June 18, 2012
The Barbers’ family home is on top of the world. At least that’s how it feels when we step from their car on to the bricked forecourt. Bright skies, rolling hills as far as the eye can see. And just a glimpse of the motorway where Ed’s dad Russell started his working life. We can see why Elizabeth fell in love with the country, as well as with Ed. And his family.
Russell collects us from Jordans bike shop, where we leave the Bandit in hope they can fix what Graham thinks is a fouled plug. It’s been running a bit rough when pottering through the Derbyshire lanes, and seems to be using too much fuel.
The Barbers are warm and generous. We admire the hard work and passion that have gone into building their property … 40 acres of paradise with horses and dogs and chooks and wild deer and even some squirrels! We can see that Liz and Ed will be well-supported if they end up making their home here.
The stone houses in the villages are rough-hewn gems. So are some of the local characters, like 83-year-old Frank who runs the Dog and Partridge pub (alone now his mum has died). He plays the piano in between pulling pints and collects textiles – warehouses full says Russell – in his spare time.
Outlane is the sort of community you imagine once existed throughout country Australia … everyone knows everyone, their families, the story behind every business and building in town …
But it doesn’t feel suffocating, rather comforting. Like pulling on a favourite warm overcoat. There’s respect and affection. Maybe it’s a sign I’m getting old. But I can see Liz enjoying it too. It’s romantic and wild.
If I was going to live anywhere in England I think it would be here in Yorkshire.