What Jonathan Raban describes in Coasting is a little more than a simple cottage but it still fits into the overall picture:
“... Then, in dim grey outline through the pines, there was a large hunk of late-period Scottish Baronial, with mullioned windows,
clustered chimneypots and ivy. There were no notices anywhere and no car park; there was what sounded like the Laird’s Irish Wolfhound, and I prayed
that the dog was kept chained.
My mistake was clear when I got to the porch inside the door. It was jammed solid with the usual clobber of country amusements -
shooting sticks, umbrellas, gumboots, gardening baskets, croquet mallets, balls of twine, chewed tennis balls, cartridge bags and rusty ice skates
hung on hooks. Through the inner door I could see a lot of people in kilts and evening dress holding sherry glasses and baying at each other across
I was making my apologies to a pair of green rubber waders and backing out as inconspicuously as I could, when the inner door opened
and a woman in a ball gown said, “Why! How nice of you to come!”
“I’m awfully sorry - I thought you were the hotel.”
“Do come on in. You’re just in time - ”
“I’m not dressed properly - ”
“Oh - you’re just fine!”
It took a little while to register the fact that not only was the woman’s voice American, but so were all the voices of the hearty kilted gentry.
“You mean this is the hotel?”
“Well, we just prefer to think of ourselves as a home.”
A glass of sherry appeared out of nowhere.
“This is my husband - I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name?”
I was whirled round the hall and introduced to everybody -MacPhersons and McFarlanes and Mackintoshes and Campbells and Hendersons
and McPhees and Kitzingers and Swansons.
I had indeed gate-crashed an authentic Scottish country house party, but it was a house party whose guests had been selected, discreetly,
through the advertising columns of the New Yorker. It was inauthentic only in the nicest possible ways. The food at dinner was an incomparable improvement
on actuality. ...
“You know our hosts are Mormons?” my neighbour said. “From New York State.”
I should have guessed. Such an impeccable mise-en-scene could only have been mounted by an artist serenely detached from the world
of his artifice. No genuine Scottish nobleman, trying to find a new way of paying for his leaky roof and collapsed fences, could possibly have pulled
off a theatrical coup like this: it required the controlled and alienated vision of a pair of total abstainers from another culture altogether to create
this event, which was both plausibly accurate and romantically gilded.
... It was only when I was rowing back to Gosfield Maid, with sea trout leaping by moonlight, that I cheered up ... If you
were looking for a memorable player in the Masque of Britain, could you do better than to find a Minneapolitan of Swedish extraction, wearing Dress
Gordon, and pretending to be a house guest at a shooting party in a Scottish baronial lodge which was actually a hotel run by Mormons from Upper New