How We Learnt To Be Country Mice

Adapting to our new home took a little time…

When Antony and I first moved to Wales we were initially a bit overwhelmed by our decision.

After spending most of our lives in Guildford, our sudden arrival in rural Snowdonia was a shock to the system to say the least! We’d pined and planned for years, discussing how we were going to escape to the country, but we’d never fully considered the practical issues that it would throw at us initially.

The first challenge that we had to face was living so far away from civilisation. We’d always considered ourselves as ‘outdoorsy’ types, going out into the country every weekend to take hikes and walk the dogs. Regardless of how long we’d spend roaming through wilderness, we’d always drive back through the Guildford town centre, so that we could grab any bits and bobs that we needed to whip up a dinner for the family.

Having so much wilderness right on our doorstep was refreshing and disorienting at the same time. We were so used to having drive 30-45 minutes to get to our favourite walking locations, that to suddenly be dropped amongst all of this beauty was a little unnerving. Finally, we had all we thought we wanted; we could literally walk out our front door and be embraced by the scenic countryside. However, if we wanted to nip out and grab a pint of milk then the round trip would take us an hour. If we wanted to buy our usual week’s shopping then the entire mission would take us closer to 3 hours.

It quickly became apparent that we’d traded one inconvenience for another and that we’d need to drastically adapt our lifestyles if we were going to live in our new home without spending all our time sat in the car.

These are the things we needed to learn in order to become fully fledged country mice:

Plan, plan, plan!

In order to get things done in the countryside it’s really important to plan ahead of schedule. Without supermarkets and Argos shops on your doorstep, you can’t just pull a fancy dinner for two, or family feast out of thin air! We quickly learned that if you wanted to live a life without incessant drives to town then it was crucial to make a concise plan before the week began. We planned our meals two weeks in advance and invested in a chest freezer, so that we’d never run out of the basics.

Buy as locally as possible

Speaking of the basics, we soon found that we could pick up store cupboard essentials from neighbouring farms. After getting chatting to some of our new neighbours we were able to procure regular deliveries of eggs, chickens, vegetables and even cheese, should we wish. This revelation briefly led us to believe that we could live a completely ‘locally sustained’ life, however this dream soon crumbled when we realised that we couldn’t find a farmer selling Ras el Hanout…

Forget about ‘culture’

Both Antony an I used to be huge cinema buffs. It was an interest that we both bonded over early in our relationship and one that we continued to foster throughout the years by popping into our local cinema at least one a week. Considering that our closest cinema in our new home was a good hour away, this was a past time that we quickly had to give up on. Thankfully, our internet is pretty good here, so we at least have the option of catching up with films via streaming!