I used to dream of moving to the countryside.
Of being able to fling open the windows and look out across vast fields of green and gold; fringed with trees and nothing more…
Of taking long walks with my husband and our dog, listening to the sound of birds singing and breathing in the clean, clear and crisp country air.
Well in April 2017 my country life dream became a reality.
Hubby and I upped sticks and moved to the sticks, waving farewell to our townie lifestyle and for me, saying adios to a 10 year career in London.
Scary move? Yes.
I don’t think anyone can comprehend the transition from city to solitude. You only know if you’ve fully immersed yourself in the experience by taking the plunge and going cold turkey on towns.
For around 3 months I vibrated around the house and power walked through fields as I drained the city from my veins.
We very quickly learned that if you crack open a bottle of wine and inhale it before you check the cupboards for food, you’re going hungry.
There’s no such thing as Just Eat for bumpkins and even the closest restaurants won’t deliver to you. Unbelievably, taxis don’t line the fields waiting for ex-city folk to make the same starving mistake we did.
And aside from the novelty of having to actually plan meals, nothing can prepare you for the darkness and the silence of true countryside.
When we first moved in, I spent an unnatural amount of time avoiding windows in case someone was outside looking in at me.
And let’s face it, Ted is more likely to run off with a killer farmer than protect us from one.
Unidentified creatures will shriek in the night and scare the Merlot out of you.
That delightful thatched roof you’ve always wanted will house a neighbourhood of mice and delightful swarms of seasonal cluster flies.
You will become an expert in pest control as you battle to defend your living quarters. (I’m pleased to say that the mice have since retreated to the corn fields and the flies only visit on very special occasions.)
The internet is slower than you’ve ever known and once the mice have chowed down on your cables, it will fail altogether. You’ll yearn for the familiar sound of that internet dial up tone that once upon a time alerted the entire household of your attempts to log on to MSN.
Working from home was (and still can be) an endurance test. I can get through a lot of tea waiting for things to load…
You can probably tell by now that I wasn’t at all prepared for this.
And believe it or not, the fun was only just starting. What I haven’t mentioned is that we bought a 17th century cottage that needed an ungodly amount of work doing to it. In fact, every single room needed renovating – but that’s a story for another post.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is that even the most idealised dreams require a hefty amount of work, a degree of personal adjustment and a willingness to take each day as it comes.
The countryside is a beautiful place to live. That is a fact that will forever remain unaltered.
I still get my fix of city life now and again but the urge to return for one night only is dulling and my trips back to the big smoke are becoming less frequent.
It’s taken 18 months of laughs, tears, invasive construction works, unwanted house guests and coping mechanisms (glug glug, travel travel) to get to the stage of actually enjoying the rural beauty that surrounds me.
And now, at last, I really can fling my windows open with vigour to breathe in that glorious country air and say to myself, I’m home.