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!
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!
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!