The Cottage Smallholder

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Matthew Rice’s A Year in the Country Calendar

Matthew Rice’s charming paper-covered boxes have delighted me for years. His style, although totally individual, has the comfortable vibe of an Edward Ardizzone’s illustration and the wit of Quentin Blake’s work. When I look at his paintings my heart skips. He just gets it right.

I discovered a Matthew Rice calendar a few years ago and fell in love. One year spent with this calendar and even Danny was hooked. This is a must have. So many people that we know just couldn’t do without this fix. My sister and I set out to Christmas shop at The Leaping Hare at Wyken last weekend. One of the key reasons for this trip was to buy the new Matthew Rice calendar. To my horror I discovered that they had sold out.
“We’ve sold hundreds,” said the lady on the desk. She repeated the word, “hundreds,” as her eye strayed to the calendar rack, loaded with other options. But none of these would do. We had to have the Matthew Rice one.
“Next year we’ll shop early,” my sister said. I agreed, vehemently.

Today I decided to track one down, do or die. The Year in the Country Calendar has given us so much pleasure that the thought of a year in the country without one had me pounding on the doors of several sites on a desperate search for a remaining copy.

What’s so special about this calendar? Each month is a two page drop, with a decent amount of space for you to fill with exciting invitations. Ours is filled with a lot of mundane reminders as well, such as defrost freezer and check the oil level. The rest of each page is full of ideas and illustrations pertinent to each month. These are bursting with life and have a quirkiness that sometimes forces me to step into the future, turn over the pages for the next few months and gaze at what is to come.

If you haven’t got a calendar, or are at a loss as what to give anyone (including Great Aunt Maud), why order one of these. An absolute winner for under a tenner.

December 2009 update: Mathew Rice is married to Emma Bridgewater and his work is available from her online shop. The 2010 calender is here. I’ve also just discovered that there is a ‘seconds’ outlet on her site so you can get get great savings on superb designs.

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  1. Charlotte Thompson

    I love my Matthew Rice Calendar and the build up to Christmas wouldnt be the same without his beautiful advent calendar. I hate the tacky chocolate ones but my grandchildren love to open this and then pick a chocolate from a basket on the shelf. You can get them on the Emma Bridgewater site but I take great satisfaction in gettng mine from my local hospice who sell them.

  2. Hello The Mulberry Bush in North Yorkshire offers free postage on the run up to Christmas I™m looking forward to opening my new calendar next year; it™s always a thrill to turn the page to discover what interesting things Matthew has written. It™s the best Christmas present anyone could wish to receive!

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Mildred,

    Thanks for the update. Postage costs can be so variable.

  4. The Calendars are available at the Countryside Alliance site again this year, postage is very good too at £1.60!

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