Two things revolutionised my life: moving to the countryside and falling in love – Nick Love.
The quote pretty much sums up life at the moment. It’s been a long year that has passed by in a flash. So much has happened in the past sixteen months that it is difficult to comprehend. If I sit and contemplate it for too long, I might end up sending myself a little bit crazy. The last time I wrote one of these posts, I was a month into living in the countryside. Things hadn’t been amazing in terms of my feelings towards this massive change in my life. It wasn’t just that I’d moved three hours away from home or had to adapt from getting a fifteen minute bus to the city centre to driving for 30/40 minutes at 50/60 mph or even that I missed my friends and family so much that it literally broke my heart at times, there were other life changes that made being here harder, some that nobody wants to deal with separately, let alone in the space of a few months. I don’t quite think I accepted or embraced that notion of helplessness or the underlying guilt until very recently. The hardest thing is not being there for someone, physically, to hug, to hold their hand, to cry with or even just sit with. Everyone knows how that feels.
It has only been the last couple of months that I have genuinely, whole-heartedly adored living where I do for a long period of time. Before that, I would compare it to home. I would say, more often than not, that up north was still home. It was the place that I always returned to, after every milestone in life – university, working abroad, travelling Australia and Indonesia. There was always a tug in my heart that would tell me it was time to return. Sometimes that tug was a barefaced liar that tricked me into thinking home is what I wanted at the time.
Now, I call Shipston my home. It makes sense. It is where I live. It is where I am building my life. It is where I’m actively making friends and making plans instead of shutting out the possibility of creating a life of any kind down here. That’s what I did for a long time and I didn’t realise I was doing it until a few months ago, right around the time Coronavirus hit. It was at that point that I recognised my lack in social life. I had Warren’s friends who I cherish, but none of my own outside of work. The pandemic made me realise that I need people here in Shipston where if I need a glass of wine after work and a moan, I can call them up for one.
Shipston is the place where I’ll be buying a home, or should I say we because I certainly won’t be buying one on my own. I can’t afford to fork out a minimum of £20k for a 10% deposit. That’s a bare minimum. It’s the place where Warren and I will build a home, have a family, give back to the community (more so Warren – he’s a firefighter so that’s a pretty big way of keeping people safe) and live at a slower pace. I never thought I’d be the person to want a slower lifestyle. Me. The girl who craves (present tense still because I do miss the city) the electric buzz in the air that only a city can provide, the possibilities of a never-ending night with friends, the hidden corners and the treasured cafés, the sense of being able to get lost in the middle of thousands of people. Cities are magical and that is why I am still a city girl at heart, but the countryside has pulled at my heartstrings too. The enchantment of driving through trees that change ever so slightly each day with the sun casting its glow across fields, some of which have horses and sheep just feet away. The quaint cottages with centuries of history that have a fairy tale quality to them with their thatched roofs and their coloured glass windows. The endless roads to nowhere in particular. The beautiful villages that tourists fall in love with.
There have been times that have tested every ounce of my being. There have been instants of complete and utter despair and there have been moments of happiness for no particular reason other than being on the ground I stood on. They say the first twelve months of living somewhere different are the hardest. I can attest to that. I have wanted to give up. I have wanted to run home. I have run home at times. I’m only human. But, I’m still here and I’m happy.
Now, my next country missions are to go to a pumpkin patch and a farmer’s market. I suppose I should buy some wellies to be a “proper” country girl, or something. Not like that’s ever going to happen.
Love, Faye xo