Secret confession: I love Maeve Binchy novels. A main character in many of them is the “Aga,” the classic British and Irish stove (or “cooker”), usually wood-fired, that the rest of the characters center their lives around.
This is, for me, the perfect image of domestic tranquility that I have repeatedly tried to emulate in my un-employed state, the Narnia I can never quite get to.
If I had an Aga, my life would be perfect, probably.
When we lived for a year in England (in Oxford, Oxfordshire… on the edge of the beautiful Cotswolds,) I saw several wonderful kitchens built around the modern version of the Aga, which now usually runs on gas.
Agas are numinously beautiful.
I serendipitously stumbled upon this Aga shop in Woodstock, Oxfordshire. It was a little visit to heaven.
My dear friend in England, an elderly woman named Margaret who drove me all over the Cotswolds and told me stories for hours, once operated (with her husband) a boys’ boarding school, which they operated in a large country house. She had a 20-foot-wide Aga in her kitchen there, and in the middle of the night when she had a baby to nurse, she’d sit by the Aga to keep them both warm.
Someday, someday. I will have an Aga…