The Weird Village Where I Live: My First Day

The Weird Village Where I Live: My First Day

When hubby and me moved from the city to the country, I went to work from the old home one morning and returned to the new home in the evening. After I got off the train in the village that day, it became clear that I was lost in the middle of nowhere. I have been to the place by train before, but never on my own, and now I had no idea in which direction to go home. There were several roads winding through the fields and no signs of human habitation. Rather than risking that I’d wander off to some dark, deep woods and never be found again, I called hubby for directions. He gave me these after several minutes of roaring with laughter in the phone. Apparently, it’s amusing to have one’s unattended wife lost.

As advised, I crossed the railway tracks and continued straight ahead along a road lined with houses. I was wondering if a nuclear disaster occurred after I had finished speaking with hubby because there were no people anywhere to be seen. Now in retrospect I know they were spying on my pilgrim’s progress from behind their curtains, because that’s what good country people do. The journey from the railway station to the house seemed endless. The village consists of a single long straight street whose any stretch looks exactly the same as another – add to it the lack of people, and you’ll see why I legitimately feared that I had got trapped in a nightmare. After an excruciating half-an-hour walk, I recognised our house by its monstrous whitish cement fence. Rumour has it that besides the Chinese Wall, our fence is the only structure of human making visible from the space.

After I’d told hubby that the news of me getting lost forever were wildly exaggerated, I went to explore our garden, where I’ve never been properly before. It turned out that it’s more of a hurdle track than a garden. Tree branches appearing out of nowhere kept on hitting me in my face, stones in the paved paths went loose under my feet and there were swarms of flies buzzing like something had died there. The enthusiastic presence of flies was explained when I reached the farthest end of the garden and saw that we had an open compost box built there. I also found out that there was a field behind the garden – of course there is a field, there are fields everywhere here and we practically live in a clearing in the middle of fields. Deeply concerned about such proximity of wilderness and agriculture, I went back to the house only to stumble on a cat. I didn’t even know we had a cat.

The first days in the village were like a boot camp – or a prisoner of war camp under martial law. This impression was strongly reinforced by the surprisingly busy road in front of the house, which is frequented by lorry drivers who want to avoid a toll road that they are supposed to use. Particularly heavy trucks make the house and everything in it vibrate, including me lying in my bed. There is also a plenty of farming machinery around. Have you ever walked on the side of a road while a fully-loaded agricultural trailer sped by? It could sweep you from your feet – and you are sure to end up with straw in your hair and on your clothes, if you’re lucky enough that it’s straw rather than something nastier that the trailer is carrying. I can’t see where all the talk about the quietness and tranquillity of country life comes from. Certainly not from here, where I’m desperately craving the white noise and the civilised ways of city life.

37 thoughts on “The Weird Village Where I Live: My First Day

  1. I wouldn’t know how to survive the ‘country life’. Singapore is so tiny (~700 km²) that we are literally a city/state/nation. I have the luxury of urban life till death do me part. On most days I struggle to find things to do in this city. I can’t imagine what I would do in a place surrounded by land, land and more land – death by boredom, probably.

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    1. Yes, you would be dead by boredom within a week. I’m fortunately too busy to meet this infamous end. No matter how small a city is, it’s a better than no city. And city/state/nations are fascinating! Well, to me at least 🙂 You know, possibly the only thing you can do in the village is to start gardening. Or never to get up from your laptop, which is what I do 🙂

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  2. Wow, what a big change Mara! I keep wondering how does it feel like to live such a change – I’ve experienced the opposite way. I think that actually we don’t really NEED the city (of course I’m not referring to infrastructure like hospitals, schools and all the necessary thing). But the psychological attachment – it could really be something created in our heads, more like a fear of not having everything at our fingertips and consequently feeling helpless. How does it feel like to you until now?

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    1. Thank you for your insightful comment! You are surely right about the psychological level of our need for the city, with me it certainly is the case. I love the city, I feel at home in the city and I find it very unrewarding to live in the village. It’s a great change even in the feel, the atmosphere of the places — the city is bustling with life, but here things seem so lifeless and sooo slooowww… This doesn’t help with work productivity! Sorry for my rant, I guess I got too passionate 😀 You, being a traveller, probably feel good anywhere, right?

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    1. Oh yes, you were supposed to laugh all the way through, there’s nothing more hilarious than another person’s misery 🙂 Seriously. As long as it ends well, of course!

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    1. Haha, idyllic indeed. I ended up in this village exile as a result of my decision to move house rather than to divorce. My husband insisted he wouldn’t live in the bed-sitter any more and due to limited means, the only place we could move to was his grandparent’s house. So that’s how I got here! On a happier note, hubby and me have a consent on moving to a more civilised place once we can afford it.

