Monday, 25 June 2018

Urban delights

I'm a 100 per cent urban person. I thrive on cities and all the amenities and attractions they offer. I can't imagine myself living in some remote rural location lacking all the urban advantages I'm used to.

It would drive me mad having to travel miles to get the simple things like shampoo or a pillow case, or to see a dentist or solicitor or hairdresser. It would be a perpetual worry that if I fell seriously ill, the nearest hospital might be so far away I might die in transit.

I would be hopeless on a farm. I have no natural abilities for what's involved. I've tried milking a cow, moving goats and pigs, and shearing sheep, and I'm useless at all of them. I would soon be defeated by the sheer flat-out hard work and early starts.

I'm currently reading about someone who feels totally at home in the Orkney Islands, with the often terrible weather and physical isolation, and I wonder what's the big attraction of that kind of life. She couldn't be more different from me.

I've always lived in a city - first London and then Belfast. I'm so accustomed to the benefits of urban living that doing without them is unthinkable. I'm so used to nipping to the local shops for a coffee, a pizza, a haircut or a kettle. I'm so used to frequent buses to the city centre for anything else. I'm so used to the nearby health centre and the nearby hospital. I'm so used to the abundant art and culture. How could I say goodbye to all that?

I'm sure it very much depends on your upbringing. If you were raised in a city, you're likely to stay in a city. If you were raised on a farm, you're likely to become  a farmer. If you were raised in the Scottish Highlands, you're likely to live somewhere similar.

Me, I'm an unrepentant city dweller. I would never swap skyscrapers and ring roads for barns and haystacks.

26 comments:

Bijoux said...

I see the appeal in the quiet and peacefulness of it, but I like being near people too much.

A friend of mine decided in her late 30's to live the rural life with her husband and kids. They knew nothing to start, but now raise livestock, have a dog kennel and grow lavender and various crops. I still thinks it's a bit odd, but they love it!

helen devries said...

The country every time...but, you are right, I grew up in the country.
It is easier here in Costa Rica than it was in rural France to get to the amenities...we are three kilometres from a little town which has everything including a modern hospital. Taxis cost very little and there is a superb public transport system for getting to the capital, one and a half hours away for theatre, music, etc....

tammy j said...

agreed! but I enjoyed the way you put it all!
not sure about a HUGE city. but definitely a city for all the conveniences.
or perhaps a lovely green village near a larger city. I could do that.
but in the country here are too many critters... snakes. scorpions. tarantulas.
just shoot me now! XO

nick said...

Bijoux: Good for them, deciding they wanted a different kind of life, getting stuck in and making a success of it.

Helen: Sounds like a good compromise between city living and totally rural living. Far enough away from the town for peace and quiet, but near enough to make use of its amenities.

nick said...

Tammy: Yes, London was a bit too big for my liking. Belfast is on a more human scale (about 500,000 people in the Greater Belfast area). Luckily there are very few snakes, scorpions and tarantulas (if any) in Northern Ireland!

Joanne Noragon said...

I would not like the learning curve of moving to a city. Given that, it would be fine.

CheerfulMonk said...

One reason I married Andy was I knew he would never make me live in a big city. :D

Andy goes up to our place in the mountains almost every day, and I enjoy our apartment down here in our small town. We have a hospital about a half mile away, but would have to go to Santa Fe (about 45 minutes away) for major things. And we do have to drive to Santa Fe for the shots to his eyes for wet AMD. That's a nuisance, but not enough for us to want to move.

Mike said...

I agree that it's more likely that one will live in an environment similar to what one grew up with, but it's not always the case.

I lived in a city of 25,000 until I was 15, then moved to Houston Texas, the 4th largest US city, where I lived until I was 20. At one point, we lived in a 3rd floor walkup apartment just minutes from the center of the city.

For the last 38 years, well over half of my life, we've lived on a small acreage on the south edge of the Ozarks, 3 miles from a town of 1,200. This "city boy" by birth prefers the country.

nick said...

Joanne: If you've never lived in a city, it can take some getting used to.

Jean: You're obviously very well settled in your small town. But I would worry about dealing with a major medical emergency if it might mean a 45-minute journey.

nick said...

Mike: Intriguing that you used to live in Houston but at some point decided you would be more at home in the country. What was it that prompted that decision?

Rummuser said...

