It’s been over a year since my last visit to ARNICAR India’s Homestead region, making it long overdue for a re-visit. So when Shawn Shakespeare sent me the LM for the winter 2021 setting, it served as a reminder to get my boots on and go pay a visit.
Sitting beneath a twilight sky that gives the setting something of an other-worldly feel, Between Autumn & Spring offers a marvellous winter setting that is one of the cosiest and most romantic I’ve so far visited this winter. This actually comes as no surprise, given ARINCAR’s eye for detail.
The primary landmass rises from a frozen body of water, a low-lying, if semi-rugged island. Somewhat oval in shape, it is crowned by a tall house occupying the flat top of its rocky spine. Warmly furnished, it sets the tone for the rest of the setting’s touches of fantasy, comprising two floors connected by an external ladder that climbs one wall to reach a balcony outside of the bedroom.
Ringed by trees, the house sits on a hill that, under its blanket of snow, forms a series of broad steps down to the lowlands between it and the frozen water. Stone stairs pass down the slope to the south, passing by way of the setting’s landing point and onwards to a garden space marked by an old stone wall. From this, paths around the outer edge of the island offer routes of exploration – and there is a lot to see in following them.
To the east, for example, a bridge supported by balloons passes over the ice to reach a little circular bump of rock that, in spring and summer, would be shaded by the broad span of the oak tree that sits upon it. A second bridge, rough in form, then leads on to a second small island and and a covered skating rink offering a seasonal diorama.
From the main island’s north shore extends a finger of land pointing to a solidly built ruin of a building that has been converted into a summer house. Inside, a fire burns in the hearth, and the table facing it is set for two to sit and enjoy a slice of Christmas cake – or cuddles on the room’s large bench seat. Westward, meanwhile, and across the ice where children skate, sits a second pair of islets. The larger of these offers an old greenhouse that has also been converted into a summer house. But how to reach it in warmer months when the water is no longer frozen might appear to be a problem – until one remembers the ice-locked rowing boat moored at the east side islands.
In and around all of these locations are multiple places to sit, vignettes to admire and photograph, and views to appreciate. Along the edge of the main island for example, visitors will come across a couple of snowmen (courtesy of Cica Ghost, and not the only pieces by her awaiting discovery) looking for all the world like an elderly couple out for a snowy stroll – and possibly not appreciating the cold in the air, going by their expressions!
Or there are the penguins who have clearly staked a claim to two more rowing boats. These have been pulled from the water and then unturned on a wooden deck to prevent the snow from filling them and so form the perfect perch. Meanwhile, out on the northern promontory, deer watch the comings and goings of visitors, unperturbed by their presence, and a couple of ptarmigan appear to be discussing the weather – or possibly whispering hopes that no-one decides one of them might be better gracing a festive dinner table!
Throughout the setting are multiple places to sit, indoors and out, some of them providing views of these and the other vignettes awaiting discovery, other providing places to simply sit and think – or cuddle – and take photos. Fireplaces, again both indoors and out, help keep some of these warm whilst other might best be enjoyed wrapped up against the cold and drifting snow.
Rich in whimsy and seasonal delights, ripe for photography and wrapped in a charming soundscape, Between Autumn & Spring is another graceful setting by ANRICAR, and not one to be missed.
- Between Autumn & Spring (Everlong, rated: Moderate)