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Friday, June 23, 2006 

Seeing Sheep

Callum: You can’t really live in the middle of nowhere.
Hatty: When I look out of the window in the mornings, I see sheep.
Callum: Oh, well that’s never good.

People in my village are inbred. I mean that in the nicest way possible, truly, but it’s true. In reality, it isn’t just my village; it’s probably more accurate if I say people in this area are inbred. You talk to someone on a bus, mention a name, and sure as hell you know they’re going to say, “Oh, really? They’re my cousin!” It’s a simple fact. Everyone is interrelated or, if they aren’t, they’re cousins to someone who is.

I live in a rural paradise. Or at least, that’s what they tell me it is. It’s beautiful, absolutely heaven if you’re a big fan of squirrels, woodland walks and fields. Squirrels are great; you pretty much can’t go wrong with squirrels. Yeah, they can only talk in a weird piercing cheepy chattery noise, but other than that they’re cool. I like squirrels. And woodland walks are fine when you’re of a certain age, or want somewhere scenic to walk the dog. But fields? Fields I don’t like. They’re either filled with sheep, or that horrible rape stuff that is a stupid mustard yellow colour and flares up your hay fever within seconds of it flowering.

Socially speaking it isn’t so wonderful either. The hot spot is a tiny pub ten miles from anywhere that has so few customers that they’re willing to serve alcohol to someone thirteen years old as long as they look like they might, just possibly, be sixteen. If you want a good party, there is an eighty percent chance that it will not be in a house, but will be in either a field, or a barn. People have weddings in barns around here. Seriously. Yeah, so the barn was a nice one, it was still a barn. And it was still bloody freezing. Gotta say though, I did find the kitchen-in-a-cow-stall quite amusing.

The bus drivers now know me either by sight, or name. I find that impressive considering there’s about twenty of them that do my route. Luckily, though I live in the middle of no where, it is on a pretty useful main road that is on the way to a few marginally better places. If you can call two towns with a handful of clubs and pubs between them better. At least they were never too harsh on ID when I was of the age where that could be problematic. And Newcastle is alright as cities go; shops, pubs, clubs, and most of the people will translate what they just said into English if you ask them nicely.

Yes, we’re all inbred up here, but as none of my family is actually originally from here, no one speaks the dialect. Hence a lot of confusing incidents involving errors in translation. Geordies are all wonderful people, well, mostly, but they’re nearly impossible to understand. The first time I heard “I’m gan yem” I just thought it was a little confusing that they’d started speaking Japanese. Never did I even consider that “yem” actually meant “home”. They’re not even the same vowel sound!

So, all in all, it’s a pretty awful place to live if you only really feel comfortable around lots and lots of people. I can only get signal on my phone in either my bedroom, or front garden. Believe me, for me, this is a major problem. But even though when people patronisingly tell me who lucky I am to live in rural paradise, I’m inwardly substituting “hell” in instead of “paradise,” I’ll still miss it.

I’ll miss the local news letter that tells of the wayward youths that have rebelliously set fire to a haystack. I’ll miss hearing people gossip about who is having a property battle over eight inches of dirt that has someone’s prize begonias on it. I’ll miss all the drunken old men in the pubs that you really can’t understand, but who all really, really, want to buy you a drink. And I’ll complain, I’ll bitch, but really I am touched when the bus driver asks if I’m “alreet” and lets me on even though I don’t have my bus pass with me, just because he remembers the last time I was on and had to spend half the journey chatting to him in the front seat as I searched through my bag for my bus pass. Seriously, I think that thing has the ability to turn itself invisible.

I won’t miss the internal politics. I won’t miss being told off because my dad was told by my aunt who was told by her friend from the keep fit classes, who was told from her sister that I’d not said “hello” to her as I walked down the street one day. But it has its charms. I doubt I’ll ever move back, I’ll see more than enough of the place when I come home for Christmas. But sometimes it’s nice to just reflect on all the eccentricities, and really, they aren’t as bad as I make out sometimes.

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We live in glorious rural isolation as well - thanks heavens for the computer ! We still dont have buses though ....

Isn't is charming? hehe
We're living kinda off track too in the middle of nowhere (or that's how it feels sometimes) and we have Pheasants for pets and squirrels who fight for the bird seed...LOL

And dialects...yawp...when I first came here more than 2 years ago it was like a completely new language. Especially since I was use to the american english since a few years back ;) It's a tad difference between the country side in England and Los Angeles...in more than one way.

I love it here though and wouldn't change back for anything.
But as you said...maybe it's an age thing ;)

i've never been to the u.k., but i definitely want to visit some day. thanks for visiting my blog. i love your layout and the way you write.

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  • An albatross can fly for thousands of miles without getting tired. I've always thought that love is similar to flying, therefore we should aspire to be like the albatross.

    I don't know if I can do that. So far I haven't been so lucky. But one day I'll test my wings with someone, and flying won't be so hard after all. Or so painful.
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    * In 2001 one New Zealand fishing boat killed over 300 seabirds in just one trip, while fishing for ling.
    * Each year over 300,000 seabirds are killed by longline fishing.
    * Over the past 60 years some albatross populations have declined by 90%.
    * Annually around 10,000 albatross and petrels are caught in New Zealand waters alone.
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