At the Robert Lord cottage
Novelist and memoirist Elspeth Sandys reflects on her recent residency
I am a cottage-phile. The very word cottage starts bells chiming in my head, church bells probably, since the words that come to me are Robert Browning’s “God’s in his heaven! –/ All’s right with the world”. The cottage I see in my mind has wisteria trailing over the walls, shutters on the windows, a cosy living-room with an open fireplace, a generous kitchen with an aga, a small courtyard garden, a dog, a cat … . When I think of this place, and put myself in it, I feel nothing can go wrong in my life. I am living simply, in harmony with Nature. I can pay the bills, look the neighbours in the eye, even feel a slight sense of superiority because of my total lack of interest in acquiring anything larger. Castles, palaces, manor houses, the mansions of the wealthy – these are for visiting as a tourist, or gawping at as a stunned observer, not for living in.