Ten Top Tips for Townies Moving to the Country Presented by Country Towns Directory & Relocation Guide Written by Richard Craze, Author of Out of Your Townie Mind
1. Don’t decide to go because the countryside looks lovely on an August bank holiday. Always make sure you’ve visited in the depths of winter when it’s all bleak and wet and dark – February is especially good for this.
2. Never decide to move somewhere after only one visit – go lots of times and at different time of year (see above) and at different times of day (you might be on a rat run or a school run).
3. Don’t assume that moving is going to change your basic personality. If you are fat and lazy in the city then you are going to be fat and lazy in the countryside. Moving changes nothing.
4. Don’t assume that things are done the same in the country – they’re not. Just imagine you are moving to a foreign country and plan accordingly – different language, customs, food, habits and sense of time. It will all be very different. Moving changes everything.
5. Be sure you can cope with isolation, loneliness, mud, rain (endless rain sometimes for days and days) a lack of entertainment, nosy neighbours, unpleasant smells, untimely activities – our local farmer cuts hay at midnight all summer long and another goes lamping (1) in the early hours with a shotgun and a smoky diesel Landrover with no exhaust.
6. Make sure you know what is on offer – and what you want. Is living off the beaten track for you? Or do you need local shops and a friendly post office? Small town or up a rural mountain? Edge of a village or near the sea? They all have their draw-backs and positives – make sure you know which is which before you take the plunge.
7. Make sure you know what facilities are on offer. Broadband is a given in a city but a bonus in some villages. Taxis are an unheard of luxury in some regions and a delivered pizza an impossible dream.
Question carefully what it is you are looking for by moving to the countryside – downsizing? A change of pace? Retirement? Following a dream? (Who’s dream?) Inability to make it in the city?
9. Once you have moved keep quiet for at least five years. Don’t go poking your nose in, organising, offering advice, changing things, making suggestions, interfering. Don’t join any committees, organisations, clubs, councils (local or parish) at least for the said five years – unless it is of course in a very junior role doing menial tasks that the locals wouldn’t be seen dead doing.. You are an outsider and must bide your time, serve your apprenticeship and hold your tongue until accepted – a minimum of five years, probably longer, probably until someone can remember going to school with you.
10. Lastly do be prepared to have your breath taken away by a sunset, bird song, a view, horizontal rain when you’re curled up in front of a log fire on the wettest coldness day in winter, the taste of drop-scones cooked on an range and served with your own home-made jam, eggs from your own chickens, no street lights at night and the sight of the milky way, glow-worms, bats, badgers, a fox calling on an eerie frosty night with a full moon.
(1) A quaint activity whereby our farmer drives fast across the fields using headlights to terrify and petrify rabbits which then get blasted out of existence. He may do this for sport, entertainment or the pot – we’ve never been brave enough to ask.
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