Can you hear that distant rumble? It’s the stampede for the M25, as beleaguered Londoners make a beeline for the Cotswolds and beyond. Even before the threat of Tier 2 restrictions, one in ten city dwellers were planning to up sticks to the countryside in the wake of the pandemic, now that working in the office is no longer de rigueur, densely populated areas are a red flag and cities without arts, culture or dining out hold less appeal.
There’s been a rise in ‘cottage core’, a trend across social media fetishing the bucolic life, photos of ivy-strewn cottages and trundles in orchards neatly bypassing the more visceral aspects of country living. It’s telling that that barometer of how British men dress – David Beckham, face of the millennial metrosexual man – has adopted a ‘down on the farm’ wardrobe in his online updates from his country home, admittedly a grand Oxfordshire compound.
All of which raises the debate of townies vs country bumpkins, and how to assimilate yourself as you crash land into a chocolate box village clutching your almond-milk frappuccino and checking the Uber Eats account. Beckham is a case in point; from slickly suited and booted in London, he’s veered into comical country squire territory – flat caps, wellies, gilets and a Gandalfian staff. Well curated for the Instagram illusion, but not what actual country folk wear.