Country Life 24 November 2021

Country Life 24 November 2021 is our iconic Advent Calendar cover, which fronts our Christmas special containing gifts, Brussels sprouts, turkey, wine, cigars and chocolates, as well as the architecture of MR James' ghost stories and much more.

THE MESSIAH: Jack Watkins on the enduring magic of Handel’s Messiah.

PUPPET MASTER: War Horse supremo Mervyn Millar tells Katy Birchall his secrets.

ICE SCULPTURE: Fairy kingdoms and ice curtains: Jane Wheatley discovers the ephemeral world of ice sculpture.

SALMON: Tom Parker Bowles tucks in to succulent smoked salmon.

HOW TO CARVE MEAT: Carving meat is an art worth knowing, says Nick Hammond.

BRUSSELS SPROUTS: Debora Robertson salutes the redemption of Brussels sprouts.

CHOCOLATES: British chocolate is on top of the taste world, says Sophie Caldecott.

MADEIRA WINE: Harry Eyres toasts the tipple.

TIPTREE JAM: Nick Hammond tours the forward-looking Tiptree factory.

CHRISTMAS GIFTS: Hetty Lintell finds goodies for all.

NATURE AND GAINSBOROUGHL: Matthew Dennison explores the natural world in Gainsborough’s art.

MY FAVOURITE PAINTING:Luke Edward Hall, interior designer. chooses a powerful Colourist portrait.

THE HOUSES OF M.R. JAMES: Jeremy Musson is chilled by the haunted houses of architectural aficionado M. R. James’s tales.

CHRISTMAS CARDS: Nothing cheers like a Christmas card arriving, says Ben Lerwill.

GEESE: Ian Morton investigates the odd history of the barnacle goose.

INTERIORS: The return of the tablescape.

CANDLES: Fragranced candles are firmly in vogue, believes Julie Harding.

LUXURY: Silhouettes and William Sitwell. Not necessarily in that order.

CIGARS: Bolivar puffs on a new vitola.

FLOWERS: Sofie Paton-Smith’s foraged and grown floral decorations.

FOOD: Kitchen garden cook Melanie Johnson on clementines.

CHRISTMAS MEMORIES: Misty, water-coloured memories from John Lewis-Stempel in the fog.