Town mouse or Country mouse? That was the question that sprang to mind when I overheard a conversation between my boys and their cousin (he is staying with us for a few days during the holidays). They were discussing the merits of being able to leave school at lunch time which their cousin can't do.
"We can do that because Moffat is such a small, safe place " my sons said.
"Yeah, but Glasgow is more exciting" their cousin replied.
And there it is, the basic trade we make when choosing where to live.
|The view from my old studio, looking towards the Devils Beef Tub|
Do you give up all night shopping and accept the fact that when you run out of milk after 10 p.m. you're just gonna have to drink your tea black until morning, that the midnight munchies need to be planned for in advance, that even if there were any shops open the chances of getting anything more exotic than soy sauce are slim? In return you get a corner shop whose staff can tell you what your boys bought on their street lunch day, a butcher that knows you (and your dog !) by name and will happily share cooking tips, and a shoe shop where she doesn't even need to ask 'What size'.
|The floor of the Annan Water valley|
Do you give up night clubs, wine bars, restaurants with Michelin stars and make do with home cooked dinner parties? Do you miss out on premieres, plays and star performances choosing instead to support the local am. dram. society, never quite being able to look at your doctor or solicitor in quite the same light again.
Can den building in the woods and dam building in the streams be as character building as having access to museums, galleries and libraries?
|Riverside walk, Annan Water|
I live in Moffat, a small town in south west Scotland (population about 2500). It's probably just like any number of other little towns across the length and breadth of the country. It's not perfect but for every fault it has there is an advantage, you just have to be in the right frame of mind to look for them. I suppose it just comes down to what kind of mouse you are.
|At the top of 'The Tub'|
So yes, small town living is a lot like Marmite, you either love it or hate it. Personally I love living in one, but then I'm quite partial to marmite..... and broccoli.... and a Brussels sprout or two!