serenity.

Rapunzel said...

Beautiful words as usual, Aisling! I do enjoy your lovely musings. Those scones sound wonderful, too, my mouth is watering!

Aisling said...

Grace, Maybe we are neighbors over there in our little cottages! I'd like that!

Rapunzel, Thanks so much for reading my musings... It's nice to know someone is reading who "gets me," you know?

hugs to you both!

Nan said...

I've been thinking about this posting since I first read it a few days ago. Simply beautiful, dear friend. And I am so there with you! An author you might like is D.E. Stevenson, and also Elizabeth Cadell.

We spent a month in England, Ireland, and Wales with our children in 1992, and stayed in three different rental cottages. They were each like living in heaven. From one, we took evening walks and saw rabbits cavorting in the fields. Another had a rose-lined walkway, and the other had a walled garden. They were just as you imagine, and do really exist. I have to "be in Britain" either through a book or a television series or a movie as often as possible.

Aisling said...

Nan, How wonderful your trip in 1982 sounds. Someday I hope to have a similar trip. I am going to look for books by DE Stevenosn and Elizabeth Cadell (the later I may have read.) Thank you for those recommendations and for sharing your experience in the Britain we both dream about!

Cin said...

Oh this brings back memories! When I was last in England (which is several years more than I care for) I was lucky enough to spend some time in the Cotswolds. Of all the places we went to, it was Lower Slaughter that caught my heart. Someday, someday...

I had to smile when I read about your visit with two of my favourite Mary Stewart books - I've just finished re-reading Thornyhold, and have Rose Cottage ready to go.

I suspect that if you're ever in my neck of the temperate forest, we'd probably get on well!

Aisling said...

Cin, Thanks for visiting my Quiet Country House. It isn't exactly a cottage in England, but it's nice to meet someone who shares that wistful longing. How fortunate you are to have travelled there. I'll stop in at your blog soon and return the viist! :)