Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Confirmation; if needed.



I've never doubted the wisdom of living out in the country. I understand that it's a lifestyle that isn't open, or suited, to everyone, but for those to whom it is; it's wonderful.

When I moved from my house on the Welsh borders, it was to provide a home that was suitable to raise my (then) two small children. I needed a large-ish house, plenty of barns and other outbuildings, and a couple of acres of land. A decent sized property.

My quest stopped outside the tall stone gate posts that led into the courtyard of an old farmhouse, and surrounding barns. The house had been unoccupied for a few years, but after a quick clean was livable in at once. I bought it.

I had been looking for a home where my children could play safely, and have open fields and woodland as their extended playroom. I wanted them to breathe pure fresh air, and to have the advantage of home produced fruit and vegetables. I wanted them run with our dog (Hamlet) wherever they wished, and to have daily adventures. This property seemed to offer everything I'd wished for; and it was affordable.

All this was over 45 years ago, and I think the children had the very best childhood I could have offered them; and as a bonus they both later learned to speak French at the local school.

These days I look at my decision anew. We are no longer in that original farmhouse, but just a couple of hundred metres away in a tiny, but very pleasant, little cottage (above) with unbroken views over open countryside; and not a coronavirus in sight.

The two children who came with us on our adventure both now live in big cities; one in London, the other in Brisbane. Our third child, who arrived a little later, is presently living in Amsterdam.

I'm still very happy to be living away from the madding crowd; away from pollution, away from crime, and away from all the hussle and bussle. It remains to be seen, of course, but hopefully we will remain away from illness as well.

However, not all is as it was here in our little corner of paradis, as there are some around us who we'd prefer lived elsewhere. Threats have been made, and we've suspiciously lost two dogs to possible poisoning. The natural friendliness of genuine country folk has been, in part, exchanged for the ways of urban newcomers. Change is not always for the better, so we continue to keep ourselves mostly to ourselves.

I've recently been talking to neighbours that I've known since we first moved here, and they still believe (as I do) that we are in as safe a place as anywhere. Our only problem would come from town dwellers heading for their second homes in the country, and bringing viruses with them (even though I believe such travel is outlawed).

The weather isn't always perfect, the red wine doesn't always taste like Pétrus, and one can't expect ALL one's neighbours to be 'couth'; but I'm still extremely happy living where I do.

I'm just praying that the virus stays well away.

36 comments:

  1. Every thing looks so beautiful. Stay safe Cro.

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    1. I'd just mowed the grass, it always looks so much neater. I think we're as safe as anywhere here; fingers crossed!

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  2. I must have lost the plot. Who is living in the ex barn? Is it a holiday home for one of the three children and their families?

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    1. It belongs to my youngest son. He moves around a lot. He has homes in Oz, and Thailand (not yet finished), and is currently renting in Amsterdam. He's a busy boy.

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  3. It looks beautiful. I'm quite envious.

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    1. Nothing to be envious about, just the choice of a simple lifestyle.

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  4. You made the right choice all those years ago. It looks beautiful.

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    1. I'm sure we did. I've never regretted moving here.

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  5. Young professionals don't want houses in the countryside these days where I live, they prefer a different culture of wine bars and coffee bars and open plan kitchens. All very odd.

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    1. A good thing. I really don't want to find young Chavs in my woods holding mobile phones and bottles of Perrier. Let them live in Docklands' high rise blocks, and eat at Nando's or Café Rouge. They can keep it.

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  6. If that is a "pleasant, little cottage" then the first place must have been on a par with Buckingham Palace! You made a good choice all those years ago.

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    1. My first house here was a pukka farm with a huge stone barn, other outbuildings, and one hectare of land. Compared to our present little house, it was BIG.

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  7. It sounds like you have had a great time living in your rural idyll in France. I love Spring in rural Ireland but I hate the dark nights and winter gales. I wouldn't mind living on the edge of a village in Dorset.

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    1. The edges of Dorset villages are already over-subscribed. Every amateur Alpaca farmer has reserved a plot.

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  8. If circumstances had been different we would never have wanted to move away from our home in France. It has such beautiful countryside and most of the people are charming.

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    1. Such a beautiful house too; and Phillipe as a voisin.

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  9. I am horrified that someone would poison your pets. What kind of person would do that?

    I wish for you many more years in your lovely abode. Less people means less contagion.

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    1. You wouldn't believe these people; everyone in the village would be happy if they disappeared.

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  10. In answer to your last question Cro - aren't we all?

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  11. An ideal place to bring up happy children. I'm glad we live somewhere safe where children can run free.
    All our neighbours aren't friendly natives either. We have bouts of animal poisoning and cruelty. Also a few arguments over land though they haven't got as far as shooting each other .. yet

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    1. Some people just shouldn't be allowed to live out in the countryside. They pretend to be country folk for a while, then the pretence wears off and their true urban colours reveals itself. Yuk.

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  12. Can’t imagine someone intentionally poisoning a pet and especially a dog who’s main mission in life is to please humans.

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    1. Almost more unbelievable was threatening to kill one of our dogs in front of about 6 other people; for no apparent reason.

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  13. Where is Haddocks in relation to that photo? and the barn.

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    1. Off to the left is Haddock's Paddock, then a small path/track, then Haddock's. The barn is about 100 metres behind the house. I'll do a map one day.

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  14. I think you are as safe there as anywhere. Strangely, even in the middle of a big city, I feel safe enough. People are obeying the rules and being respectful to each other.

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    1. That's the important thing; to be sensible, and respect all advice.

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  15. A wonderful decision all those years ago, and at what today would seem like silly money to buy such a palatial set-up.

    Second homes here are very much a feature of Ludlow living. One of our neighbours visiting from wherever, asked my husband who was loading up some stuff to take to the council tip. She queried when the rubbish was taken and why they had left some of hers? Her question hung in the air... unspoken but very real for all that... ‘Would you take mine?’ The council she had seen take a photograph of her rubbish and leave it behind! Husband keeping well back thankfully didn’t pick up her request.

    LX

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