December 23, 2015

New favorite magazine: Country Life

I recently paid something like $300 for a one-year subscription to Country Life magazine. My first issue just arrived. Here are some reasons why I'm in love with this weekly.

Editorial opens in this issue with an op-ed from the Rt Rev Richard Frith, Bishop of Hereford on the Syrian refugee crisis. Yes, this is Country Life magazine. And he's right: "Although aware that not everyone will be as welcoming as we would like, in preparing the ground in advance, I see no reason why these new arrivals will not be accommodated and settled happily in our deeply rural area. We've done it before."

This very serious editorial is followed by a series of short front-of-book news items, including a page on Taittinger Champagne; a rapid decline in the curlew population; a notice about a new game fair in June; and a news item called "Save Our Rare Goats." ALL ON TWO PAGES.

Then there's more front-of-book items, some market work (a dressing gown, a tote bag, a crystal bowl), a sidebar about Champagne, a reader's letter to the editor about her labrador, an op-ed about animal charity, and then straight into a profile of the Director of the National Gallery.

I love the diversity of content—somehow the pages seem totally ADD, but it all holds together because everything is interesting and thoughtfully executed.

Some of my other favorite stories from this issue:
— A beautiful pictorial of the Lichfield Cathedral in Staffordshire
— A two-page spread on snowberries
— A story called: "How to enjoy the Christmas full moon" which is exactly what is says it is
— Guide to family-owned British businesses that are more than 300 years old
— A THREE PAGE FEATURE ON ERMINES, the animal. The pull-quote is: "An ermine signified the villainous stoat newly shriven of its sins." Best pull-quote ever about ermines.
— A mini Shakespeare quiz
— A historical anniversaries quiz, sample question: "It will be 300 years since the birth of this landscape gardener, who designed the estates of Croome Court, Blenheim Palace, and Harewood House" which I think proves that British people are smarter or are just taught more facts in school.
— A short story by William Boyd
— A story about master cake-icers
— FOUR Brussels sprouts recipes
— A page of Zara Phillips' favorite things this season (I want to buy all of them, but wouldn't know what to do with the Range Rover since I can't drive)
— Feature on Fawlty Towers' 40th anniversary
— A comparison chart of property prices across the UK from 1980 to present day

This is my new favorite magazine and I'm so happy it's going to be coming weekly. *Happy dance*