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  3. Wow, sounds like you feel real confident about this move 😜 I’m sure you’ll love it once you get to sleep through the sound of the lorries! Good luck adjusting and finding your way… X

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement! Oh yes, I’m sure about this move in that I’m sure I hate it, heh :-p It was a move out of necessity, and though I’m relatively accustomed to the place now, I take delight in hating on it. That’s my way of coping, I guess 😉 Also, I love making fun of me being a villager now with straw in her hair and the like…

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  4. Im still laughing about the cat comment! Again you write the most hilarious posts about stressful situations. Hopefully you will get used to the lorry driver or else help them decide to go back to the tollways! Thoroughly enjoyable read. I come from the country, while its quite nice, there are a lot more flies because they come with cows and their droppings and birds who make a lot of noise early in the mornings. I hope it becomes more stress free but cant wait for more fun adventures in your adjustments to country life 🙂

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    1. Thanks for reading and laughing at me! I never thought I’d say it, but it feels so good to make other people laugh, even at myself 🙂 I’m reasonably adjusted to the village life now, but I’m sure there will be more sardonic posts on a similar topic — country life is something I hate, I’m simply not the right kind of person for it, but at the same time it morbidly fascinates me. On a happier note, the incident with the cat ended up with me starting to love cats and eventually getting a kitten besides the adult cat 🙂

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  5. Mara, I love the new theme colours!! As for the move, you will probably start to see the upsides of it sooner than you expect (think of all the new places/objects to photograph!). I also moved this week and already managed to get lost twice on my way home, so don’t worry you’re definitely not alone 😀

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    1. Ooh, thanks for the compliment, it’s reassuring that you like my new blog colours 🙂 You look like such a happy person, to see the upsides in everything, but wait, you moved this week?! It must have been a havoc, I very much hope you’ll get settled soon! And get yourself a GPS 😉

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  6. G’day Mara,
    Well well well, all though I do feel for you being uprooted and dumped in such a foreign environment, I can’t help thinking , what fun, you almost made me homesick, I am from the bush, and was transplanted into the city when I was controlled by grownups. Now that youth responsibility and work life is over and done with I head back there every few months, and stay with my aunt who lives in the middle of 600 acres, with not another house in sight from any direction. I would live there tomorrow, but Hubby, bless his cotton socks is City born and bred, and gets bored after a couple of days, so I go on my own hahahaha

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    1. Hi Muzzy, so nice to hear from you again! Interesting that you still long for the country when you spent your adulthood, as I get it, in the city. I guess it was a good first impression 🙂 My hubby is more of a country person than me, so I understand your marital “division” about the topic very well. Hubby is actually proud to live in a village, which is something I don’t get, this patriotism. Wishing you many happy days in the country!

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  7. Another superbly-written piece. Reminds me a bit of rural Kentucky or Tennessee. NOT all that peaceful. Cat-comment was TOO funny, by zee way, and how I can relate…I’m always tripping over cats… 😉

    Very entertaining read. Looking forward to more of these!!

    Best wishes,

    Autumn Jade

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    1. Wait, are American villages somewhat like Eastern European villages? Oh my, where did we end up with all that globalisation… My first meeting with the cat was funny for sure, who would have guessed that I’d become a crazy cat lady in a matter of no time! When in doubt, blame the cat. Thanks for reading!

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      1. Oh no…did you think we all live in mansions, drive around bustling and noisy cities in shiny new cars, and talk in high, nasally and whiny voices like the modern American flicks like to pretend? 😉 My friend in Paris thought that as well. Perhaps it is that way, but I know nothing about it!

        Crazy-cat lady eh? How charming. Of course, I know nothing aboutreotu thatr ewtq tq4q4fdsagadg44342

        Sorry for the atrocious typo, one of the cats just sat on the keyboard as he was having a tantrum. He couldn’t find a place to drape himself on me as three other cats were already using me as a chair and there was no room. Remedied now, he’s decided to be my hat. His name is Fyodor.

        Now, as I was saying, I don’t know what on earth it must be like to be a crazy-cat lady. I certainly am NOT one of those…

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        1. What? Not all Americans are like those in the movies? *shock* Well, I suspected you as a nation were hiding something 😉

          My ideas about the first world are very biased for sure, owing to the fact that I live in the second world. Instead of being happy that I’m not in the third world, I’m still complaining. It would seem that I promoted discontentment to a lifestyle.

          I find it very Lost-Generation-like that you’re an American exiled in Paris. So, enjoy it like Henry Miller. Enough literary references though.

          On a different note, I’m now resting content like a cat and perfectly satisfied because you manifested beyond doubt that you have no idea what a crazy cat person is. Also, I must name the next thing I meet Fyodor because I fell in love with the name.

