Country Life

My earliest recollection of Country Life magazine was as a young boy growing up on my parent’s dairy farm in NZ, it was quite special when I think about it. We were the only Dutch family in the neighbourhood and blessed with lovely English neighbours the Curtis family who remained our dearest friends for decades after. The farming relationship worked really well, however, there remained a friendly rivalry between their high butter-fat Jersey cows and our leaner and higher milk producing Friesian pedigrees. Occasionally, their Jersey bull would jump the fence to our herd and the vet was needed and who should pay for this? As it happened, I was good at mowing their lawns and invited in to their relaxed farmhouse for refreshments and seeing English antiques of fox hunts and copies of English Country Life and admiring their great estates and how neat their lawn-striping looked and thought, I’d love to do this for the Curtis’s. I earned a reputation for mowing their lawns well and was always paid above standard rates.

I recall my parents were avid readers but they were puzelled why their four children didn’t follow their reading footsteps. Was it a lack for trying or distraction that came with country living? What I do know, is, my school reports said Chris could benefit by more reading and linked this to improving everything. Sure enough, when I went on to study architecture the demand for reading was certainly strong but not in a heart-felt way. Later, the onus to maintain professional development as an architect helped a passion come the surface when I came across copies of Country Life at Melbourne newsagents. The content, sparked early childhood memories of how Mrs Curtis made Yorkshire pudding to John Goodall’s exemplary editing skills on heritage architecture. Each week, I can’t wait for reading nourishment and cycle to nearby Brighton for a copy of Country Life magazine.