Though born and brought up in cities, I always had a connection to my agricultural connections with our ancestral village and relatives. I have therefore straddled both rural and urban lives comfortably and continue to do so though I don't visit the village anymore. Modern communication methods enable me to be in touch with my country cousins and that is quite exciting for me. If I had to, I would be able to relocate to my roots quite comfortably, particularly now, with modern communication methods and connectivity available.

nick said...

Ramana: You're clearly adaptable and can feel at home in very different locations. And yes, the internet can put us in regular contact with each other even if our friends and relatives are thousands of miles away. So being in the heart of the country doesn't necessarily mean cut-off or isolated.

Polly said...

I love living in the village, within a few minutes of leaving the house I am in beautiful countryside. We have a shop with a post office and a small cafe, lots of activities and clubs, a pub, my dentist is in the next door village, and I could move my doctor there but I was registered to one in town and it isn't a problem. When I first moved here I rented a flat in a lovely busy street and occasionally I miss the buzz of having restaurants, pubs and shops on the doorstep.

nick said...

Polly: Sounds like your village has plenty of amenities so you don't feel deprived. To some extent Belfast has the best of both worlds, because I have all the amenities of a city but there's beautiful countryside within easy reach. The Mourne Mountains are just an hour's drive away, and so is Glenariff Forest Park.

Jenny Woolf said...

I like to have a bit of each. But it cheers me up to be in London and see all the variety of life going on around me.

nick said...

Jenny: Yes, the variety of life is what makes cities so interesting. All human life is there!

Joared said...

My early years were in a city so when we moved to the country it was quite an adjustment as some aspects were pretty crude. There was an adjustment for me but I learned from experience much about nature in a manner I would never have known otherwise. My subsequent adult years were mostly city living though our first house was deliberately outside city limits offering a semi-rural setting but not a farm which we thoroughly enjoyed. I have had apt. living, half of a double and much prefer a single family dwelling. I don’t really care for having a lot of people around day in and day out but would somehow adjust if I had to be in a retirement community or group house setting. I still would want time to myself, including some meals. I sometimes enjoy being in a setting with people around I don’t know but with whom I don’t have to interact. At my present age I think the best location for me is in a city as I have now. But just as there are undesirable country locales there are in the city, too, so my preference at any given time would depend on what was available to me, and now what sort of support system to which I would have access since full independence living in isolation no longer is a wise option.

nick said...

Joared: You've clearly given this a lot of thought! It does seem as if some sort of retirement community where there is regular company would be the best option. It was noticeable that my mum became much happier when she moved into a care home, because of the company. When she was still in her own self-contained flat, she often complained of loneliness.

Joared said...

Yes, I’ve given periodic thought to all this through the years and retirement community living is not the chive I’ve made for me. I’m dedicated to living in place in my home and have planned accordingly as best I can. I am reconciled to having to move into a care type setting should unexpected health changes require that, but it’s not my first choice otherwise.

nick said...

Joared: Yes, I think my mum always wanted to live independently, and (astonishingly!) she managed to do so until she was 95 when it became clear she just wasn't coping any more and would have to move to a care home.

Snowbrush said...

I'm 69 and spent 36 years in the country before discovering that I'm a city person, especially now that I'm getting up and years and put more value on the convenience of having everything I need nearby.

nick said...

Snowbrush: Living in a city is certainly more practical as you get older and travelling long distances for things gets more difficult or tiring.

Snowbrush said...

"Living in a city is certainly more practical..."

There's also the environmental cost, both in terms of fossil fuels and the land taken from wildlife.

nick said...

Snowbrush: That's very true. In a remote rural location, you're dependent on car journeys for just about everything.

Danielle L Zecher said...

At least you know what you want! There are a lot of places in our area that are very remote, and very inaccessible, so of course have a long response time for emergency services. I can't imagine wanting to live there. I mean, some of the subdivisions, if your house catches on fire it's likely to burn before the fire department can make it there. If there's snow or ice, it will burn before the fire department can get there. I don't understand choosing to live with that kind of risk. I don't think I'd be happy in the middle of a big city, either, but I do like living close enough to get help in a reasonable amount of time in case of emergency.

nick said...

Danielle: Me too. I wouldn't want to live in the centre of Belfast - far too noisy and crowded. I live a few miles out of the centre where it's peaceful but there are lots of shops close by. I don't understand those remote folks who risk not getting to a hospital in time when there's an emergency.