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          1. Har har I WISH I was an American exiled in Paris! I was referring to my friend. She lives in Paris but grew up in Turkey. She and I have many funny conversations comparing America with Turkey and France.

            In fact, I really wish I was an American exiled in Scotland. I would delight in living there. Well, I would delight in living anywhere, really. Norway is looking extremely attractive to me now that it has “Starry Night” bike paths all over the place. I wonder how they feel about obnoxious American ex-patriots. Oddly enough, I have found most countries don’t really care much for them…

            Yes, I thought I had convinced you that I am certainly NOT a crazy cat person. And yes, I love the name too. But then, I am only ever so slightly obsessed with Fyodor Dostoevsky. I am not a crazy Dostoevsky lady, though.

            Now, if you will excuse me, Fyodor is yowling piteously as he is cold and I have just the tiny cat-sized wooly jumper to put on him, and then I must read “Brothers Karamazov” for the 198th time this week. Ta ta!

            Autumn Jade

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          2. I’m glad you’re not an American exiled in Paris after all. I’m not fond of cliches. Even worse, I’m not too fond of Paris, if you pardon me, because it strikes me as pretentious and arrogant for no reason.

            But I might have a grudge against Paris only because I was harassed in their metro, which was a very educative incident. I have no French and was careless enough not to look up in advance the French word for “help”, so I didn’t know what to scream. It’s not like that would make any difference because no one was around anyway. As I escaped unharmed, it was at the end a funny story to share at the Thanksgiving table. Provided that we celebrated Thanksgiving, which we don’t.

            Please say that you’re kidding me when you said you want to be exiled in Scotland. If you’re serious, then be advised that I’ll marry you in my next life. Provided that you’re not my long lost twin sibling, of course. It’s Scotland rather than the US which is my promised land.

            I don’t know about Norway (besides it’s being among the most expensive countries in Europe, hence none of my business), but even you’re ready to live anywhere, don’t come to the Czech Republic. We’re mean and miserable here.

            Send my regards to Fyodor and compliment him on his taste in literature. Cheers!

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          3. Har har haw. No, only more poor friend is trapped there. She hoped to one day transfer to a London office. She must be patient and keep moving up in her current job. She has a lot of assets- literary degree and fluent in French, English and Turkish. I think she can obtain a job in London.

            I quite concur that France is a land of pretentious and pious attitude, har har. I am sorry about the incident you suffered. Seems common on the metro there…my friend has had the same happen to her more than once. I probably should not go there…I would quickly end up in prison… I nearly murdered a lad once because he came up behind me. And we were friends. Not after that. He couldn’t forgive the humiliation of his writhing on the school hall floor whilst I snappily retorted, “Well, you shouldn’t have done that. Now I cannot dawdle around here with you or I’ll be late for class!” And I vanished, and so did the friendship.

            I just rambled my way far off topic.

            Anyhow, I can understand your grudge. I’m glad you managed to emerge frilled, but unscathed. I would still love to shoot there for a time, perhaps avoiding metros. I’d like to live for a time in all sorts of places (with the massive bank account I don’t have and never will have har har), both caustic, rugged and miserable, as well as delightful, friendly and progressive.

            But the place that always felt like home to me, is Scotland. I’ve been obsessed since a small child and always felt terribly robbed that I was not born there. Perhaps I would feel differently had I been born there, but I seriously doubt it.

            In the next life, if you plan on marrying a vampire deer, then you are all set, as that is likely what I’ll be! 😉 That or a European wildcat. 😉 Or a very obnoxious starling…

            As for Norway, I just wanted an excuse to bring up their new Van Gogh bike path! 😉 I learn about these things as I obsessively follow all kinds of quirky “bike news” as I am a twerp that bicycles all over the place rather than drives. This is a serious crime in the US. 😉 I cannot help it, I LOVE my little Taiga bike. I call it Taiga. I don’t know why.

            Right, here is the article, and why, along with some headphones to aptly blast Kings of Convenience with, I must take Taiga with me for a visit in Norway-

            The more you tell me about the Czech Republic, the more you make me long to visit 😉 Sounds like just my kind of place to shoot in. I thrive in such caustic environments. I get accosted with friendliness constantly here in FL and it gets a little exhausting…

            P.S. Fyodor is purring away just now, attempting to flob all over the keyboard. He looks very snowy and Russian just now, with his pale tundra blue eyes attempting to charm me into my grave.

            Best wishes,

            Autumn Jade

            Another P.S. Here is a blog entry about Fyodor if you are curious. My father, I call him Sir, wrote it.

            http://mewlingmusings.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/the-kitten-that-rescued-himself/

            Cheers!

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          4. I’m now officially collecting your comments and will include them in my novel. It’s not like I write a novel but I will start one. As soon as I recover from my temporary (?) loss of senses over the unbearable cuteness of Fyodor the kitten that rescued himself.

