Country Life

With love from Father Christmas

ONE hundred years ago, in late December 1920, a letter landed on the doormat of an Oxford home. It was addressed to a three-year-old boy named John and the envelope bore an exotic stamp priced at ‘2 kisses’. Inside was a hand-painted card showing a familiar, red-coated whitebeard treading patiently through the snow. Underneath, painted by the same hand, was a yurt-like, snow-covered dwelling tucked behind pine trees. The two intricate little artworks were captioned ‘Me’ and ‘My House’.

The strange, shivery handwriting inside the card informed young John that the sender was ‘just off now for Oxford with my bundle

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