The “Country style” theme week summarised

Two weeks ago I announced my intention to do a week-long theme week on Instagram, with “Country style” as the topic. The idea was to narrow the focus a little, so instead of lying awake all night trying to decide on what outfit to wear next day (I tell a lie, I sleep quite soundly, though sadly not soundlessly), I’d be able to look beyond the baristas, the tattoo artists and denim denizens (this is an in-joke, it makes sense if you read my review of the awful “Denim Style” book). And once you start thinking about it, country style does provide quite a bit of scope.

I will admit though that I hadn’t thought it well through though, as it was around lunchtime day two that the real flash of inspiration smacked me round the chops: Characters. So back to the thinking box to develop the theme further. And this proved the secret sauce that brought it all together, documenting the characters of a small village somewhere in Great Britain. You may think it is entirely fictional, but some out there will realise they have been portrayed with uncanny accuracy and no doubt Bob is finding himself in hot water these days. And no, I’m not talking about his weekly dip in the bathtub.

The tremendous feedback has inspired me to work on a few more themes, to be revealed at a later point. Thanks to Shaun for sparring ideas with me.

For your viewing convenience, here are all 14 posts from the week, in order, with the text and photos hotlinked to Instagram. Some of them contain several photos for added viewing value or something to that effect.

Day 1: Bertie, the farmer

Meet Bertie. Bertie is a man who enjoys the great outdoors, be it field, woods or the beer garden at «The Stile Inn», his friendly local free house of good repute. Bertie likes tradition and how better to honour your father than to rewax and keep wearing his old jacket? The full look is Oilskin hat and big, well-worn jacket, Harris tweed trousers and a tweed flavoured lambswool scarf. Bertie us today’s «Country style».

Day 2: Snowy, the wealthy incomer

Today we meet «Lord Snow», recently moved to the village after taking early retirement from managing a hedge fund. Now keenly interested in heritage, country pursuits, actual hedges and Dora, the vicar’s nubile daughter that pulls pints in the local pub, a genuine free house. The villagers call him «The Toff» and snigger at his customised Land Rover. His outfit features the traditional tweed look with plus fours, knee-high wool socks and that great leveller, the flat cap. All set in a flurry of snow. «Snowy» is today’s «Country style».

Day 3: Bob, local handyman and ladies man

Day three of theme week and today we meet Bob. Bob is the guy yesterdays toff, the local bounder «Lord Snow», calls when he’s run his Land Rover into an ancient stone wall coming back from the pub. Bob knows walls and is patient enough to reassemble even the most blitzed pile of rocks. He enjoys a Ploughmans and a pint of Sneck Lifter at «The Stile Inn», the nearest Free House, at lunchtime. Bob is today’s «Country style».
Bob is a happy go lucky chap, enjoys a beer and is not afraid of getting his hands dirty, be it resurrecting a stone wall, making off with the lead off the church roof or even visiting the wife in number 36 (while her husband is on night shift). Bob eschews shirts and opts for a less formal Henley shirt, a simple waistcoat and an old Harris tweed jacket that’s been redone to a workwear style. And a neckerchief as a nod to dandyism.

Day 4: Dick, pillar of the community

Meet Dick, our gracious volunteer for day four of the «Country style» theme week. Dick, considers himself a cornerstone of the local community, as president of the bowls and metal detectorists clubs. Known to pontificate endlessly on marginal subjects, never the less he’s a guy that gets things done. Especially if they are thankless tasks that may be reported in the local newspaper. There have been rumours of a military past, but most consider these rumours to have been started by Dick himself. Considered very much a traditional chap he never leaves the house without the correct number of buttons done on this jacket. He recently traded his Rover for a hybrid-powered Toyota and would love to tell you all about it. His wife Daisy has been known to gaze longingly at Bob at «The Stile Inn».

Day 5: Rodney, renaissance man and organic farmer

Meet Rodney, taking time out from his busy schedule to head up day five of the “Country style” theme week. Rodney describes himself as “part traditional, part bang up to date, much like how I’m mixing organic farming with alpaca wool!”. Yes, Rodney is very much a man of our time, a keen organic farmer, but a field full of Llamas as well. And he’s talking up a storm about starting a high-end, small-scale gin still, with “complex local botanicals”. The most eligible bachelor in the village for many years, Rodney recently married a considerably younger girl named Jiemma, often seen wearing jodphurs with no discernible plans to go riding. Jiemma is keenly trying to engage Daisy and the other women in the village in her variant of karmic macrobiotic hot yoga. Most of the other men in the village would admit to being more than a little envious of Rodney. Rodney is gregarious, has a surprisingly ready baritone and a keen knowledge of early 90’s rave tracks.

Day 6: Julian, racehorse trainer and tax dodger

Meet Julian, the last but one of our “Country Style” theme week participants.
Julian owns the local stables, where he breeds and trains racehorses. He inherited the stables from his father, originally from Newcastle. When asked about his personal style, Julian said “It’s all traditional kit, like, what us gents should wear. Delilah sorts it out for us”.
A clear preference, his working outfit will be wellies and an oilskin jacket. This is partly because he does have a number of Russian clients, who expect the British.
Of a Friday eve in “The Stile Inn” Bob is known to scream out “The Taxman cometh!” only to see Julian pale and the pub to erupt in mirth. Not that Julian has even been in trouble, he just has that air about him. And there are rumours, oh the rumours.
Julian has been married to Delilah for 25 years and Julian is as devoted to her as anyone would be to the person that has provided him a son, keeps the books for the business and is a third cousin of the local Laird. In addition, Delilah also hires and fires stable lads.
Julian may occasionally look weary and concerned but usually picks up after a couple of pints and some banter with Rodney.

Day 7: Tim, eternal blue-eyed boy

Today is the final day of theme week and today we have Timothy joining us. Tim is the only son of the local MP, Sir G. Reedy, captain of industry and a notorious womaniser. Tim’s mother sadly passed when he was a wee lad, hence he grew up with a nanny and was sent to boarding school.
Tim has three passions in life, the adventures of Tintin and the documentary TV-series “Monarch of the Glen” and his fresh-faced, curly-haired girlfriend Millicent. From an early age, he has endeavoured to shape his life according to his main influences. Living so far from the Scottish glens, and been denied a white terrier his entire childhood, has not made this easy, but the dream of stalking the big stag is ever strong. Only to observe though, as Tim firmly points out.
Tim makes no secret of his love for Milicent and has carved such on the tree on the village green, very much upsetting Dick, as Tim chose to go large while carving his statement of love, and has made something of a mess of the ancient oak.


  • Keith Douglas 07/03/2018 at 12:40

    This themed malarkey was inspired, and certainly seemed to get your imagination working. The characters were similar to those in a Jilly Cooper novel, lots of shenanigans involving womanizers, cads, bounders, loose women, and intrigue at every corner.
    Have you actually lived in a village in the west country? It reminded me of my four years in Devon back in the eighties.
    More of the same please.

    • nick 07/03/2018 at 14:04

      Never lived in a village ever! Thanks for the kind and supportive words, I am slowly working on a new theme.


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