In a trip down south, Tessa Waugh finds her childhood village becoming increasingly unrecognisable, as “Cottage Core” influencers and “real coffee” infuse the neighbourhood with a trendier vibe
The longer we live in the Cheviots, the more the place where I grew up feels like a foreign land. In Game of Thrones terms, it’s a bit like a Mediterranean Westeros compared to life at the Wall.
The children and I are in Wiltshire now, staying with Granny and Grandpa, enjoying the sun on our limbs and the chance to break out our summer clothes. The words of the song, “Summertime and the living is easy,” keep springing to mind as we make our way around the Lilliputian landscape. It is so pretty here. I just wish there weren’t so many people.
Also, when did it get so trendy? In the nearest town, someone was selling pizza and barista-style coffee out of an old van while a lady ambled by pushing a pug in a pram. My mother showed me the Instagram account of the new tenants in the cottage up the road; a series of whimsical images of a blonde lady in flowing white dresses with a similarly clad toddler at foot. There were artful shots of apples in baskets, sun setting through dappled leaves and the like. I’ve been reading about these people in the press – their depictions, mostly on Instagram, of a perfect rural idyll which have been given the name Cottage Core. Apparently, the movement has gained traction recently with everyone craving a simpler life.
“Her husband is a mixologist,” explained my sister. “Works at The Newt.” She might as well have been speaking another language.
In the barbers, Chris, who cuts my dad’s hair, vanquished the last vestiges of Jack and Alec’s Covid haircuts. Adam had done them painstakingly with Matthew the shepherd’s clippers, creating a look that brought to mind the Norman soldiers depicted in the Bayeaux Tapestry.
“They had to cut it short to stop it getting caught in the armour,” Adam explained.
I myself have enjoyed going feral on the hair front – wearing roots and grey with pride. All the same, I just couldn’t resist peering into my hairdresser’s salon last week and was surprised to see Janet moving about inside.
She came out to join me on the street, explaining that Scottish salons had been given the go ahead to open by Nicola Sturgeon, but with no guidance as to how they should proceed.
Adam rang to say that he’d been out on hound exercise on horses for the first time – although the one he chose to ride came in with a missing shoe, which was typical.
We will soon bump down to earth when we get back home again and then pugs in prams, barista-style coffee, summer wardrobes and Cottage Core will seem like the stuff of dreams.
Ref Horse & Hound; 6 August 2020