One thing I love to do when on vacation is look at local real estate listings and imagine what it would be like to live in them, to have a whole new life in a new place. (That’s also one reason I like to write–imagining what it would be like to be a different person in a different era!). Sometimes I don’t even have to go out-of-town to play this game.

Since I work in an academic library, I get to see wide variety of magazines and newspapers as they go on the shelf, including lots of publications from Europe. One of my favorites is the very posh-looking Country Life, which has articles about things like carriage-driving, the latest in wellies, gardening, and “Around the Salerooms,” where you can see what’s coming up at Christie’s and Cheffins (this month–the remains of Marie Antoinette’s marble bathtub for 3, 529 pounds, and “The Grosevenor Gold Cup, won in 1774 by Mr. Norcop’s brown colt Intrepid” for 117, 250 pounds. Makes those bits of bathtub look positively cheap. And there’s also a snuffbox from the coronation of George IV, a bargain at 329).

They also have real estate listings, and I spend a long time poring over this feature every month.

After much thought, I think I’ve finally settled on the right abode for me (see the pics). It’s in Cambridgeshire, “a magnificent Grade II listed 18th century family home situated in the heart of the tranquil village of Castor.” There are 8 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, sitting rooms, drawing rooms, maid’s rooms, a mud room, 1.6 acres of “superb” gardens, plus a coach house and stable block. There is plenty of room for our Risky Regency Retreats. I can just see myself puttering around in the garden, wearing the latest in wellies (pink ones, 50 pounds, proceeds going to the Breast Cancer Haven, page 54). If I could just figure out how to find an extra 950,000 pounds…

What would your dream house be? And who is up for a Regency Retreat in the tranquil village of Castor???