to wonder what country life is really like?(236 Posts)
I've always wanted to start a thread to ask what people in the countryside actually do at weekends and after work, but thought it might come across as a bit rude. But there have been so many threads asking how people can bear living in London lately that I am just going to ask.
I love beautiful countryside. Sometimes I feel if I moved somewhere glorious I could just sit and drink in the view and feel happy. But then I kick myself and think "but what would you actually do?" Where would you take the kids when they're driving you mad and you just need to get out of the house? Would you really just go for yet another walk? Do kids really keep themselves entertained all day with a stick like MN would have you believe? What about when it's dark at 4pm or wet every weekend for months?
So, people who enjoy country life - can you describe what you actually fill your time with? Especially if you're a bit meh about horses and animals in general? Or is that no one who lives in the country?
We tend to spend a big chunk of the day outdoors. Quite often that's the beach, collecting pebbles, shells, building dams, getting wet etc. Or going to various woods and forests. My children are two and four do generally its more to do with enjoying what we see than going any real distance. My boys can easily spend over an hour going from bilberry bush to bilberry bush picking them dry. We tend to go on walks with interesting things on old ruins, castles, bridges, machinery, rocks for scrambling on etc.
For me when it gets trickier us winter as other than in the house painting, baking etc we don't have that much choice. There are a couple of soft plays, climbing walls, libraries.
But there are also community events like parades, carnivals, race days, forest school events etc
Ah, the beach. I get that. My kids can kill hours there too, but not all countryside has the beach, and forests and fields don't have the same effect ime. And yes, winter. It can feel long enough in London!
Well, we are all inbred, parochial and inward looking. There are no mobile phone signals for miles and internet connection is shite.
Actually, none of that is true. I would say that without a car your options are restricted, but when DD was small enough to need me to entertain her we did everything that townies do - soft play, museum visits, playdates at other people's houses, birthday parties. DD had swimming lessons, other after school activities, Rainbows, then Brownies and Guides.
We have decent mobile coverage and internet connection, although we don't have superfast broadband. Our village is on a railway line and has a station, we have buses that go through the village to the nearest town, and we are only 10 minutes from the nearest motorway. We are about an hour's drive from 3 airports and half an hour's drive from 2 major cities.
We also have clean air, lovely views, lots of farm shops selling local produce and off road cycling trails.
I really like the area where we live, the only downside is that it is nearly always about 5 degrees cooler than London.
Depends where you are.
I grew up no where near a beach - but in a village surrounded by farmer fields.
The wasn't really any access to the countryside - one public footpath the farmer took great care to block access to. You needed to get in the car to access woods and interesting stuff.
Few village shops, and one pub church brownie cub group, primary school and once an hour bus service that started after 9 and finished at 5.30.
I've lived in cities and town with better access to woods and green fields.
I grew up in the country and it was boring as hell. Eventually my parents got me a horse but you rely 100% on your parents to take you anywhere, nothing to do at all. It's ok under say 8 but as soon as you are older you count the days until you can leave I now live on the edge of a large city
secretmetal doesn't speak for everyone who grew up in the countryside.
I loved it but we were farmers so always plenty to do even in winter. It's given me lots of practical skills which other adults don't have.
We moved to a little village last year and it's been amazing. There's a great community here and there are fairly regular social events amongst the neighbours. We just had a hog roast in our neighbours orchard, the kids took it in turns paddling a boat around the pond, it was lovely.
At the moment we spend a fair amount of time apple picking, blackberry picking etc.
We have a local pub (although I'm not really a pub person), but no, there are no shops or restaurants so we have to travel to the next town for that.
We don't have dogs or horses or go walking, but there's always things to do.
I grew up in the country and yes, we spent a lot of time outdoors in the summer. In the winter we'd go for walks, but we also went into the city (25 miles away), to shop/browse/watch a film, or to a NT park/garden/house. And there are rugby and football clubs, dance studios, and gyms in most towns. My town only had about 12,000 people, but it had all those things. You might have to get in your car to access them, rather than hopping on the tube or bus, but most areas (unless they're very remote), have decent facilities and plenty going on. I never got on a horse once as a child or fired a gun or did any kind of country pursuit. Yes, we had a dog (and a cat), but I wouldn't describe us as people who were massively into animals.
Nowadays when we're up there (my parents still live in the country), there's a soft play nearby, a theme park, beaches, a children's farm, towns and country houses to visit. Its hard to imagine when you live in London, because there's public transport and always plenty of stuff going on, but there is actually a lot going on in the country and you're never far from a town if you want a cup of Costa coffee. The little town where I grew up even has a cinema these days!
I suppose it depends how far into the Countryside you live.
I live in the Gower, S Wales. Beautiful views from all my windows, within two minutes walk of the beach. We go down to Rhossili Bay and the Worms Head frequently (it's a lovely walk and view).
We spend a lot of time outdoors - walks, hikes, bike rides, days at the beach in rain or shine. But I only have to drive for 20 minutes and i'm in the centre of Swansea. Our lives don't purely revolve around grass and cows and empty landscapes. There are people here... plenty of afterschool clubs for the dc, plenty of weekend activities and days out and pubs and restaurants and soft plays and swimming pools and all that jazz, near enough.
I couldn't live in the remote Countryside with nothing for miles and miles around, it would be a bit too rural for me.
But living in 'the Country' doesn't mean a house in a field and that's it.
I live in the middle of nowhere, have done for two years now. The scenery still blows me away on a daily basis, it's stunning round 'ere!
I walk the dog a good 4 or so miles every day, in the winter we wear waterproof clothes, take a torch and carry on as normal.
I take DS swimming, to the beach (summer or winter) walking in the woods, we visit friends, bake, cook dinner, paint and best of all, when the weather is really bloody awful we sit in front of the fire and watch a movie.
