I’ve written about this quite a bit lately. Community. Being local. Being part of something. I think it’s the answer to so much of the sadness and problems currently facing our world. Simplistic, I know.
I’m also aware how lucky I am to live in this beautiful green village where the church stands proudly bearing over us.
A quick preamble to the following narrative about an hour in my life this week, I feel it’s right to say I am not continually living an idyllic life of pink roses, aprons and home made bread. My week is full of hurdles like everyone else. For the luxury of living where I do I get up at six am to walk my pooch because I travel 2 hrs to work and back. I’m tired most days and you’ll see me often scraping some film from a plastic tub because I haven’t had time to cook something ‘proper’.
But… The following is my morning routine most days and I think it perfectly captures this rural life that I fell in love with very slowly over the last 40ish years.
The socket by my bed isn’t working and I haven’t had time to get the electrician out. Therefore when the alarm clock goes off I spy it through one tired heavy eye while quickly understanding that as it’s plugged in ‘over there’ I’m actually going to have to get up to press snooze.
Three snoozes later I’m up. I take a look at the weather and though I see it ever day I look at the hills and trees taking up most of my bleary look and inside I think wow. It’s beautiful.
I brush my teeth in my small colourful bathroom and find some light blue walking socks. Pooch starts to get very excited recognising this familiar routine. I put on my boots and pink weatherproof jacket while deciding which route to take. I end up taking the wrong one. We wander up the empty lanes apart from the sounds of the birds and cross over a field using the public footpath. Unfortunately a large black cow also has decided to share this path with me. We make eye contact and I don’t fancy my chances so I take a slight detour to the nearby fence. I throw pooch over and the attempt the barbed wire fence myself. Barbed wire 1. My old jeans O.
We carry on over a small bridge and I stop to look at the river which is rather noisy as it’s just started to rain. Hood up we carry on past the farmhouse where the brown and white spaniel stares as usual prowling, tail up with a protective snarl and the woman in the house smiles from the open door while reassuring said pooch. A man closes a gate and waves as he goes off to work. I see him often but I don’t know him.
A farmer on his quad bike races past and shouts hello as we make the final bend towards home. It’s only 7 but the shop is open and I hear customers chatting inside and the local farmer is delivering bottles of milk. Yes, bottles! A man I know parks his car after picking up his morning paper. I tell him his right brake light isn’t working. He doubts me so gets in while I stand and look. Yes I say. He thanks me.
I’m wondering about breakfast and whether I fancy the usual muesli with added cranberries, cashews and raisins when I pass the tiny egg shed. It’s a recent addition to the village. A duck blue cupboard full of fresh eggs, quail eggs and teacups with pretty fuchsia plants. There’s no shopkeeper. Just an honesty box. Despite having no money I take a box of eggs and pay the £1.30 later as I drive to work.
When I get home I feed the hungry pooch and also the noisy birds who have also quickly got used to my morning routine. They shout until I’ve filled their feeder with colourful food Breakfast is delicious as two very yellow yolks adorn my plate. I sit in my tiny conservatory and…..well I’m writing this! As I eat and drink perfumed earl grey tea, I watch the birds dance around their new seeds and in the background I hear sheep, the faint rumble of a tractor and the breeze sweeping through the trees.