Friday, May 06, 2016

I am a town mouse

Show me rolling fields, birds swooping down and an unbroken view to the coast and I’ll admit it’s very nice.

For ten years we were country mice - living 20 minutes from people, traffic, shops, noise.   It was very nice.  

We had a huge garden, fire pit, trees. It was very nice.

The view was rolling hills, trees and sky.  It was very nice.

In the early days of this blog there are pictures of dog walks through the bluebell woods at the bottom of our drive, the river, parties in the garden.  It was very nice.

Seven years ago I was done. 
  • I was shocked by the amount of fuel I used driving anywhere.
  • I wanted a bicycle to ride around town.
  • I wanted neighbours without the intensity of village life.
  • I wanted to be surrounded by the dirt and messiness of life.

So we went from nowhere to perhaps the most quirky and ‘interesting’ street in town. Seven years later I still love it.
  • It’s busy and noisy.  
  • There’s a school at each end.  
  •  A Working Mens Club at one end and a night club at the other. 
  • It’s a 2 minute walk to M&S (the best corner shop in the world)
  • Or 2 minutes to the Co-op, two fish and chip shops, two charity shops, post office with the obligatory chatty postmaster. 
  •   The train station is two minutes in the other direction.
  • I can pop on my bike and be at Meeting, friends houses, town or hospital in 15 minutes.
  • My knitting group meets in a great cafe round the corner.
  • And if I was so inclined it’s a five minute walk to a Yoga studio, gym or to go swimming.
  • I can go a week and not need to use my car.
It is perfect.

I am planning a research trip to Paris in September for my Novel (how lovely that the characters chose to live in Paris).  I’m excited by the high rise apartment buildings, the anonymous intensity of city living, the smells.

There is a huge contradiction in this.  I am an introvert and would happily not leave my house for days at a time.  I am not part of all this busyness.  I need time alone in my study writing or in my knitting chair drinking tea.  But like any writer I am an observer - watching, waiting, learning.  Listening to snippets of conversations, smelling life, touching the edges of other people as they go about their days.

I enjoy day trips to the seaside and weekends in the country - but it’s in the towns and cities I belong.  I am a town mouse.

1 comment:

Robynn Weldon said...

I'm so conflicted about this! When I was a kid I always snootily assumed I was a country mouse, because of course in the story that's the *better* mouse, and my shallow, frivolous, status-concerned sister was clearly a town mouse. (Yes, I was VERY judgy.) Fast forward 20 years and my sis was spending all her holidays in the bush, and I was 100% sold on city life and never wanted to be too far from a cinema.

Now I'm... somewhere in between. Am I a suburban mouse?! I live in a farming village that's gradually being swallowed up by the nearby town. I love being able to go running in the forests (without having to drive to get there, obviously – I was shocked to realise that English country life means you seriously can't do anything without a car, because you have to walk on those narrow country roads). I love having open fields around me. But I do very much miss city life. There's no vibe here, none at all; English villages are better at having hangouts, be it the pub or a tearoom, but that's not really a Swiss thing. I'd love to have interesting little shops to poke through and things going on around me. (Some towns around here are better at that than ours!) But still... it's lovely, it's quiet, and there are a bunch of advantages (eg kids running around freely without traffic fears). And we're only 20-30 min from the city centre. So. I guess I'm a suburban mouse. The shame!