Trapped inside an unbearably steaming hot tube train crammed full to the brim with London’s sunny faced commuters, or a sticky bus smelling of sweat and irritation, it is difficult not to crave to be somewhere out on the hills. Shunted side to side by the momentum of the carriage, surrounded by tired and disgruntled Londoners, I can still recall vividly that sensation of serene silence pierced only by the gentle rustling of undergrowth and bleating of sheep. Every tree or glimpse of greenery provides a breath of relief from the steel and concrete. The rugged countryside holds such invigoration for me, that were I to live there for an extended period, perhaps my utopian perceptions of it would be shattered. Perhaps I would become bored.
Despite living a short walking distance from both the M1 motorway and A1 which slice through London, providing a constant ‘whooshing’ accompaniment throughout the day, I still make the best of and am extremely grateful for the suburban greenery. Sitting in the lush back garden with a freshly brewed cup of tea, listening to the bird calls which somehow manage to complement the orchestra of Boeings and Airbuses is still something I look forward to.The local fields where I live are a paradise in comparison to the urban centre less than a mile away, and it infuriates me beyond belief when I see the remains of litter or barbeques. Okay so it’s not a mountainous get away, but there still exists the deep thrum of tiny insects and soft fluttering of trees, and even with the hum of technology in the background, the nature there still manages to melt away my ‘urban stress’ like butter.
The local fields also provide a fantastic vantage point over the area, and I have visited countless times to watch the sunset. How often does the average suburban dweller pause to watch the sunset I wonder? If your back garden is facing the opposite direction to the sunset, like ours is, you will never view a proper sunset from your house – merely a tinge, a faint ebbing of ’embers’, but never really seeing the fire. To the front of the house which faces the sunset, the houses opposite block the view. Ordinarily a golden flicker can be seen, but tantalising as it is, it still does not compare to a proper sunset.
Being an avid cyclist in addition to loving walking, I am always incredibly appreciative of the small but steep leafy hills where I live. Several exhilarating 40mph descents are available mere minutes away from me. Though brief experiences, ranging from around 10 to 25 seconds, I can power down as many times as I like, the speedy sensations allowing me to escape the final chains of the confines of suburbia.
A common conversation I have with friends:
“I’m sick of the city. I wish I lived in the countryside.”
“The countryside is boring. What would you do there?”