Escape to the Country is a programme designed to aid country type people, 'townies,' to find a rural idyll that they can call their own. I like this programme. It enlivens our covetous nature as we watch a couple, always a couple, and sometimes some pretty strange couples appear on this show, we watch a couple wander about several houses wondering if this is 'the one,' and mentally tear down walls and build families. (Maybe they should keep the last bit to themselves of course?) We covet both the money these people have to spend, usually in the regions of £300.000 to a million or so, and then dream about the house we wish to possess, all the while shivering in our clammy cave sitting over the last candle to keep warm. But do these people know what they are doing I wonder?
The presenters give lavish information regarding the are in which the couple desire to find a dwelling, the green country, the deep blue sea, the history and the communications, all with a smile and a cheery disposition. And yet I have never heard mention of the ducking stool or the witch burning, the wife swapping is ignored and there is never a mention of what they did when they caught that poacher! Do these incomers not understand why Agatha Christie set so many of her crime stories in villages? Do they think 'Miss Marple' was an invention of the author? These were not novels, they were news reporting! Yet not one word of this is mentioned by the cheery presenters of this country. 'Community' is mentioned many times, especially when speaking of the local pub, the presence of the Post Office, and of course the small shop. Yet the pub is not called 'The Jolly Hangman' for nothing! The Post Office was closed after the little old lady running it was done for murdering her 'toyboy,' and the small shop is run by a sour spinster and her brother who has not been right since he was mortared at Monte Cassino! If you hear strange noises in the night it is just him 'passing through' the garden. It's best not to look out......
When the house buyers have finished grumbling about the insufficient 19 acres of land, the problem with the upstairs toilet, and wondering if the house, priced at a mere £850,000 is for them, nobody mentions the curtains twitching across the road. Do they not know that while the farmer, desperate for income, is happy to sell them an extra 'bit of land' for an arm and a leg, the curtain twitcher has already worked out a plan to stop this happening? No voice will be raised amongst the unsmiling, unless they are being paid, villagers about the reason the woman of the house is so eager to 'do a deal.' No voice will mention what, or who, is lying at the bottom of the village pond either,will they? Ducks are often found in such ponds, but surely the programme presenter must have thought an alligator a bit strange for the Cotswold's? I would love a country house with an acre or two. A little wood at the side, a wide panoramic view, preferably of the sea, and the money, and justification, to possess such an abode. However I would be careful about where I buy, amongst whom I would dwell, and remember the story of Lot. He 'saw the land was good,' and it turned out to be Sodom!
Enjoy your house hunting.