5 things I have learnt about the countryside so far…

1. Farmers work really hard!

The first thing I noticed when driving around my new location was how many tractors there were. Fields and tractors as far as the eye could see. Tractors at all times of day and so my obsessive questioning began. My husband is an Irishman from a beautiful little fishing village in the North of Ireland. The village is surrounded by fields and farms, therefore my husband became my fountain of all knowledge, much to his dismay. “What crop is that?” “Why do they roll hay like that?” “Who buys the hay?” “Do turnips grown on top or under ground?” My list of questions was endless so much so that he refused to answer in the end, thank goodness for Alexa! Also at my eldest child’s new school I have made good friends with a farmers wife, who I now also interrogate.

Of course I knew where vegetables came from, I’d even grown the odd runner bean with my granddad. However what amazed me and still does is the amount of work that goes into farming. Farmers I applaud you!

2. Dressing accordingly to the weather

Fleeces, hiking boots, jerkins…all items of clothing I have never worn. Never have I shopped in Mountain Warehouse or North Face. However as I stand at the school gate in a flimsy biker jacket, with the soles of my £9.99 New Look pumps falling apart from the rural terrains, I look around at the other mothers snug and warm in their colourful duck – down insulated coats and a doubt on my attire creeps into my mind. This winter Mountain Warehouse I’m coming for ya!

3. Snails

Londoners are notorious for their fast pace, so the general pace of life in the countryside came as a great shock. I couldn’t understand why, in the local shop, every customer would have a lengthy conversation about the weather with the cashier, when there was clearly a queue of 5 people waiting. At first I would restlessly fold and unfold my arms, step from foot to foot and at times throw my items down and walk out in a huff. 2 years on I quite enjoy the friendliness and as someone who loves a chat, embrace the opportunity to hold everyone else up in the queue! I cant ever remember why I was in such a rush anyway!

4. Good morning

I used to notice this when I went down to Cornwall on our family holidays. Everybody says “Good Morning.” In London people rarely greet strangers and if someone does say “hello” or “good morning” your automatic thought would be “Who’s that? Bit weird aint they?”

At the beginning the words used to sound awkward coming out of me. Nevertheless I persevered and now greet everyone in my village with a confident “Good morning!” even the local cats.

5. All Creatures Great and Small

Obviously I have seen farm yard animals at the various city farms in East London and have taken my children to them. However a herd of cows standing directly in front of me on a walkway still takes some getting used to. The first time I came into this close a proximity, I was pushing my baby along the river. There was no body else around and as I came around the corner with the pram there they were. I froze and did not dare to move. The sheer size and width of that first cows head was enough to make me break into a cold sweat. Thankfully an elderly gentleman, walking his small dog, must have recognised my panic and gently guided me around the herd.

Other creatures I have became more aware of are hedgehogs, badgers, different types of birds and moles. Moles! Somehow I was under the illusion that moles were somehow like less glamorous unicorn mythical type creatures or just extremely uncommon. I remember them on the TV show, Animals of Farthing Wood, back in the 90s but hadn’t really thought of them again until my new friend was complaining of moles ruining her lawn! I am learning more and more each day!

#molevandalism

Lastly the creature I have came into with closest contact, in abundance….FLIES. Millions of them. Bold, fearless, little creatures who think nothing of casually landing on my face for a rest. Flies everywhere I look, some even having seedy little fly orgies of 3/4 on my windowsill. They are relentless, to the point when I first moved in, I was convinced something must have been left dying in the loft.

So there are my top 5 things I have learnt so far and many more observations have been noted along the way such as:

  • Power cuts and signal loss is frequent.
  • People love a Facebook rant on village sites about; dog poo, suspicious vehicles (most I reckon just slightly lost) and litter.
  • Shops close early.
  • Buses run once an hour and never on time, you have to use  cash and oyster cards are not accepted.
  • The smell of a chicken farm on a hot day is rancid.

Thanks for reading! I would love to hear other comments and opinions on country/city life differences and your experiences!

