This morning, on our morning walk from dropping the boy at school, we got chatting with one of our neighbours (as there are so few of us, neighbours round here means anyone who lives within a couple of miles – to me anyway), she’s always lived around the village and so was interested to know what we thought the difference was between living rurally and where we’d been previously. Now, don’t get me wrong, we used to live in a lovely village on the edge of County Durham, estate agents call it a ‘semi-rural location’ but compared to where we are now it was suburbia.
It got me thinking though; about what the difference was. We’re the same four people, living with pretty much all the same stuff (though a bit less clutter post moving – for now) and I still shout at the kids about a lot of the same things (hitting / biting / being generally annoying). Some of the things that have changed, are more because neither J nor I are working at the moment – so we have more time as a family, getting out for walks and doing more baking and crafting together. Despite the huge changes for us all, we have tried to retain as much of the previous routine around bedtimes and mealtimes as possible, to try and keep the kids vaguely sane and so they don’t realise how chaotic it all really is at the minute – although as the boy has started bedwetting after almost a year dry at nights, I think we might have lost on this one. But one thing at a time.
So what are the main differences?
Space – we have SO much more space, both inside and out, I’m sure you’re all very bored with hearing about our variety of barns, but the outdoor dry space, that the kids can make as much mess as they want in, really does make a difference when you’re trying to keep two energetic little ones amused.
Popularity – this seems to have soared – perhaps because no one is seeing us anymore and so they have forgotten how annoying we all are (mainly me)…or perhaps because we now live in an amazing location. We’ve never had so many people want to come and stay as we do now. Half term at the barn is fully booked!
Joy – my joy levels have soared. Which is weird to say when we have no income and don’t own a house anymore and so, some would say, no stability. But what we do have is a home in a place I only ever dreamed of living in. The fact that we have a view of the Lake District fells on our walk to school really does take my breath away. I can’t believe how lucky we are to be here, and I’m sure J is getting bored of hearing this as I tell him at least once a day (although I’m pleased to report he feels the same too). Happy parents = happy children, and so I think we can count this as a big tick for all of us.
Community – I’ve already touched on this in my post A Warm Welcome but we really have found the community to be so supportive and friendly, we’re on first name terms with the postman and he always waves if we see him out and about.
Noise – this may seem like a strange one but living in a village, town or city you get used to the hum of noise around you. When I hang out my washing, the general accompaniment (other than the kids and 6music) is that of chickens, sheep, cows, birdsong, the hum of tractors, the occasional car on the lane and an even more occasional jet plane fly by. On an evening it’s so peaceful you can hear the river about half a mile away – at first I didn’t notice it, too busy with all the thoughts in my own head, and it was only when my brother came to stay he pointed it out. Now I always take the opportunity to just stop and listen, to soak it all in and count my blessings.
There are, of course, some disadvantages, we don’t have a shop right on the doorstep, the nearest is maybe a 10 minute car drive away – but really, in the age of deep freeze and tinned goods is that the end of the world?
We also have a ridiculous amount of spiders and bugs….quite big ones too, but I’m trying to treat it as some sort of immersion therapy to get over my phobias, I’m hoping the kids won’t grow up scared of bugs and they all keep the chickens well fed – sometimes spiders rescued from indoors inadvertently get thrown out straight into the beak of a waiting chicken.
Maybe this seems a bit saccharine and romanticised for some, and I’m sure lots of people would hate how isolated we are, an element of this move was whether we would love country living as much as we thought we would, and this is definitely one of the benefits of renting as it means we didn’t have to commit 100% to anywhere. I know we’re only a couple of months in, potentially still in the honeymoon period – but I can confidently say this is the best thing I’ve ever done, for me and my family, and I really couldn’t be happier….though maybe winter will change all that.