Like everything else in the world England is too…
The downside of old English cottages
I have been thinking whether I should or should not write this blogpost as I fear that I would be ‘banned from this country’ if I did. :) But some well established bloggers say writing posts that you never dared writing actually helped them and those posts were always successful. So let’s see, shall we?
The good old English cottage
Everybody seems to love English cottages these days. We adore them no matter what colour they are painted, what they were built of, whether they are thatched or have tiled roofs. They have a timeless charm, fairy-tale-like romantic look which we associate with the real home.
Although we have already stayed at a Tudor cottage in Shrewsbury before, when I booked a 17th century cottage for our holiday in Cornwall this year I was over the moon. At last we are staying at a real English cottage, I thought. I looked at the photos and loved the country style interior as well and all looked cosy: the wood burner, the furniture, the decoration and I could not wait to arrive.
When we arrived, I ran through the house like an overexcited dog and checked out every room. I was pleased to find that the place looked exactly the same as in the photos. The cottage was cosy and romantic – who could not love this? I loved it especially when Bill put the fire on (it was chilly outside and it rained) and we snuggled up in front of the telly with a cup of tea.
The following day, however, I started to notice things and realise the downsides of a cottage like this.
No, I am not saying we were missing anything like modern appliances. That is not an issue, everything can be fitted these days. But when I was dressing up in the bedroom, I realised that the bottom of the window was actually on the floor and the top by my waist. The room was not dark or anything like that, yet it was strange not to be able to look out of the window properly. It is the question of what you are used to, I suppose… Well, I am used to ‘proper’ windows.
Having said windows… Often these windows are single glazed and even if you wanted to change them, you would need to go for an authentic cottage window which can be very expensive.
Then I was looking at the floor which was uneven and bumpy. Of course this is a charming feature as well, but it started to annoy me after a while. (At this point I started to think I was a bit like Poirot… :) ) How could you possibly exercise on a floor like this, I asked myself the question. You could, I suppose, and possibly it is only me being that picky about straight lines and levelled floorings.
The next thing I noticed was that there were some dead areas in the place which could not be used at all. That is certainly not practical. Of course that small window behind the television is cute, but it is difficult to reach it, let alone open or clean it. The wall in the bedroom that looked like an old kiln had a nice ambience with a bunch of flowers in a vase on top, but again, you cannot use that space for anything else.
It also crossed my mind that you could not have practical furniture in a cottage like this. Yes, the chest of drawers are romantic and look lovely, but you also have clothes that need to be hung. There is no way a bigger piece of furniture would fit into a cottage bedroom like this and even if it did, how would that stand by an uneven and bumpy wall…?
What puts many off of buying an old cottage is that they are often listed buildings, which means you cannot move a wall or install an air conditioner for example and need special permission to do certain things with the house.
Please do not get me wrong: I loved our stay at the cottage and enjoyed every minute of it. However, our stay made me think if I ever wanted to live in a cottage like this.
I don’t think so. Or at least not in an old, 16-18th century, timber or stone cottage. I would think they are the most impractical ones and give the most challenge to fit them for a modern life. However, a Victorian or an Edwardian cottage, which were built with more practicality and have straight lines and right angles, I could enjoy, I think. Having said that, the main downside of a Victorian cottage is that the bathroom is often downstairs while the bedrooms are upstairs and I would not really fancy having to go downstairs for a pee in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, many Victorian cottages and terrace houses were built in a way that there is no room to extend upstairs to install a toilet.
Anyway, I am far from buying a cottage as no matter what cottage we are talking about, they are extremely expensive. Therefore, the cottage experience remains a holiday thing for me. A week is enough anyway, I would say. I would not mind living in a gorgeous period property like a Georgian, Victorian or Edwardian detached house or a town house though… :)
How about you? Would you be happy to live in an old English cottage?
This Post Has 2 Comments
Aww. I’m commenting because I’ve recently returned from a stay in an old quarrymans’ cottage in Wales (pre-lockdown); and also lived in a Suffolk fishermans’ cottage.
I found both charming, and the impracticalities around space you mentioned part of the charm. Succumbing my 21st century self to their quirks was a kind of release. Perhaps I’m odd in that I find solace in the simplicity and ‘just enough-ness’ of the past and am often bewildered by the commotion and excess of today. Despite being built centuries ago, and for shorter and more hardy folk (and their animals probably) both cottages were comfortable (heating-wise) and sufficient. I agree on the problem of an upstairs loo – but it’s doable to put one in in one of the upstairs rooms. Having said, I do of course respect your opinion on them.
I also read your post on frustrations of social media. Upkeeping these accounts just hoover up time and energy. So how bloody annoying when someone less authentic but with XX,XXX followers finds it ok to rip off your original material. That plus the vagaries of algorhythms mean their post gets seen and yours doesn’t even if you have done all the work. Like you, I hope that approaching things authentically and being consistent (while somehow fitting in ‘real life’) will bring eventual reward. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog. All the best.
thank you for your lovely feedback and I am glad you enjoyed reading my blog. Please do not get me wrong: I absolutely love old cottages and I prefer staying at a typical cottage whilst on holiday. I am just not sure I could live in one for a long time. But maybe I could! I definitely would love to live in a preiod property, but perhaps in an Edwardian or Georgian house. I suppose it is down to personal taste.
As for social media, I think I just simply have to learn how it works. Because I am not ‘playing the game’, meaning I do not do follow-to-follow and I am not able to flatter influencers by constantly commenting on their posts, I have a huge disadvantage. 🙂 But that’s me, my values and moral – I just simply cannot play these games… Spending less time on social media definitely helps.