My green and pleasant land

I was brought up, in those formative years between 11 and 18 in a New Forest Cottage. When mum sold in 2006, she moved into a small local town and that was my last real contact with life in the countryside.

2015-05-30 14.54.58

The particulars for the family home when we sold it in 2006. This is a ‘cottage’. Apparently. And yes it was an idyllic place to grow up.

As we reached our 40s and the children their pre-teen years several people asked if we might move to the countryside. More space for the children to breathe and grow, all that greenery and open spaces. A number of these self-same people would wistfully imagine that life, aspiring to be able to generate such a move.

Life and times have moved on. We often spend time in Suffolk enjoying a weekend here and a few days there in deepest Suffolk.

But…. Why would I move from London? From South London? What on earth would the benefits be? Every conceivable cultural pursuit is here. Art, sport, poetry, theatre you name it. Every main line station leads to the rest of the country, we have airports to take you round the world. If you need care the best is here. Want to enjoy the best food? It’s here. What am I missing?

Fresh air and green spaces? Beautiful views?

Nah, not really. I walked Dog and we came home via Salter’s Hill Park on the edge of Sydenham Hill. As the two videos above show, we have green, we have views, we have pleasant lands. From here you can see the iconic buildings in the bowl of London, the Eye, and the Shard, the dome of St Paul’s and the Wembley arch. You can lose yourself in one of the greenest cities in the world; you can walk from here, sticking to parks and open spaces and loop round London and still never be more than thirty minutes from the middle. We were less than ten minutes walk from my front door which is less than 30 minutes from St Paul’s in the centre of town.

If you get stuck in traffic on some dull arterial road it is grim; the urban backside as you enter via the train networks makes you think, often enough of deprivation and decay.

But that is not this city; it is not my city, not as I see it and understand it and enjoy it.

I’ve lived in the countryside and it’s grand. For a weekend. Or the occasional week. I have dust and grit in my veins. I knew it when I went to Bristol at 18 for University and I’ve not changed my mind ever since.  I am fortunate to have choices; I could move out. Pretty much anywhere that would have me.

But I won’t.

And Dog enjoys the London smells too

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published three books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars and Salisbury Square. In addition I published an anthology of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand this summer. A fourth book will be out soon. This started life as a novel in a week on this blog and will follow later this year. I blog about all sorts at geofflepard.com and welcome all comments. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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22 Responses to My green and pleasant land

  1. Autism Mom says:

    I shared the videos with my son – he says Dog is adorable. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rachel M says:

    Looks nice! I prefer to be within walking distance of a city centre too. It’s not quite London, but I can still walk to all the usual amenities that cities have and I like that. The countryside is nice too, but for weekends and holidays 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ali Isaac says:

    Its good to be comfortable with where you live. I have lived in London and Bristol and various other large towns. They were good times, but I couldnt live there now. I live in very rural Ireland, and I wouldnt be anywhere else.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. trifflepudling says:

    Aw, Dog is a lucky chap!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Just shows how some things don’t run in families, I have tried to live in towns and much prefer to live in rural Dorset. If you have dust and grit in your veins I wonder what I have in mine, grass and mud perhaps.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Sacha Black says:

    I haven’t found home yet…. something tells me its New York… but then, I don’t think I could cope with the weather when the arctic likes to visit – as it did on our holiday in Feb!. Lived in Herts for a decade, but I know I won’t be here for ever….

    Liked by 1 person

  7. noelleg44 says:

    You should live wherever you are most comfortable and take vacations to the country. I’m more of a country girl who takes short vacations to cities! Plus Dog looks content!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Norah says:

    London definitely knows how to do parks, and Londoners definitely know how to use them! I visited many lovely parks while there last year. The green spaces are amazing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lived in London for 27 years from 1986 having first visited the city in 1984 and instantly falling in love with it. Those 27 years were wonderful but in April 2013 I was ready to move away. On leaving the city on the M4 Motorway there were no tears just lots of happy memories.

    Now living in Brighton & Hove I’m only one hour away but have only visited London three times since leaving. In fact we are staying in the city this weekend and it is so very nice to be back. However, it’s back home tomorrow and a part of me is wanting to stay, but a bigger part of me is also looking forward to saying goodbye to the busy city and informing it I will back on August 1st. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Charli Mills says:

    I can’t argue with you against the beauty, culture and fabulousness of London.

    Liked by 1 person

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