You imagine a house surrounded by woodlands and fields, a garden full of birdsong, hens in one corner and fresh eggs for breakfast, friendly neighbours and lovely places to walk the dogs without traffic. It sounds wonderful in comparison with city life. It is, but country life throws up some funny and unexpected incidents.
Driving to collect the kids from school, you can still find yourself held up for 15 or 20 minutes while 100 large cows plod by from field to milking parlour. You might need to drive rather slowly along narrow country lanes: sheep and cattle easily get through unkempt fences and find the grass is definitely tastier on the roadside verges. A moving light along a hedgerow at night is probably operated by a ‘lamper’ out to shoot foxes, a perfectly legal operation of fox control. But lampers can ‘mistake’ their quarry and end up with a venison carcase in their land rover.
Yes, dog-walking is more fun but choose a woodland or forest trail unless your dogs have been trained NOT to chase sheep, cattle, pheasants and hens. Are you good at removing ticks? The dogs need to be checked for ticks after every walk – and so do you: Lyme’s Disease is on the increase and ticks are nowadays prolific in grassy places.
The neighbours are probably friendly – but Oh! are they curious about you! They will know exactly what you are doing just by watching the direction you are walking or driving. They notice if your dog is lame, that you look ill or struggle to mend the fence or hen house after a storm and they offer to help.
Soon after you arrive, the bank and library close, buses are reduced and the baker shuts down . . . Then one day a you notice a ‘mobile’ bakery van parked and hoping for your custom; a fruit and veg. man knocks at the door, a ‘fresh-fishmonger’ goes around the village. They make, catch or grow most of their goods and they all become good friends.
There’s lots more to experience, like mud, snow and ice, smells, night-harvesting, picnics, swimming in the river, and local shows with funny traditions and marvellous home-made cakes.
Go For It!