5 things i love about living in the country

     

As estate agents report a rise in buyers looking to lớn swap urban for rural, here are some invaluable tips...

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2. Be mở cửa to old ideas

If you’re used khổng lồ liberal, urban-centred political discourse, rural views can be a surprise. Issues such as farming, Brexit, immigration, housing và hunting are some of the big items on the rural agenda and you may find yourself a lone voice in the crowd. Find some common ground. I’ve bonded with unlikely friends over issues such as sustainability, organic growing & protecting our rural heritage.

3. Be loyal lớn your local

Investigate local amenities when you’re house hunting. You could research a place online or, even better, ask locals when you visit (you will then see how friendly they might be). I’ve lost count of the times people talk about how sad it is that their village lost its pub but, more often than not, they didn’t frequent it. Churches, shops, hairdressers, post offices, cafés, bakeries, village schools and nurseries – they all need footfall. Out-of-town retail parks, online shopping, out-of-catchment schools, supermarkets – disconnected services lead to lớn a disconnected community.

4. Make connections

Knowing who lớn ask if a sheep is in lamb or your septic tank blocks up on Christmas Day will be invaluable. Friendships in the countryside often come not from shared interests or cultural backgrounds, but from necessity. In my twenties, my friendships were socially narrow; in my forties, they’re as wonderfully varied as a harvest spread – và all the richer for it.


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5. Get the garb

After years of rallying against looking like a catalogue for ‘countrywear’, I’ve realised why it pays to lớn invest in a decent pair of wellies, warm socks & a wax jacket. For all their hunting-shooting-fishing connotations, country clothes are eminently suited to the task of keeping you warm & dry. Turns out my grandmother was right: there is no such thing as the wrong weather, just the wrong clothes.

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6. Brace yourself

There’s an interesting dynamic when it comes khổng lồ rural living & animals. Livestock, vermin, wild creatures – there can be a disconcerting lack of sentiment in the countryside’s relationship with all things great & small. You’ll also have to get used to lớn seeing plenty of roadkill, butchers’ game, pheasant shoots & livestock in lorry transporters. It’s a practical, no-nonsense approach but can take some getting used khổng lồ for animal lovers.

7. Get decent wheels

For all the eco-appeal of country living, car travel is a stark reality. Rural buses are the proverbial hen’s teeth and, in most places, cycling on country lanes is only for the fearless. Having a reliable car, which can cope with all-season travel, is essential. When we first moved here, I was caught out by snowdrifts & stranded at trang chủ with a baby và preschooler for a fortnight. Never again. I bought an old Land Rover & never looked back.


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8. Don"t kick up a stink

The countryside smells. Or, at least it can do. And it can be noisy. Many people imagine the countryside as an idyllic, preserved-in-aspic haven. The reality is that it’s a working environment with all the attendant issues. Farms can be as noisy as industrial units – the machinery, livestock, muck-spreading, grain processing và bonfires are all part of the deal. Our local farmer seems to like spreading his slurry just when I’ve lit the barbecue…

9. Be wary of buying land

Owning land means managing it. Walk-behind mowers are fine for anything under half an acre, but between half an acre và around five acres, you’re looking at ride-on mowers. More than five acres, you’ll need a tractor. If you plan khổng lồ graze animals rather than mow, land also still needs harrowing, selective weeding & rolling. You can easily grow your own veg, plant a few fruit trees và keep a few chickens on a quarter of an acre.

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10. Go with the flow

It’s perhaps a truism that wherever we go, we can’t escape from ourselves. The countryside won’t bring inner peace, just outer peace. I spent the first six months after I moved khổng lồ the country loving everything about rural life, the next six months pining for my old life, và now find myself tutting about tourists and incomers, while hugging myself at my good fortune. Country living is marvellous. Just don’t tell anyone else.

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