(painting by Lucy Pratt, “First Poppy”, oil on canvas 32×32 inches)
My country cousin James made his money in property and business in London, then in his late thirties moved permanently to the country which he loved and was where he came from. James was a good looking charmer with a big personality, a sophisticated, much traveled sporting and ladies man. He was older than me and one Sunday when I was at my Boy Scout camp turned up in an old touring open Bentley with a big leather strap round the bonnet and a beautiful girl, I was so proud. I got on with James, when I was thirteen he gave me my first fly fishing rod which I still have and regaled me with stories like shooting crocodiles on the Upper Nile. Then when I was older we used to go clubbing and gaming together. James was a hunting, shooting, fishing and racing man who’s first love was the country. Some time after he died, Justin his son and I went back to the village that side of the family come from and Justin scattered his father’s ashes around the Norman church where generations of our ancestors are buried, the family came over with the Conqueror. The rest of the ashes Justin scattered deep in the countryside, in a beautiful wooded valley his father loved so much.. Justin, a ‘chip off the old block’ is very like his father. He was in film producing in London, then married and moved back to the country, which like his father he loves. In a beautiful spot just outside Chipping Norton Justin has his very successful website design company, Blue Smarty. His lovely wife Lucy is a painter with an international reputation (Lucy Pratt) and has her studio in their large house. Altogether they have the perfect place for them to work and bring the kids up, with Lucy like Justin having her heart in the English countryside.
My country cousins,