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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Village Life

I’ve always been a country mouse. A country mouse who hopped onto a train to change her life forever and moved to London. Naïve, scared and with a sense of direction so poor I couldn’t find my way out of a paper bag. Four years on, I’ve learnt a lot about advertising, been mugged or lost my phone more times than I care to remember, met a lovely man, made lots of amazing friends, become a little bit obsessed with sushi and started a blog. My sense of direction is still crap, but now I have Citymapper to help me.



I’ve grown up a lot in this time, but the thing which has never left me is yearning for a country life. I spent my childhood on a farm, coming back from the barns covered in hay before dinner, and having milk delivered to the doorstep. A Friday night was a drink in the village pub with friends who lived five minutes away, or a £5 taxi ride into town to dance in the one club we had (which later became two clubs…)



On Sunday mornings we would pop to the post office to pick up bread, and the bells would be ringing from the local church. Everyone knew each other, and the old ladies would gossip on the square by the ‘Best Kept Village’ sign (yep, Christleton won it year in year out). Each year we would host fetes at the local school, and laugh at the unfit parents running the Fun Run with their kids (sorry Dad). The biggest drama would be a broken phone box, or the annual traffic pile up from the swans taking their babies from the duck pond to the canal.



It was idyllic, and so living in Holloway and working in central London just didn’t fit. The noise, the traffic, the sea of faces you’ll never see again, being squashed on the tube, spending 45 minutes travelling to see your mates and the exorbitant price of everything. Of course I love a lot about London too. I love the choice of restaurants, the fact that there are always at least 12 sushi places within 3 feet of you, the parks, the fact that there’s always something to do, Columbia Road flower market, free weekly Stylist, my job, the noise, the anonymity, the excitement. I love it and hate it, and because I'm not quite ready to give it all up just yet, Walthamstow village is a perfect compromise. 



Located at the end of the Victoria line, it's East but still only 45 minutes into central London. It provides the perfect little haven at the weekends, but is still connected if you need it to be. There's a lovely old church, a butcher and a baker (no candlestick maker), and a few great pubs and restaurants. - you may remember my post on The Queen's Arms. There's a real community feel to the area too - people actually say hello in the street and there's always a poster or two up in the florist or toy shop promoting some local art fair or market.


At Christmas time there is a tree and actual caroling with mulled wine, and in true village style there are lots of quiz nights and the odd live band. OK, so these are quite common, but I've missed such a sense of belonging while living and working in London. 



In this village we can have it all; the fuzzy community stuff, the pretty scenery, the doffing of a cap in the morning from the local old boy... while still keeping our toe on the city.  When only a pop up shop or micro brewed ale will do, London is right there when we want it. 



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