Look, just because I’m a rubbish gardener and don’t like being suburnt or buzzed by wasps while reading outdoors, doesn’t mean that I cannot appreciate a beautiful garden, and the English cottage garden style which is so difficult to replicate without a lot of hard work…
Did you know, by the way, that there seems to be a trend for short filmed walks through gardens? Try The Flower World on Pinterest.
I’ve discovered there are some beautiful country homes in Ireland as well that I might consider for my future reading/writing retreats… although they are somewhat more expensive than my beloved French chateau (and possibly slightly more rained upon?)
Yay! Finally some time off for a week! I might even do a spot of emergency gardening (aka ‘keeping things under control’), but I doubt that my garden will ever look as pretty as the ones below, unless I bring a proper professional gardener in.
Many of you have complained that reading outdoors has its downsides: creepy crawlies, hayfever, too much glare from the sun, the heat… So how about these balconies for a tolerable compromise? I should add that it’s a shame that not very many British homes have usable balconies, possibly because the weather is not that conducive to sitting outside to read and write… or else developers are trying to cut down on costs.
Having mentioned favourite countries and places in my last post, I thought I’d unearth some historical pictures of a few of my favourite cities. I’ve tried to acknowledge where I found them, but if those sites did not respect copyright issues, I may not have credited the correct place. What strikes me is that these European cities all look quite similar: I don’t know if it’s the grandiose architecture, or the black and white pictures. I’m sure it would be a different story if we looked at a different continent.
You all know my love of French chateaux – I think I may have featured almost every single one of them in past Friday Fun posts. But there are still beautiful houses left in France – the so-called ‘maisons de maitre’ (mansion, estate), which range from the modestly bourgeois to the magnificent. All of the below are for sale on the estate agents’ websites listed below.
Normandy-type villa near Rouen, from Patrice Besse.
2. Classical style near Bordeaux, from Moulin.nl
3. This should be big enough for the entire family to come visit in Dordogne, from Anthouard Immobilier
4. I can never resist this fearful symmetry, in Lot et Garonne, from Legget Immobilier
5. This errs onto the chateau side of the spectrum, near Bernay, from Ivan Ballini Estates.
6. But I would be quietly content with this more modest endeavour, near Berry, from Terres & Demeures.
[I am not sure I will continue with Friday Fun though, as, in addition to it being resource hogging, this new formatting for the pictures and inability to add text directly is too much of a kerfaffle.]
A couple of the readers commenting on last week’s post expressed some misgivings about reading indoors in fine weather, while others admitted they weren’t that keen on reading outdoors. Although in my youth I used to read outdoors (most notably when I was supposed to be looking after my grandmother’s animals – e.g. I read Anna Karenina in the cherry tree, stuffing myself with cherries and losing the cow in the process), I find the insects and the noise of other people’s mowers and barbecues put me off doing so nowadays. However, these gorgeous settings might make me change my mind.
Sadly, the WordPress block editor has decided not to allow me to add any text directly below the image, so I will have to produce a little bit of text in-between images. Can you just quit ‘improving’ things all the time, WordPress?
Above: cosy reading and writing nook, from Decor Renewal.
2. Of course, it helps if you live in a forest. From Book Bub.
3. This is so bright, you might be able to even read here after sunset. From The Backyard Room.
4. If you’re an Italian prince and want the Rolls Royce of garden loungers, this one from Patio Productions should do the trick.
5. I struggle to read for a long time in a hammock, as my back starts aching, but it’s a lovely feel. From Better Homes and Gardens.
6. If all else fails, a garden bench in the shade will do as well. From The Garden Glove.
My garden is a weed-infested, often soggy mess with its heavy clay soil and my lacklustre plant knowledge (and laziness), but I do love to see other people’s gardens, especially if they hint at being half-way secret and tucked away. And, let’s face it, gardens in the UK are simply magnificent!