Sunday, 6 January 2019

Shangri-la


I was recently reading the comments from an ancient blog of mine, concerning the pros and cons of  Town-v-Country living.

Those who prefered Country living, vastly outweighed the Townies. As expected, most demanded easy access to shops, pubs, and cinemas, etc, but were happiest when either in their veg' garden, or in front of a blazing fire. I feel much the same.

                          Résultat de recherche d'images pour "Lingfield Surrey"

I was raised in a small Surrey village which boasted an ancient church, quite a number of beautiful old houses, and a central village pond, with a small stone lock-up and ancient Oak tree (above).

The essence of English country life requires a Norman church, Elizabethan manor house, 17th C pub', a thriving village hall, Cricket club, and a good collection of quietly intelligent residents.

The residents would all either drive old 5 litre Bentleys, mud splattered Land Rover 'Defenders', or tractors. Straight-backed young ladies would invariably travel by horse.

The village would be situated in a gently rolling agricultural setting, inhabited by a few pleasant eccentric land owners.

On the question of family pets (very important); pairs of Black Lab's would be de rigueur.

Village shops would have to include a family butcher, a baker, a greengrocer, and a tea room. Where once stood the village post office, we would probably now find an estate agent; but nothing is ever perfect.



43 comments:

  1. Throw in a murder and some obligatory red herrings in the village pond and you'll have the perfect setting for an episode of Father Brown or Miss Marple! Ah, Ye Olde English rural idyll.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All such above described villages would be called Midsomer.

      Delete
    2. Yes, the Mass Murder capital of Britain. And yet people keep moving in there!

      Delete
  2. That photo brings back memories and for Pipistrello I do remember the murder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Was that in the house with the red door?

      Delete
    2. Don't know the colour of the door but it was on the walk we did from the house over the fields, to the pub and back in a circular route. There was a rough road going to it.

      Delete
    3. That's the one. I always think of it as the house with the red door. It seemed to be tucked away, all by itself. The perfect house for a murder!

      Delete
    4. Yikes! So there is a nugget of truth to those fanciful programmes?

      Delete
  3. Must be Interesting to read your old blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, it was interesting for me; maybe not for others.

      Delete
  4. That's why I like Lincolnshire, lots of unspoilt villages.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's something very 'comfortable' about small unsullied English villages. French villages are also beautiful, but very different.

      Delete
  5. Our village just has a church and a post box and an ugly Victorian rectory. Mind you lovely view from the kitchen, two log burners so husband and wife can sit in splendour if they wish and nice veg patch with greenhouse. The neighbours supply the horses and dogs.

    Currently only have leeks on the go but it is January and am itching to start chitting my spuds. Also onions and garlic to sort out and what goes where.....the stress, the stress.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My village has a (mostly unused) church and the Mayor's office; then everything else is loosely scattered around an area of 18.5 square Kilometres. No shop, no nothing.

      In my garden I have Jerusalem Artichokes, Spinach, Cavolo Nero, Curly Kale, and PSB. No Leeks; they don't like my soil.

      Delete
    2. I finished my Jerusalem artichokes as it was the first year I have grown them here and they have not spread out yet. They make a lovely soup.

      Delete
  6. I was brought up close to Caernarfon Castle and Segontium Roman Fort and we had all those shops you mentioned. The biggest shop was a small Woolworths. There were ancient stones in a field that we used for goalposts for our football games. In those days there were no tourists and it was a quiet and pleasant place. I could sit on a grass bank and watch cars coming down the road from Snowdon. There'd be five or six cars in an hour. Modern development has ruined it for me. I can't even find my round anymore for all the new roads, traffic chaos, and my god there's even a tunnel. And to go in the castle you now have to queue up and go through a crowded place that looks like airport security. Sadly it's an over- crowded nightmare. I wrote a letter of complaint in the tourist office about the rubbish in the streets and the graffiti on the walls but I never received a reply.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Places never seem to change for the better. My own native Surrey village is still a very pleasant place, but being near to Gatwick, the noise of 'planes is constant. I could never live there again.

      Delete
  7. At least this year you have saved me the bother of explaining the meaning of the Epiphany.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Replies
    1. Cynic! Such villages do still exist; it's just a matter of finding them.

