Country Life Magazine

This weekly glossy is an Institution.

Or rather, I imagine it is for those who live the life depicted in its pages.

I once saw leather-bound editions dating to the 1920s in a house where they rent out the East Wing, and their wedding present was His and Hers ponds just beyond the garden maze (I am so not kidding).

I have always assumed it is the practical, beautiful tome of the landed gentry – full of useful tidbits and a charming array of drool worthy snaps.

So, on a whim, I bought a copy the other day.

I was not wrong.

It is mostly gorgeous houses and epic gardens, interspersed with eccentrically Conservative op-eds about Our Heritage and mint juleps.

The week I bought it there was also a free supplement: The Country Life Guide to Good Schools.

And by good schools they mean the Hogwarts-esque type I mentioned to you once before.

The ads were an amazing array of grandiose palaces of knowledge, where tuition probably costs more than many people’s income in this country.

I think I might sound bitter. I’m not. Not really. Just that odd mix of excited and alarmed and weirdly aspirational that I guess such institutions are meant to inspire.

I love the opulence and charm of the enchanted world depicted in these pages. Yet I feel the pangs of hard-working, liberal guilt for wanting anything a kin to the decadence of 3 tennis courts or a yacht when I could have and do so many other things with that sort of cash.

It’s the sort of turmoil that amuses me on rainy Mondays.

So, in an oddly bemused spirit, I share with you my most favourite passage. I hope it reflects the well-intentioned, slightly mad and utterly brilliant experience that is Country Life’s 39 Steps to A Better Life:

I’ll be honsest I find some their choices confounding  – why must I know the work of Constable over Picasso? Or Cantonese rather than Mandarin? And seriously, my life is incomplete without football riots?

But the idea that life is more than exams, and that a full one has all sorts of experiences in it which make life richer and its inhabitants more confident, is certainly one I can behind.

Also I especially like the usage of the terms “bop” and “tech whisperer”.

We had a gleeful exchange testing each other against this list over a pot of tea one morning, much as I did with old college friends and those quizzes in Cosmopolitan, though then the content was quite of another ilk.

Both experiences were, however, hilarious and informative. What more could I ask for from a whimsical magazine purchase?

I wonder how you’ll stack up against the Jackaroo standard, dear reader. Here’s hoping your day is full of bowties and bonfires!

2 Responses to “Country Life Magazine”
  1. Rupert Neil Bumfrey (@rupertbu) says:

    Next you will be subscribing to “The Lady”!


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: