OK, I admit it. I am property greedy. A country house in Dorset or Devon, a cottage in the Highlands and a pad in London are just bare necessities for me. Oh, and I’d like to throw in a second home somewhere in Italy and a small place in Barcelona. The snag is that a (hopefully temporary) shortage of funds prevents me from fulfilling my
modest requirements. To assuage my cravings, I have turned voyeuse instead. Which is why every week I pour over the pages of Country Life, both in print and online, and spend an inordinate amount of time on estate agents’ websites.
My current favourite is a sporting estate in Brora, Scotland, which is
on the market with Strutt&Parker. It has all the requisites to entice the next Madonna ? traditional lodge, cottages, stalking, grouse, woodcock, snipe and duck shooting, and hill loch fishing. But what did it for me was the landscape. More than a thousand acres of rugged Highland countryside, the muted green and ochre of the land broken by the vivid blue of a stream. It’s a place where I can see myself retiring to write a novel. Alas, I’d need a bestseller or three before I become what estate agents call ‘a proceedable buyer’. But this corner of Highland paradise can be yours for only $2.5m.
There is also another, more subtle, reason I fell so quickly in love with the Highlands estate. Its particulars are reasonably concise and well-written. Which is a rare occurrence. One thing I have noticed while window home shopping is that, the grander the property, the more magniloquent the brochure.
Houses invariably ‘benefit from’, rather than have, underfloor heating; and always ‘boast a wealth of period features,’ rather than having an 18th century fireplace. This linguistic redundancy is so widespread that I am almost getting used to it. But a few days ago I read something that nearly made my eyes pop out of their sockets. I was looking at an Australian property website ? well, you never know where life is going to take you ? when I chanced upon a brochure that described the master bedroom as ‘eloquent’. Presumably, it is better than sleeping in an inarticulate one…