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11 Comments

  1. i’m your mirror – grew up in the countryside – the New Forest – left at 18 for a city and never wanted to live anywhere else. I recall turkey and goat farms out pooing the stench of chickens but hey, none are going to attract Armani. Ask a teenager where they’d rather live and… well that’s why I’m happily buried in London. I did go through the ‘should we bring up the kids in the country’ conundrum… for about thirteen seconds and then I remembered the isolation and thought, you know what, let them enjoy clubs. Still, my upbringing now seems idyllic so I guess, at root it’s about who you’re with and not where you are, isn’t it?

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    1. Yes I agree the crime was so high in the area I was so it seemed the best decision for the children and I still believe so. My son is autistic and would never have received the help he’s had in the strained services in London! I will steer well clear of any turkey or goat farms then haha! My husband grew up in a little village and then moved aged 20 to London where we met and he constantly reminds me the kids will one day want to experience city life! Thanks for reading and commenting 😁

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  2. I spent most of my adult life in a small town in Alaska. We all had at least an acre of land or more, so no one sat on top of their neighbor. Most of the time you couldn’t even see your neighbor. I lived without running water or electric sometimes, but we raised 5 very good kids who know how to work. They know that the family has to work together to stay warm in the winter, getting in the firewood. This means from going out to the woods falling the trees, cut them up, loading them into the truck, unloading when home, splitting the wood, stacking it and last carrying it in.
    Country fold do have a way of stopping and smelling the roses. That is how I live my life. I now live in the big city of Anchorage, population of just over 300,000. I know nothing as bad as London. The scariest thing I have ever done is move to Blackpool with my second husband who was British. It was even scarier than having a beer scratching at my tent. That place is something else. He moved me to Bebington on the Wirral across the Mersey from Liverpool which I loved. Everybody would ask have you been to London. My brother in law lives there and it took me 4 years before I even went. I do use his place for a home base now when I go to visit.
    I had never had experience with moles before. Boy can they tear up some property. I am not even sure what they are good for.

    Anyway country life is nice and peaceful, but small town living can sometimes get a little bothersome because everyone knows your business.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your comment loved hearing your story! Haha yes Blackpool is a bit of an acquired taste I’ve been a couple of times on girls weekends! Yeah I’ve been well warned by my husband to not give too much away as everyone wants to know everything! I’m glad I am slowing down and as you put it smelling the roses because I’m taking in a lot more of life and just enjoying activities and the world at the time rather than rushing into my next job or chore! 💖 xx

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  3. I love this post. I wrote of a similar realisation maybe a year ago. I’m a North Londonder now living in North Herts. Our village is surrounded by farmland and I’ve currently got the smell of freshly laid manure wafteing through the windows! And argh to the flies lol! I spent ages looking for dead things when I first moved, having not realised it’s just part and parcel of living in the countryside!!

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  4. We have so much in common! I grew up in south London and moved to the Cotswolds (ish) about 14 years ago.
    The pace of life is so different, being able to go for a walk in the dark and feel safe is still something that surprises me!

    The sights and smells have become a welcome one – most of the time – but the cockerel over the road is still driving me potty! Sometimes I want to wake up early and go and shout at him to see how he likes it!

    When I go back to London to visit, the noise keeps we me awake, there are no stars and I can manage about 3-4 days before I am running back to village life!

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  5. We have much in common, too! I grew up in a small town in Transylvania, Romania and moved last year in a small village to the north of the country.
    Even if power cuts and signal loss is frequent, buses does not run at all (you really need a car), I love village life, the sights and smells, the pace of life. I would not change it for a city life.
    Lovely post! Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What experiences you’ve had from living on the country side. A little similar to you, I have had to move from the city (mostly due to crime) to live out to where I feel is the middle of nowhere. People here saying morning to neighbors and strangers is also something I found a norm here. People seem to always greet each other with a “Good Morning” or a “Hello,” and a smile. It’s actually quite nice. Thanks for sharing your story with us!

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