I love the TV show Escape to The Country. I also despise it.
It’s a show where the various hosts help city folk find a house in the English countryside. I love it when hard working people find a nice place to call home. I hate it when spoilt upper crust idiots bitch about inconsequential problems with incredible houses: “Well, little Tarquin likes his bedroom window sills to be three feet high and these are two inches too high.”
I saw one where the woman was really fussy, rude, domineering and unpleasant and the only thing the husband wanted was a garage with a pit in the floor. To hide the wife’s body, I suspected.
But today, I’m going to work out what would be on the list if Lady Devotea and I decided to move to England and take up a country manor.
I should mention that this is my list, not hers and she may well have more pressing requirements that force me to rethink. But here’s my list.
Firstly, where? The South is definitely warmer. Needs to be within striking distance of London, but then, all of England is. It’s tiny. Hampshire, East Sussex, Dorset and Cornwall all have their charms, but I’m going to say Devon. Through ‘Devonshire teas’, I think there is a resonance.
It needs to be coastal, and on a cliff.
After being appallingly mistreated in France by just about everybody, we returned to England and went along this very coast. At Dartmouth, there are cannon in the old fort that point at France. When I stood behind one and imagined firing it, it was an excellent experience. So the next item on my list is “It must have a cannon pointing at France” .
Now, there’s no point in being in this area without ready access to several fine culinary delights: Cornish pasties, clotted cream, Devon ice cream.
So next up, I require a local shop that stocks all of these, and delivers. With ten minutes notice.
As far as rooms, three bedrooms will suffice. We have modest needs.
Let’s add it like this: three bedrooms, a decent kitchen, a sitting room, a drawing room, three lounge rooms, an underground music recording studio, a ballroom, a tea room, a breakfast room, a post-prandial tea balcony.
Some land? Of course.
999 acres is the perfect size to avoid various inheritance taxes, so that’s what I want.
I have always wanted a folly. A fake Roman temple or Gothic church. AND an on-site tea shop is mandatory. But not separately!
That’s right – I want a tea shop in a folly!
And lastly, I want a fully established small tea garden
Of course I can have that! There’s one in Cornwall. And I want one.
The budget? What do I care? It’s a virtual exercise.
Or is it? The phone is ringing. I imagine it’s the Escape To The Country producers. I must dash. No doubt you’ll see me soon on the small screen.
*This is List Six of “Lord Devotea’s List Week” a spectacular week of lists, spread over the Beasts of Brewdom and Lord Devotea’s Tea Spouts blog.