This blog post was really fun to come up with. Having lived in the countryside for the best part of 22 years and travelled/lived in a city for 3 years, I've come to realise the countryside I grew up in was: 1. Not the norm for many people 2. Certainly not what you see in films and much more like This Country than you think.
Here's all you need to know about rural life...
1. There's all sorts of legitimate reasons to be late for work/school/any appointment ever.
- "I'm so sorry can you tell the dentist I'm going to be late - I'm stuck behind a tractor."
- "Sorry I'm late sir, the horses got out at the bottom of my road - had to help put them back in their field."
- "I'm going to be 15 mins late Anna, they've just decided to move the sheep to a different field."
2. Public transport is rarely on time if there's any at all.
That scene in The Holiday where Cameron Diaz gets a taxi to her idyllic cottage? Wrong. Uber? Taxis? Regular, on time buses? I don't think so! If you are lucky enough to have a bus come through, expect it to be once every 2 hours and even then I'm sure it'll be late. Up until you're 17 expect to be using the taxi of Mum/Dad or to be told to walk. Coming home from nights out means finding someone to give you a lift, which actually isn't too difficult as someone will have put on Facebook
Town Lifts for £££
3. Nights out will most definitely be your local pub
As public transport and taxis are pretty much a no go, weekend drinking (and every day ending in a Y) will be in your local pub. This will consist of you knowing every single person in the establishment (And their drink order and whether they paid you back for that last pint yesterday).
You can always turn up to the pub alone knowing one of your friends will be inside.
4. There is a country uniform and it is defined by the fleece gilet.
Want to spot one of your own? Look for the Schoffel gilet. A fleece you say? Yep that's right, no this isn't just any ordinary fleece, this will set you back £140, and is an instant way of recognising someone who knows the countryside well. They will go with literally anything and everything. Paired with a pair of Le Chameaus and you are good to go.
Come wind, rain or shine every day is a Schoffel day.
5. The beer tent is your new best friend
Be it at big events like the Badminton Horse Trials, your local point-to-point or small events like the village show, there is nothing quite like the humble beer tent. The smell of grass underneath a marquee whilst you're stood waiting for a semi warm Stowford Press that will be arriving in a plastic cup is all you need. An hour or two later you will be dancing on that picnic table in the corner with 11 others of all ages, beer being flung left, right and centre.
The Pig & Whistle at Badminton Horse Trials - where dancing on the tables is norm and you will come out drenched in beer by the end of the night.
6. Tractor rallies are a real thing
Yep that’s right. Whether it’s in the middle of the summer or the Santa rally at Christmas you best pray you never get stuck in the middle of one of these bad boys. If you’re off somewhere important with around 50 tractors in front of you you’re definitely going to have to call in late.
7. Expect to hear some funny noises between the months of October and January
No you haven't stumbled upon some lunatics whilst out on your daily walk in the woods. That's actually a team of beaters, yes they are waving plastic feed bags made into flags and yes they are making some truly bizarre noises. Believe it or not scrambling through undergrowth, up and down banks whilst clapping, whistling and making funny noises is actually a lot of fun, and what makes it better? Beaters elevenses and lunch, fresh sausage rolls and port? It's a yes from us.
Beating certainly isn't glamorous but it's a lot of fun.
8. Best get your nose prepared for some funky smells
Countryside smells, beautiful wildflowers, fresh cut grass, pure clean air? Be prepared for the strong stench of manure, be it pigs, cows or my favourite: chicken, to bless your nostrils. Spread across fields to keep the soil rich, be sure to keep those windows closed and air-con off, and don't let it put it off your bowl of chips when sat in that beer garden yeah?
9. Lost delivery drivers will be the new bane of your life
The Postie may know you by name and which dogs will come running up to say hello but Mr DPD and the poor Amazon driver will be truly puzzled trying to find the dirt track down to your farm cottage. What happened to all houses having numbers? Bramble Cottage? Where's that then? My Tesco van has to go down there?
"It's the first turning on the left, opposite the big oak tree, if you hit the woods then you've gone too far, oh and watch out for the dogs and chickens - cheers""
10. Last but not least, it's bloody brilliant.
Yes it can be frustrating and the pace of life can be slower but we also have:
huge spaces to have parties without complaints from neighbours, weddings in your own fields, a strong sense of (be it nosey) community, appreciation of the small things, green spaces, being able to see the stars clearly, the quiet at night, the lack of traffic, seeing nature change during the seasons, lambs in Spring, cricket on the green in Summer, picking blackberries in Autumn, coming home to the log fire burning after a long day in Winter, spotting a muntjac in the woods, local fresh food from farm shops, buying eggs from the small holding down the road, having the entire pub drunkenly sing together at the end of the night, this list goes on...
As they say at the end of This Country "We wouldn't want to be anywhere else, this is our country" and we love it!
I had so many ideas for this one there will be a Part 2! Can you think of any I've missed? Let me know!