      Delete
    2. We used to live in one such village on the outskirts of Cirencester. They do exist we left 2 years ago.

      Delete
  9. I think I saw some of that "real England' when I visited Dorset last June. Ancient Anglican churches, allotments, real ales and a park with bedding plants and a bandstand for brass bands would be my added ingredients for your perfect English village.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The West country is filled with beautiful villages. Old thatched cottages, etc. Very popular these days with retirees.

      Delete
  10. Those were the days Cro. Before the farmer died we sat one evening and he counted up how many of the villagers in our village were actually born there. He got to eleven. Each time a house/cottage comes on the market it is bought at an inflated price by incomers, 'done up' and young villagers have to move away. Very sad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My people used to live in a very 'chic' village in Sussex, where house prices were crazy. As a result, there were no gardeners, cleaners, or tradesmen left in the village. My mother even had to go several miles in her car to collect our cleaner, then take her home again. Crazy.

      Delete
  11. I am city born but moved to a village when I was a baby. I have always worked in the city and still do, but love to be able to walk across fields, see hills etc etc. The past decade or so more and more houses have been built but they are not cheap. My own two children have had to move away due to the cost, despite both being part of a working couple with two incomes. One is only half an hour or so away but the other more than an hour on a good day. So many people have cars or shop online that sadly many village shops have gone. I also think that as in my area many villages have been sucked into commuterland surrounding big towns and cities and lost their identity somewhat. People complain about the lack of shops and services but never use them. Use it or lose it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That, unfortunately, is a very common problem. My native village, that I speak about above, is not very far from Victoria Station, so has become a dormitory village for people working in The City. It is reasonably busy at weekends, but otherwise DEAD.

      Delete
    2. When we moved to a village during the 1960s it was still very much its own community. Nowadays as you say much of this has been lost as people are in love with the 'idea' of village life but not the reality and still want all the convenience of city living in the country. Times change though I guess.

      Delete
  12. This is why I love watching Powell and Pressburger films so much. That lock-up is probably a mobile phone outlet now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When we lived there, there was an old Penny Farthing bike in there. I expect it's still there.

      Delete
  13. having lived in town, city, London (a world of its own), village, boonies and now small town, I can say I much prefer street lights, being able to walk to the shops and a garden with a veg patch more than an allotment. Each house moved told us what we did and didnt want. We chose this place especially for the rambling/hiking, closeness to the town only the coop is a national company all the other shops are independent, it is like Cirencester 30 years ago. Everyone is friendly and it has the feel of a village. for once after moving some where new, I can actually say, I love it here. on the train just under an hour to Glasgow or Edinburgh. I feel like Goldilocks, finally finding somewhere just right. its a shame it is 10 hours away from my family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We feel very much like that about here. Having lived for most of my life in good sized houses with plenty of outbuildings, barns, etc, we are now in an annoyingly small cottage which is absolutely wonderful. My oldest lived in Edinburgh for a while (Stockbridge?), we loved it there.

      Delete
    2. You describe our next move after deepest Somerset. Small town, walking distance to shops, friendly people

      Delete
  14. Before I came to Lewis in the '70s I lived in the Cheshire village of Lymm. It was possible to see the original village but by the time I lived there it had become much larger.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't suppose where you are now has changed too much!

      Delete
    2. Actually Cro, the difference between the 1975 Lewis and the 2019 Lewis is absolutely huge both demographically, commercially, 'industrially' and socially. Even the landscape has changed. You have given me an idea for some future blogs.

      Delete
    3. Please delete the word 'both' from my comment!

      Delete
  15. I love living in the country but it is important to me that there is a city near by. I grew up in NYC and that is always close to my heart.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's always good to have the bright lights within reasonably easy distance.

      Delete
  16. My parents always lived in tied cottages that went with the job - they couldn't even choose the colour of their front door. I vowed I would never, ever be in that position and bought my first flat aged 21, then a small house, and worked my way up the property ladder. I have since mainly lived in the countryside and have loved it. But, now we are getting on a bit, am looking at selling up this big old pile with the barns, land etc and buying a small cottage - almost back where I started. It would be a relief if I'm honest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that sounds quite sensible. We've been planning to over-winter again back in England after 2020; with all the Brexit nonsense, it could be sooner!

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...