In a few days it will be six months, since the start of our new life in the country. In some ways I can’t believe six months have already passed, J has only just started working – something we were hoping would have happened a couple of months after the move, and I still haven’t gotten over my fear of cows – despite repeated threats, from our neighbour, to introduce me to some nice ones. In many more ways, I wonder how it can only have been six months, I can barely remember what living the 9 to 5 life was like, despite the fact I’d done it for almost 20 years.
Before we moved, friends and family questioned whether we were doing the right thing: would moving somewhere so rural suit us? Was it right to uproot the kids from their routine? Was it right to move away from our friends and start all over again (again – as this is pretty much what we did when we moved to the North East from York, though we didn’t have kids then)? Was it right for me to give up a pretty secure career to just do, well, nothing (well, as much nothing as looking after two kids, a husband, 10 chickens and two cats, is)? And I’d be lying if I said many (all) of these questions hadn’t crossed my mind as well, in fact I think they pretty much consumed my brain the months before we moved. Were we doing the right thing? Should we just stay and buy somewhere bigger in the North East – it’d certainly have been easier. Were we just being totally irresponsible and reckless? To be frank, before moving, I was stressed out of my head, I was grinding my teeth in my sleep (something I have rarely – if ever – done), I had started smoking again (mainly in secret during work lunch breaks) and I might have got drunk and emotional once or twice.
But looking back on it all it’s like that period of life was a bad dream. From the moment we moved here, we were welcomed with open arms; the community were keen to get to know us, and we were keen to be accepted. It was like waking up, and life was good.
And I’m pleased to say, life is still good. No it hasn’t all worked out quite how we planned, the DBS delays meaning J was unable to work for one, the boy’s behaviour for another (as I’m sure I’ve said before, the girl seems to think the world just moves around her anyway and so takes everything on the chin – unfortunately sometimes literally, what with her falling over habit). But rural life is good, there’s a lot of give and take that goes on in a small community – at the minute we feel like we take more than we give, as everyone is always so keen to help us out, but hopefully as time goes on that will change (the neighbours are due VAST amounts of produce from the veg patch in repayment for many, many favours).
The kids do occasionally bleat that they want to move back to our old house (though it hasn’t been mentioned over the last week or two), but I think this is more for the reaction, than any real intent, as the minute we point out they wouldn’t see our neighbours and their kids anymore, they change their tune. I, for one, can definitively say I wouldn’t want to go back. Yes, financially, life there was easier but it’s not always about that. If it was, then no doubt, we would have stayed where we were. Yes, it would be nice to have friends closer, but we have already had lots of visitors, and are expecting more over the coming months, and it’s nice to show off our new life to them, and they invariably comment on how well it is suiting us. And we have made new friends, who I feel like we have known for longer than the six months we have been here, who I can moan at when the kids (or J) are driving me mad – one of the perils of J’s lengthy period of unemployment, and all four of us being together ALL of the time.
And what else is pretty amazing is stepping out of the door, looking at the Lakeland fells in the distance, hearing the hum of tractors in the fields, being surrounded by bird song, the vast array of stars of a clear night, the bluest of blue skies on a beautiful day, the chickens whingey clucks coming from the coop, the gleeful screaming of the kids as they charge around the garden, the tinkle of the crystals of frost upon frost falling when you gently run your finger over them, and the sweet fresh breeze.
So I feel I can safely say, six months in to our rural life, no regrets and bring on the next six.