I’m good at making the best of things, I really am. People who know the inner workings of my wallet tell me I’m a brilliant money manager and I tell them I agree. When, 20 years ago, I suffered a miscarriage I grieved for my baby and my broken dreams all while understanding that in some incomprehensible way, it was for the best. And it was.
I don’t like to think that making the best of things is another way of saying I simply accept my lot stoically without trying to improve matters. I tell myself that it demonstrates my strength and pragmatism and gratitude for all that is so very good in my life. I’ve always enjoyed those words:
I had the blues cos I had no shoes. Till on the street, I met a man who had no feet.
Despite all that, I can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief that having made the best of living the rural life for much of the last ten years, I am – once more – a Townie.
There is of course a great deal of charm in living out of town. One learns ‘cow’ and ‘sheep’. Trying to scare away the cows who had once more invaded my garden and rubbed their itchy backsides on my washing, I ran at them banging two pots together to frighten them off. Instead, Daisy and her friends, three fields distant, came pounding down the furrows, certain I was calling them to their dinner.
Country driving is naturally far more dangerous than navigating Hyde Park Corner in the evening rush hour. What no-brainer-driving bliss to have a white line, separating you from vehicles travelling in the opposite direction. Rural drivers think they are the only car on the road and hence speed round blind bends in the middle of the road while clutching a mobile to their ear and feeding the baby a rusk. Tractor drivers, of whom there are great numbers, don’t race at all, and certainly don’t pull in, especially when, behind them, they spot 17 frazzled parents ferrying cranky kids on the school run, late again.
Naturally, when living in the country you dare not get home from shopping and realise you forgot something. You can expect your external pipes to freeze at the first sign of a chill and your washing to get blown as far as the electric fence unless pinned down with multiple pegs. It takes an hour on your ride-on lawn mower to cut the grass. You get stranded at home by flooded lanes whenever the downpour is just a bit heavier than your average day’s fall. You go out for long walks without meeting a soul. You sit at home in the same clothes you wore yesterday (and the day before) because the sheep don’t care what you look like…
I made the best of things, I really did. I learnt to feel grateful for the space, the peace. I got to know the neighbours when trekking up the hill to fill my water bottles so I could flush my loo and boil a kettle. I marvelled at the tiny bunnies whose lives I managed to save despite their best efforts to throw themselves under my wheels. The cats roamed for miles. I never had to worry about parking spaces.
I made the best of things, I really did. But I’m a townie, born and bred and I am joyful to have moved back to town in the last few days. I am charmed to live in a road that has a name and a house that has a number. I love my little urban garden with its space-saving rotary clothes line, its neat rose trellis and its gravel – hardly a blade of grass to have to worry about cutting. I like having an upstairs and smaller rooms that are easier to heat. Just one bathroom to clean. I like looking out my bedroom window before I go to bed and seeing the twinkling lights of the houses on the hill leading out of town. I love that I can walk to the shops and leave my car sitting in the drive.
I feel I’m starting over and getting closer to the life I want to live. A move to town might not sound like much but it represents a big change that is happening in my life.
Where do you live? Are you an urbanite or a ruralite? What do you love about town or country living? Do share!