People tend to think that living in the countryside is all about tranquillity, nature and fresh air – and they’re not wrong, of course. But if you grew up there you know the real truth. Who cares about birdsong when you can’t refresh Instagram?
1. No-one really knows where you’re from
Your village is so tiny and obscure that you just end up telling people you live ‘near’ the biggest town or city, even though you know full well that a 45-minute drive does not constitute ‘near’.
2. You have to rely on terrible public transport to get anywhere
Because everything is so blimmin’ far away. So unless you fancy trekking through fields for hours on end to get to the shops, you have to consult an incredibly complicated timetable in order to get the bus, which only comes through your village twice a day if there’s an R in the month and the moon is in Capricorn.
3. Or you have to psych yourself up to ask your parents for a lift
And they’ll usually say no, because they’re “not a taxi service”, which is certainly true because as you well know taxis don’t come out as far as your village. The village where your parents – who won’t give you a lift – chose to live. Rude.
4. This all means that meeting your friends is a military operation
You can’t just have a spontaneous hang because you have to mess around organising lifts, or sitting on a rickety bus for an hour, or schlepping for miles through a load of countryside. And when you do meet up you’ve always got one eye on the time because if you miss the bus or aren’t ready when your mum arrives, you’re doomed.
5. You can’t wait to pass your driving test
Even if you’re a few years away, you dream of the day you have your own wheels. Until then, it’s a huge deal when someone’s older sibling passes their test, or your friend starts dating someone who has. Finally you can get to where you want to go without dealing with grumpy parents or stupid buses.
6. There’s basically no point even having a phone
At least you can always hang out with your friends on WhatsApp, right? Lol no, because the only way you can get signal is by hanging precariously out of a window or standing on a fence at the bottom of the garden.
7. Your internet connection is woefully slow
Broadband speeds are positively glacial in the countryside, which means the simple business of streaming music or videos is actually an infuriating ordeal.
8. So really, there’s not a lot to do
Your parents’ helpful suggestions will include playing with your siblings or ‘going on a nice walk’, but let’s be honest, once you’ve walked through one field you’ve walked through them all. So you’re more than familiar with the concept of cabin fever.
9. You’re also pretty familiar with rural wildlife
Whether it’s cows munching their way into your garden or foxes letting out bloodcurdling screams in the dead of night, you know what’s what when it comes to countryside wildlife and can’t really understand why your townie mates get so excited about seeing a rabbit in the field next door.
10. If you’re lucky there’s a village shop within walking distance
It sells penny sweets from the 1960s and occasionally gets a celebrity mag in, but it’s also a hotbed for all the local gossip. You’ll probably end up getting a Saturday job there (because it’s literally the only place you could work) and you’ll be privy to all kinds of outrageous village secrets.
11. Junk food is a real treat
For most people a cheeky Greggs sausage roll or Maccy D’s is a convenient way to satisfy hunger on the go, but for you it’s an entire EVENT. And if you get a craving for it there’s literally nothing you can do about it but raid your parents’ fridge which is just full of boring stuff bought during the weekly ‘big shop’. Wail.
12. It’s a real struggle to find your signature style
For a start, all the decent clothes shops are miles away, so when inspiration hits you’ve got to wait for your next special trip into town. Then, when you are rocking your gorgeous new cut-out dress or rainbow creepers everyone in the village will give you funny looks because unless it’s tweedy or waterproof THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND.
13. Weather takes on a whole new meaning in the countryside
There’s rain, and then there’s ‘the local river has burst its banks again oh god all the roads are closed’ rain. The same goes for ice and snow. Chances are you’ve had more days off school because of the weather than you have because you’ve been ill.
14. But it’s home…
It’s pretty and peaceful, and even though you might be counting down the days until you can leave… you’ve got to admit it’s not the worst place in the world to be.