Saturday, 14 July 2012

Wine tasting and cattle grids

We haven't been on many nights out since our move. And they've all ended in a drive back home with at least one of us sober.

So I positively leap at an invitation to a wine tasting with some mums from school. Only nearer the event do I consider the logistics. Quick google: the last bus for the pretty village with the wine bar leaves at 15:10. I briefly consider cycling then reluctantly conclude that I'll be needing a taxi.

Sensing my dire need for a girls' night out, my husband kindly offers to drop me off. (This means the kids have to come along for the ride. They look very bemused at mummy dressing up for once. "You can't go like that!" Rosa caringly advises, when I'm still wearing combat trousers with five minutes to go.)

The wine tasting is extremely tasty, without a spittoon in sight.

We share a taxi home and, funnily enough, I'm the last person to be dropped off. The taxi reaches the top end of the village and I don't dare ask the driver to navigate our long, pot-holed lane. Instead I walk through the semi-darkness, aware of sheep looming on either side and the wind off the moors. Its a far cry from shifty shadows and 24/7 traffic on London streets.

I can't remember crossing a cattle grid tipsy before. Suddenly the thought of crossing two fills me with pure joy. I skip up the farm track, a ridiculous grin on my face, grateful that I didn't choose heels and safe in the knowledge that the sheep won't tell.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012


There's a hedgehog in the road on the way to school today. I don't think I've ever seen a real live hedgehog before. Joe certainly hasn't. We stop the car and walk over to it. I ignorantly expect it to run away but instead it slowly tightens into a ball.

There's probably a whole prickle of hedgehogs in London, but seeing one up close in the countryside gets me thinking about our impending dilemma: should we stay or should we return?

Our year is nearly up. We've thrown ourselves into it, established an enjoyable rural life, experienced the other extreme and seen up close its pros and cons. Now my husband's project and our excuse for being here is coming to an end. So do we find other excuses to stay?

I feel like that hedgehog. Faced with uncertainty, I'd like to just curl up in a ball and see what happens. Think we'd better move one way or the other though, before the next car comes round the corner.

(In case you're worried, I gently moved the hedgehog to the side of the road with my foot. It wasn't there on our return journey.)