Lie Back and Think of England

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Nick Churton of Mayfair International Realty discovers an English country cottage worthy of the most enchanting fairy tale.

For many around the world thoughts of England often include big country houses – like the one in the TV show, Downton Abbey. Other thoughts are of tiny country cottages, painted pink with a thatched roof, roses growing round the door, cottage gardens with foxgloves and hollyhocks and perhaps a little pond at the front bounded with irises.

But are these thoughts the product of vivid and over-romantic imaginations helped on by the film industry? Well I have to tell you these cottages really do exist. And I can prove it. The county of Suffolk is on the eastern side of the UK. A couple of hundred years ago it would have been easier to reach Holland by sea, than London by road, from this part of the world. Which is why there are so many Flemish influences still to be seen. But this still largely rural county is also well known for its delightful and charming country cottages in the English style, many of them painted in what is known as Suffolk pink.

Close to the small town of Halesworth in Suffolk and tucked away down a narrow country lane – where few know of its whereabouts – is South Cottage. It has been standing, largely unaltered, for the past three hundred years – from about the time King James I was on the English throne. Time seems to have passed this cottage by – and time has always passed very slowly in this part of the world.

Here is a cottage that restores one’s faith in fairy tales – if one’s faith ever needed restoring. It is a pretty little place just as the stories suggest. No doubt it creaks a bit when night falls and the east wind blows, and it might not be as draught-proof or as spacious as a modern house. But when the dragonflies are on the wing, the irises are in flower and the summer sun makes the pond sparkle and dance this is a little piece of heaven – or England, which is another word for heaven.

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