2 articles Tag country

Surviving Winter in the Countryside

winter countrysideThis will be our second winter living in the countryside and I like to think that we’ve learned a few things since last year. Obviously, we’re not exactly living inside the Arctic Circle, but we are far enough away from civilisation to have to think about certain things in advance. Here, I look at our top five things that we need now that we live off the beaten track:

Cardboard and Paper

Last year, I wrote a post about The Art of Lighting a Fire, talking about how it’s far more difficult to light and maintain a fire than I ever realised, so this summer has been spent stockpiling newspapers, egg cartons, old boxes and other things which make excellent tinder. We’re dab-hands at getting the fire going now and our stash will only make it easier!

Decent Coats

Our house is surrounded by farmland and is basically open to the elements from all angles which means that even when doing simple things we’re at the mercy of the wind. This has taught us that having a decent coat is an absolute must and also that kid’s coats are often more style than function. Opting for a proper outdoor brand like Regatta or Barbour means they get nice looking coats which actually keep out the cold and wet! I also highly recommend getting some good gloves as well.

Outdoor Walking Gear

If all else were to fail, Husband could make his way across the fields to the nearest shop if we were to get completely snowed in, he just might need some trekking poles for stability!

Candles and Torches

Seriously, since we’ve lived here I’ve expereinced more power cuts that at any other time in my adult life. Just last week, I posted a photo on Instagram of us all plunged into darkness, relying on my candle collection to give us a little bit of light. Since then, I’ve decided to invest in some good, rechargable lanterns so that we don’t have to scrabble around in the dark next time it happens!

Long-Life Milk

Here’s the scenario: it’s 10pm on your main work day and you’re still not finished writing, you’re desperate for a cup of coffee to keep you going but you remember that the last of the milk got used up earlier and the nearest shop is a 15 minute drive away. BUT IT’S OKAY! You have cartons of long-life milk stashed away at the back of the cupboard! Again, I’m aware that we aren’t living off the grid or anything and that, worst comes to worst the nearest supermarket is open 24 hours, but having long-life milk to hand can really be a life-saver…or at the very least a deadline-saver!

A Good Shovel

When you live in the sticks, the council doesn’t come and clear the roads. If you’re lucky, a very benevolent farmer will come along and scatter salt with his tractor, but having a good shovel can make all the difference between being stranded at home or being able to actually leave the house. Your neighbours will also love you forever if you help them too, especially if they’re elderly.

Living in the Country – Six Weeks On

Autumnal afternoon sunAs you’ll know, if you read this blog (or follow me on social media, or happen to have stood behind me at a checkout recently…), six weeks ago we made the move to a tiny rural hamlet about 8 miles from where we were previously living. Six weeks exactly, in fact, but it feels so much longer.

It’s definitely been a learning curve; we’ve had to learn about living with an LPG tank to supply our gas, how to start and maintain a fire efficiently in a log burner, how to live with a whole host of new flora and fauna (since living here I’ve had to stop the car on two separate occasions to flap wildly about at some baby pheasants to get them to clear the way and just yesterday I had to pick up an elderly rabbit so that he didn’t hop under the wheels of my car!) and just how different it is to live somewhere with no shops and just one street lamp!

In terms of the actual house, there’s not much I’d change. We’ve got an issue with damp in one of the bedrooms, which the landlady is dealing with for us, but it’s quite a rustic little house so it doesn’t need luxury flooring and furnishings, just a little bit of charm and imagination here and there. I also cannot wait to decorate our huge Inglenook fireplace for Christmas!

If anything, living here has made me a better mother and wife. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still FAR from perfect but the distance from shops and conveniences means that I’ve had to be far more organised in terms of sorting dinner out and ensuring we’re well stocked with supplies. Even on a more basic level, I think that I’ve been happier overall since we’ve lived here and therefore less stressed and snappy. Husband and I are even getting along better as we’re more chilled out, which can only be a good thing.

We’re spending more quality time together as a family, too. In the last house, Sausage never felt at home, Husband hated the living room which was noisy from being on a main road and we all tended to drift around doing our own thing. Here, our evenings are spent in a living room that we love, warming ourselves in front of the log burner, watching films, listening to music, drawing or chatting to one another and it’s just so lovely. Living here has certainly made me enjoy the simple things in life. Before, Sausage would get home from school and I’d invariably need to pop to the shops for something or do some other errand or another, but here it’s far more a case of “once we’re in, we’re in” and I love that.

Making a move to a rural community was a completely unknown quantity to me before we moved here and although I was in love with the house and surrounding area, I was still apprehensive. However, six weeks on I can say that I truly love it here and I’m so glad we made the leap (and, I’m not kidding, as I typed that about half a dozen ponies just trotted past my living room window!!) and I hope we’ll be happy here for a very long time.