I wasn’t born in the country. My mum and dad started out in a terraced house in Leeds but when I was two, they moved us to South Milford, a small village between Leeds and York. I don’t think I really appreciated why – and how lucky my brother and I were – until recently.
I started thinking about South Milford again because I came across a posting advertising this house for sale. It’s right next door to one of my former local pubs and I always loved it although I had never seen inside until now.
That got me thinking about how some of my old school friends never left the village – or at least the area – and how I used to wonder how they could do it. Didn’t they want to experience new things? Did they really feel like South Milford was all there was?
But now that I’m *cough* older *cough* I don’t see it that way anymore. Yes, you do miss out on a lot if you stay in one place your whole life. But you also miss out on a lot if you don’t. I suppose in the end, being content is about realizing you can’t have every experience and settling for making the most of the ones you do have. In my case that’s a lot of travel and new experiences, in their cases it’s being close to the people they care about.
But when I saw that house, I thought “you know, if someone told me that’s your new house, I’d be very happy to move in.” I was always keen to get away and experience new things, but I never hated where I was from. And that started me thinking about how very lucky Neil and I were that our parents decided to give us that country childhood.
When I think of being a kid, I think of long summer days riding round on our bikes, making dens in the woods, playing in hay bales, and eating the wild blackberries that grew by the side of the road. I remember Esme’s annual kids’ pantomime and Bonfire night at the Rec and the village Sports Day. I remember the best headmaster anyone could ever had, Mr. Burnley, and the lovely old school building that’s now been converted into flats. I remember the elderly couple who lived in the big house by the school and let us go into their huge garden to collect conkers. I remember the time my best friend Janet and I decided to keep our lunch money so that, instead of giving it to the school for lunch, we could spend it in the village sweet shop. Ah the cruel life lesson we learned only a few days later when the adults rumbled us and it was back to real food for lunch!
We really were very fortunate that our parents decided to move us out of the city. I’m glad I saw that house online because it gave me a chance to say “thanks so much, mum.”