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The Simple Life

By Elizabeth Harris

Would you swap the company BMW for a third-hand van? Your Manolo Blahnik mules for a pair of wellies – and not even green ones, at that? Would you know what to do with a vegetable that was covered in earth instead of cling film?

Lawrence Langland would. He’s had enough of corporate politics and fifteen-hour days. He wants out, to a simpler, better, quality life. Isobel, his wife, whose gold-plated keyring says ‘Born to Shop’, has her own reasons for wanting to escape and, to his amazement, agrees. Fortunately for Jacob, their eight-year-old son, it means leaving his horrible boarding school, although his elder sister Dory needs more persuading – that is until she realises that there are boys in the country, too.

And so the Langland family become ‘downshifters’, exchanging a comfortable house for a small cottage, and cosy suburbia for the pleasures – and the pitfalls – of life in the countryside. Making the decision was the easy part. But can they cope with the reality?

Elizabeth Harris was born in Cambridge and brought up in Kent, where she now lives. After graduation she hid a variety of jobs including driving a van, being a lifeguard and working in the Civil Service. She has travelled extensively in Europe and America, and lived for some years in the Far East. Elizabeth Harris was one of the finalists of the 1989 Ian St James Awards.

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