Cottagecore

27.7.20



During a garden visit to my parents’ home in Hampshire, we talk about their decision to move us out of London in the late 1970s.
   This is not a new conversation. As their eldest child, and aged 16 when they moved us to a sleepy hamlet deep in the countryside, I’d felt the culture shock the keenest.
   But during this conversation my mother rushes off for a moment and comes back with something, proffering it like a vital piece of missing forensic evidence. It is a small plastic tray featuring a printed picture of a thatched cottage in a forest glade, surrounded by friendly woodland wildlife.
   This one image encapsulates the bucolic fantasy she had carried with her over all these years, a form of corroborative homeware. Her pastoral dream of home, or Cottagecore: rolling hills, woodland clearing, thatched roof, picket fence and crucially no human neighbours, only animal ones. 
   For me it had been too late, for as a teenager I had already fallen under the spell of city life and moved back to London a few years later. But the experience of moving home from city to countryside stayed with me: in particular through ideas about what a home actually is. Yes, it’s the physical fabric of a dwelling, but what about its context and community: is it near amenities and other people? And what about the land it sits on: does it share it or have its own land?