“In the village”
Village life is not quite what I expected.
I never thought it would take me 20 minutes to do a five minute walk to the allotment because everyone wants to stop and talk to you.
Everyone does know what everyone else is up to. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration. But, I must know over half the adult population of our small village.
Staggering to read recently that living in a rural location adds 20% to household bills. Coping with a £500 bill for a bulk gas delivery is a challenge. Imagine two deliveries in tow months at the height of a frigid winter.
But, what’s most surprising is changes in my outlook on life. Living in towns of the home counties, suburbs of Washington DC, in the shadow of what is now the Olympic Park and the mean streets of south London it’s easy to be anonymous. Community. It’s not an experience in my life.
Until moving here. Sure, one of the motivations of leaving the big city was to live in a community. But, I’m not really sure what I expected. Even if I had expectations, those would come close to the experiences up here in the rural uplands of north Devon.
“I didn’t move to Devon to become a shopkeeper.” That’s my standard phrase when talking about community shops.
And, I certainly had no designs on becoming a leader. I love working on detail in the background. Let others do the high level schmoozing. Leave me to the research. I’ll write the reports and, at a push, speeches and press releases.
But. There we are. October 2006. Village shop opening coincides with our first visit to the village.
Five years on. With a shop now empty for two years, I’ve just clicked the mouse sending off a major grant application to fund a new community owned and operated shop.
I’m nearer becoming that shopkeeper. I’ve become a reluctant leader. I’m part of a community.
Trips to the allotment will soon take an hour.