I love it.
I spent my teens in the country, limited buses, cold as hell and windy in the winter, dull as fuck!
Main activity as a teen is still hanging out on the rec and drinking cheap cider from what I can see, oh and there is a pretty hefty but hidden drug problem.
What do you at weekends OP if you don't go to the countryside? where do you take the kids when they're climbing the walls?
"I couldn't live in the remote Countryside with nothing for miles and miles around, it would be a bit too rural for me."
Same here. Being on the train line means that DD (16) can go out with her friends to go shopping, go to the cinema, go swimming, go for a meal etc without me having to take her.
We also have community events going on.
We are in East Anglia, 10 mins from small market town and live in a little village. There's a shop, school and pub in village. Everything else we get in the town. If I need big city I can be in Norwich in under a hour. We find plenty to do! Big garden and fields outside to play, park down the road. Kids swim, dance, brownies etc in town so I spend several evenings driving them around.
What do you do now you would miss?
Yes I agree - there's 'living in the country', but being near to towns/cities/amenities and there's 'really remote' with very little going on nearby. Those two things are completely different.
Great long walks
Hanging out in the garden, kids spend hours in the trees, making dens etc. And yes, playing with sticks
Going to pub for lunch
Playing in the house
Going on the water
Going into town for pocket money sweets
Most teens do the same things. There isba decent bus service within a few minutes walk, and so many activities around.
We are all introverts though, and very happy to drive places...so would ever so happily live miles and miles from anywhere.
Grew up in a village of 1000 people max. Hourly bus, hourly train (a mile away up unlit roads, no pavements or anything like that). Village shop and a couple of pubs, but you had to go to the next village to find a post office. Nearest town only about 6 miles away, but 6 miles of proper fields and country roads.
I LOVED it as a child and as a teenager, and though I love living in London in my 20s I'll be back in the countryside as soon as I've made my money.
I'm afraid we were both a dog and a horse family so that was pretty much my weekends and holidays accounted for, but we also climbed trees, went exploring, swam in the river, picked blackberries
and scrumped apples made dens, rowed boats and generally hung out outside.
Yes as a family we were definitely car dependent, but we explores indepensenrly on foot from 8ish, on bikes from 10ish, then I had a moped at 16 and a car at 17 so minimised parental lugging around as much and as early as possible.
Now I'm missing it a lot
living in the country - sawing up damp logs in the rain and becoming an expert fire light after several occasions of huddling round a rusty woodburner trying to burn damp twigs.
Having to euthanise your favourite chicken.
People in the village knowing more about what is going on in your life better than you do.
Your teens losing all their body fat due to the miles and miles they have to walk to get home.
What do I do now that I would miss? Loads - but it's the variety I would miss the most I think. I can get my head round a day collecting conkers or whatever - I did that yesterday (we do have trees in London ;-)). But I can't fathom getting up the next day and doing it all over again. Or having someone coming to stay and going to the same attraction we went to last time someone came to stay. Today I want to wander around London and find one of those bits I've not noticed before - find something weird that''s happening on the South bank or popping into a museum we've not tried before - checking in Time Out and just asking the girls what catches their eye. Unfortunately I am stuck indoors with d&v while dh does all that with dd1.
Lying in bed with the dog and the cat for warmth listening to the wind howl around the house which has no mobile fone signal.
I live in a small rural town (wondering if I'm near lostscot!) of about 7,000 people. Personally I wouldn't want to live anywhere smaller. We have supermarkets, shops, pubs and restaurants in walking distance. The town's also on a main train line so we can get into London in about 90 mins. There are facilities like swimming pool, clubs and activities for the kids etc. Yet it's still a nice, countrysidey lifestyle.
Our kids spend most summer evenings in the river (even when it's raining). We cycle a lot and walk the dogs. We tend to socialise with other families in our homes/gardens.
There's always community stuff going on.
Now DS is old enough he works in a tea shop at a local hall on Saturdays and in a Chinese restaurant a couple of evenings. He also plays football for the local team.
Admittedly, we live in a small rural town, so there's a bit more going on, but I'm looking at moving up into the fells.
Maybe I can help in a different way.
I have lived in big cities, big towns, small town, villages and in a very rural nowhere.
Cities and big towns: too noisy, to dirty. I am constantly surprised at the contents of my hanky after a visit. But I did like the easy access to just about everything, including intenet and a variety of fresh, non local fruit and veg, good bread etc, oh, and cultural stuff
Villages: must have a shop, school and pub to meet the real criteria: nice but a bit too close, nosy. Main shopping was always done elswehere but the local shop did local delicacies and good bread. Nice compromise, garden big enough to GYO, enough available locally to live quite close, lots of lovely places to go out to.
Rural Nowhere: was bliss! Birds, bees, the milk lorry and the weather. Lost of just pottering. Very few people. Shopping done on the way back from wherever, fruit picked straight from tree/bush, veg grown in garden or Garden Gate swapped for other stuff, chickens kept (and sorely missed).
Small rural town (current residence): shops, buses, schools, leisure centre and library!!!! thriving running club, nice people, coffee shop - shite bread in local bakery and no interest in changing. Fortunately the next village along gets deliveries of the very best bread ever in a very nice coffee shop/deli! Easy access to all of the stuf we had in the middle of nowehre, but if I forget an onion I walk 100 yards and get one (except Sundays, when the walk is a bit longer).
And I grew up mostly in a a very rural farm and small village - and yes. All year round mum opened the doors in the morning and we found our way home in the afternoons. Loads to do, never got bored.
For cchoice I would still beliving very rurally but DH needed a bit more, so we comprmised. Edge of a very small town, close to walks, shops, city and motorway!
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