We moved from a trendy suburb in South Manchester to a small village in the Peak District in February 2014. Primarily to renovate a Grade II listed farmhouse, but also to try and create a better quality of life for our family. Fast forward 21 months and what have I learned about living the rural life? What are the best things? Here are a few things that I love about my newish country life…
1. We are surrounded by natural beauty. The obvious one. I’m talking about real, staggering, go-on-holiday-to-witness scenery. The best thing to do when you live amongst such a landscape is to get out and enjoy it, every day. Even on a rainy one (which in the city is just awful) there is a certain atmosphere to savour when you’re in the countryside – even if it’s just taking the back route from the local shop. It’s free. It’s healthy. And it’s just outside our front door. I feel lucky every day.
2. We’ve made some great friends. People talk to you. I mean, really talk! I make a point of speaking to everyone I see, being the loquacious (or should that be garrulous?) bugger that I am. I say hello to all! And they say hello back! I chat in the butcher’s shop. I talk at the till in the local shop. It’s great! People take a long time to catch up with you. There is such a strong sense of community. There’s no rush like there is in the city. It’s a real, tangible, clear difference that you actually have to get used to – as it’s a bit weird at first! You actually interact with folk and get to know your neighbours. Much more so than in the city. We’ve made SO many friends, and a few I think will be friends for life.
3. The small local school is fab. I love our little school (about 50 kids at present) as it means my son knows everyone. And I mean everyone. And I do too – and Bea as well! The older kids look out for the younger ones. They shout hello in the park, to both kids, even though she hasn’t started yet. In the pub the older girls look after Bea and play with her (whilst we have a drink!). In a city they wouldn’t know the older kids, only the ones in his year. I’m sure this means that both kids are growing in confidence. It means that everyone comes to parties; normally, no one is left out. Arthur and Beatrix seem really happy, and I’m sure the small, close knit school (and preschool) are part of that.
4. The kids are getting more outdoorsy! Not many kids are naturally inclined to go outdoors. Well, mine aren’t anyway! Given the choice, most often they would like to sit on the sofa with an iPad or watch a movie – nothing wrong with that every now and then. But now we have more space, and have limitless choices around us of places to go to get some fresh air and mess about, I’m sure they are outside more. They are turning into welly-wearing, scruffy, country kids. And it’s great!
5. I care more about the things that matter. I love fashion, make up, celeb trashy magazines, TOWIE – as much as the next girl! But I also really connect with the countryside and feel that since we moved here I am more relaxed and less bothered or anxious about those superficial things. I have become distinctly less fashionable, but in a way I am quite pleased about. I like classic, outdoorsy clothes and things that fit with where I am now. Wellies are ALWAYS at hand!!
Do you live in the country? Or the city? Which is your ideal? I love both, but have to say that where we are in our lives right now, it’s 100% countryside for me.