Posted by: anglopole | July 21, 2008

Life in the rural England

 I was born and brought up in one of the biggest Polish cities and so have tasted the city life to the fullest. For the past few years I have enjoyed living in a village (though here the place is considered to be a town). Obviously, the differences between village and city life are in many ways similar in various countries. Such general characteristics of living in a city regardless the country can be: larger population, more employment opportunities, easier access to various services, such as medical care, education, social services, political parties, entertainment, etc. Villages, due to their significantly smaller area can’t facilitate all the mentioned services.

Since I live in a village in one of the Home Counties in the UK, I can only speak about how I perceive the community life here. You, dear readers, will have to decide how similar or different in those little aspcets I will point to, the village life in your place is to the rural England:-)

In the heart of the English village community are, I think, post offices (many of which are to be closed, which  which meets strong opposition of the locals), where people not only pay their bills, buy cards, send letters, buy some grosseries, but they also meet their fellow villagers and socialize while sorting other things out.

 

Sometimes you would find a bakery or a corner shop too in a village, or even a beauty salon but they have not yet earned the highly revered status of a post office. There are often one or two churches in a village and they too are an integral part of the local community’s life.

Community halls are another landmark of many villages. They are the places where play groups or mother and toddler groups can meet, or some sport activities are organized (aerobics or dancing classes). Every now and then the so called ‘nearly new sales’ take place in those community halls, where you can buy used, but still in a good condition goods. If the particular village is blessed with some grounds that are not possessed by lovers of golf ;-p , every Sunday you can go there to do bargain hunt at a car boot sale (something similar to nearly new sales only on a much larger scale). If there is a school in the village, such sales and other big outdoor events would take place in its playgrounds. Every now and then galas are organized to show the potential of the particular village (schools, churches, local businesses can promote themselves during such festivities).

  

 It is probably the only time when you can see the whole families leaving their homes on a Sunday to take part in the celebrations, fairs, shows of this kind. People crowd the streets, more cars are parked everywhere and the general atmosphere is of the village coming back to life! On a ‘normal’ weekday or even during weekends, when nothing of such nature is happening, people tend to live up to the known myth ‘my home is my castle’ and stay in their own properties, enjoying BBQs in their gardens or just relaxing there with their families.

 

I do not think I have ever been to a village here that would not have at least one pub! If one doesn’t want to travel out of their village, pubs are pretty much the only place associated with evening entertainment, socializing and, of course, consuming large quantities of all sorts of beers, ciders, etc. The pubs get an injection of extra excitement during weekends when karaoke or quiz nights, discos, and the like are organized.

 Last but not least are playgrounds for kids. Usually, there is at least one in a village and they are often referred to as parks by the locals. You don’t often see kids playing there, though, as most often they stay in their gardens to enjoy the outdoors, even if it’s only a few square feet… Parents would pop in the parks on their way somewhere or after picking their children from school. It’s quite uncommon, unlike in Poland, to see kids with their parents spend hours in the playgrounds. Cultural differences, I suppose.

 

Life in an English village doesn’t have to be boring, but if one needs stronger entertainment stimulants, they will probably be happier either living in a city or visiting the nearest one on a daily basis! Transport, however, can be an issue here, but that is a topic for another post.

I must say I enjoy the slower pace of village life and the beauty of rural landscapes all around and there is so much charm in the rural England! I would not want to live in a city again. I can work in a city and visit one from time to time…. otherwise keep a safe distance from all the metropolitan craze 🙂 

interesting links:

Natural England

photos of English rural landscapes (various seasons)

 

 


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