The pleasures and problems of country life

One of the great joys of moving out of London is that – for a while, at least, until you get used to it – you get to swan about like Lady Bountiful, marvelling at how cheap everything is. ‘Three hours’ parking for £1.40, you say? Why, I’ll take six, just because I can! ‘Five pounds for my child’s haircut? Here, note the generosity of my tip!’ Whole afternoons can be passed trawling the antiques shops, hissing, ‘See this farmhouse table? Do you know how much this would cost at Spitalfields?’

The flipside of this is that the pace is proudly slooow. People here shudder at the go-go-go nature of London as if the alternative is somehow better, when in reality it’s no more than a series of minor irritations.

Yesterday, for instance, I took a pair of shoes in to be re-heeled. ‘Next Monday all right for you?’ said the cobbler. I was so busy doing my amenable new-in-town face that it only occurred to me on leaving that this was a full week away. A week to re-heel a pair of shoes. Isn’t the whole point that they do them while you wait?

Similarly shop-opening hours, hardly drawn-out at the best of times, seem to be vague guidelines rather than any kind of diktat. The other day I popped into our estate agent’s at 5pm, a full hour before it was due to close, and found it locked up for the night. I mean, for fuck’s sake. You might as well live in France.

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4 Comments

Filed under General rants and moans, The bits I can't think of a category for

4 responses to “The pleasures and problems of country life

  1. Ha! I’m in Scotland right now, encountering the same kind of cultural differences… I popped into a bank today to ask directions to another bank. The woman – she looked like something out of a Kays catalogue circa 1981, pink acrylic twinset and shitloads of make-up – wasn’t sure so after much uhmming and ahhing, popped through to the back to share her uncertainty with her colleagues and then report back to me the general vicinity of the bank in question. I was by this time furious with her for her ‘help’. My mother was babysitting at the time. Didn’t this bank teller woman know how precious every minute was to me?? X

  2. Had a similar experience a few weeks back – a service wash at the launderette that was going to take more than a week. How is it possible to stay in business when you work at that rate?!

  3. OH but it sounds brill. Surely. I’m currently living in London and wishing to god I lived in a nice cottage in the middle of nowhere, tardy cobblers or no, rather than in amongst hundreds of panicky Christmas shoppers and bitchy commuters. And it’s CHEAP!

    love the blog xx

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