We spent the weekend with friends who have ditched London for the rural lands of Northamptonshire. They have the aforementioned horses, dog, open fires etc, etc and are mightily happy with their new life. Well who can blame them? Did I also mention that they are massively in love, which must help when you're living in a village with a tiny population and your only point of human contact, other than with each other, is the neighbourhood Morris dancing troupe.
They are happy and we were even happier to be spending the weekend with them, loafing in front of the fire, drinking wine and eating lots of home cooked food. Obviously I know that this is not what life in the countryside will be like 24/7. I realise that there must be lots of hard graft involved to ensure that your weekends can be spent in a haze of food induced laziness. And I know that with two kids in tow, life in the countryside could be just as full as in the city but I guess what I'm hoping for is that it will also be a little bit slower.
When I asked my friends if they missed the city they said most definitely not- not one teenie bit although they did admit to occasionally feeling lonely and I think it was much a joy for them, as it was for us to play host for the weekend. Loneliness. The couple in question don't have children and I tend to think once you have been a stay-at-home parent you get over the feeling of being lonely because parenthood can be horrifically lonesome with only the sound of crying, farting and Cbeebies to keep you company. So I'm not concerned about loneliness. As a family unit we spend most of our time on our own and frankly at this stage, now that I'm past my hideously self-conscious twenties, I'm pretty content with my own company.
I keep harping on to my husband about the benefits of the countryside: better air, roomier properties, less stress, less angst, less stuff to rob you blind (i.e lattes, london transport, Pret sandwiches...) and best of all we could get a dog! (A horse is maybe a little way off- much to my daughter's dismay of course). Our youngest is dog obsessed and makes happy noises and points his tiny fifteen-month old finger whenever he spies one in the street. More often than not he is pointing at a cross-looking Staffy (apologies all Staffy lovers I'm sure they are not all angry dogs) so I tend to steer clear but this weekend he spent joyous hours feeding his breadsticks to a Labrador and a Schnauzer and loving the feel of canine spittle all over his face. Ah the simple pleasures of life.
Are we ready to ditch the bright lights of the city for the more sedate meander of country life? Well I for one say yay, let's give it a go and if we miss anything, well, who said we can't return?