A Country Life: At Home in the English Countryside


by: Strong, Roy
Format: Hardcover

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Product Description Sir Roy Strong and his wife, the designer Julia Trevelyan Oman, have lived in the country for nearly thirty years. In 1987 he was asked to write an occasional column reflecting this quintessentially English way of life for the prestigious magazine A Country Life. This charming book brings these popular pieces together, portraying the passing of the seasons in what the author describes as his ‘beloved adopted county’ of Herefordshire. A Country Life is a wide-ranging kaleidoscope of memories and observations, embracing the countryside, gardens, cooking, and remembrances of things both long gone and only yesterday. The author writes lyrically of the arrival of the bright green tarragon shoots in spring; of the delights of eating al fresco; of making sorbets from blackberry and quince; of the russet beech hedges in winter and the sweet nostalgia that comes from unpacking Christmas decorations. The keynote of A Country Life is delight – a portrait of life in the English countryside, which seems as old as time itself. From Publishers Weekly Flowery language abounds in this slim collection of diary-like musings by Strong, former director of Britain's Victoria & Albert Museum and National Portrait Gallery. Now a critic, historian and garden designer to such clients as Prince Charles, Elton John and the late Gianni Versace, Strong cuts a broad swath on the English arts scene. Thankfully, his upper crustiness is softened by eccentric charm, making these dispatches from his country estate, the Laskett, an entertaining choice for armchair gardeners and society wannabes. Published in Britain's Country Life magazine from 1989 to 1994, the entries are seasonally arranged, chronicling the ins and outs of daily life in Herefordshire. "At the Laskett," Strong writes, "I know that spring is really here when the pleached lime avenue we call Elizabeth Tudor is thickly carpeted with daffodils... and also when the fountain, emptied for the duration of winter, spurts and sparkles once again in the light outside the breakfast room window." Autumn's first frost "[causes] us to retreat from conservatory to dining room to eat." Winter heralds the passing of Strong's beloved cat Reverend Wenceslas Muff, who is succeeded by William Larkin Esq. and Herzog Friedrich von Sans Souci, kittens whom Strong trains to walk on a leash. An opening article reprinted from Hortus describes the house and garden ("the largest formal garden in England to be planted from scratch since 1945") in detail. B&w sketches by Strong's wife, Oman, a designer for film, television and theater, add to the volume's unique appeal. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Booklist A preeminent historian, prolific and engaging writer, and celebrated gardener, Strong offers a gathering of musings originally jotted down in the form of columns for Country Life magazine. Strong chronicles the day-by-day meanderings that comprise a veritable pastoral life in the company of his wife, the well-known designer Julia Trevelyan Oman, and their delightful cats, an existence that stands in striking contrast to our modern, technologically driven times. Offering readers a vicarious experience filled with aromas of marmalade and holiday dinners, Strong also provides glimpses of famous landscapes and English towns. Of his own beguiling gardens, Strong creates resonant images of clipping the box borders and setting in place striking ornamentation rife with personal associations. Readers are invited along to enjoy seasonal pleasures, such as the fragrant bulbs flowering alongside garden paths in springtime and the crisp winter air tinged with wood smoke, as Strong, a good friend and a genial host, opens a door to the English countryside and welcomes us into the comfort of his home and its myriad pleasures. Alice Joyce Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved Review “Splendid baroque prose.” --- The Independent [U.K.] “Sir Roy was bl


Product Code: 9780312307097
ISBN: 0312307098
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 2003-03-25
Number of Pages: 192 pages
Languages: english
Edition: 1st
Dimension: 5 x 0.79 x 7.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 0.65 pounds