            I’m not particularly fond of deer vampires, but in case I haven’t mentioned, I intend to be a grumpy cat in my next life. Alternately, I may choose instead to marry Fyodor. Maybe he’ll be a prince charming in a white lamborghini in one of his next lives.

            Thank you for entertaining me. Seriously. I’m off to watch Fyodor videos now. Cheers!

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          5. Har har har haw. YES that is the typical reaction of all cats and humans and even toads (I have two pet toads) whenever he waltzes into a room and flashes his little blue tundra eyes about, nice and suave. The two rabbits we live with adore him, as well. He is the only one they love to kiss and cuddle with, rather than chase. I need to make more Fyodor videos. 😉 He is VERY charming. And he likes speed. I see him in a very sporty Tesla in the next life. He speeds around here so quickly that he often suffers multiple collisions on a daily basis. He is, in fact, the clumsiest cat I’ve ever met. It is quite entertaining, and he knows it.

            Har har do whatever you like with my rambling ravings. I have no use for them! I neeeever have any inspiration to write, unless I am typing into a comment box. So it goes! 😀

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          6. Say hello to your two smiling toads and grumpy rabbits. I hope the rabbits are grumpy but there’s only so much cuteness one can bear and you already have Fyodor. I hope the rabbits didn’t overhear that I got a dead hare, their fellow, out in the yard. I don’t have it there anymore, I think granddad finally gutted it. I was wondering if he was up to preparing that French specialty for which you leave a pheasant rotting for months and then eat it. Or do I confuse it with some reality show challenge? Whatever.

            I so much wish I was flooded with inspiration by the mere sight of the comment box, in which case I’d write my academic papers all over everyone’s blogs. Maybe in one of my next lives.

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          7. Har har the rabbits are thoroughly cheerful. They just LOVE to bully cats. They become exceedingly gruntled when one of the wee whiskered predators runs for its dear life at the sight of the tiny bully bunny, stomping and hopping about all over the place. Rabbits are terrifying apparently.

            For me, it is all kisses and rabbit purring (they gently grind their teeth) and cuddling and following me around. They love to go out on walks, too. It is very delightful to take the wee rabbits to the park, In fact, it was at the park where I found them abandoned. Little domestic rabbits. I did not know a thing about rabbits back then, but I knew they were coming home with me!

            Har har haw!! If I had academic papers to write, be assured, they would indeed be peppered all over everyone’s blogs. 😉 Epic.

            You really MUST get that hare skull if you can manage it. What a beautiful little thing to have. I have the skull of a tern that I found by the sea once. The skull of a royal tern.

            I once found a gorgeous skull of a raccoon but a nosy park ranger spoiled everything.

            It was a warm day in late autumn. We had traveled to South Florida for a new hiking experience at one of the state parks down there. Well, I popped out and was beginning my reveling in nature with cameras snapping all over the place when I was nearly run over by a wild rabbit. The rabbit seemed to want to play, so we gambolled and danced together. This ludic ecstasy was cut short when I became aware of a scowling and judgmental park ranger leering at us, casting a long, grave shadow over us. He seemed to be of the opinion that I was harassing wildlife. He didn’t actually say so, but his threatening stance revealed as such. I was molesting rabbits and this would not do. The rabbit bounced off and I haphazardly apologized in a disheveled and goofy manner and slothed off as well.

            After a sweltering hike, I came to a clearing of pale white dunes and stubbly cactus. There were a few tall slash pines balancing on the eroded edge of this sandy white bluff that stumbled into the gem-like waters of the river, below.

            And that is when I detected the scent of Death. I became most excited, snouting all over the place, feverishly searching for a corpse, which I knew had to be nearby. I finally discovered it beneath one of the great, sweeping pines. Cicadas hummed from above as I removed some the rusty red needles to reveal a gorgeous white skull. It even had teeth. I was delighted. One half of the skull still had a bit of desiccated flesh peeling away from it, with some wiry fur and even a few whiskers jutting into the bed of needles. I was so enchanted. I was giggling with joy, giddy, dizzy with delight. And then I became aware of a presence…

            I turned around and there was that blasted ranger again. Scowling away. I pretended to photograph the water after muttering, “Oh hullooooo there. Marvelous scene here with the twinkly water, eh? Huh huh?”

            He did not reply. I felt judgment oozing out from behind his aviation sunglasses, his razor-edge jaw tightly clenched. He knew I was up to something. I was obviously an eco-system destroying, wild-animal-molesting, park-disrupting, odious troublemaker. I had to be watched. His leathery, corded arms were tightly folded. He was ready to whip me into shape the moment I made a wrong move.

            I debated what to do. I could grab the skull up and suavely walk by the ranger as if I was just holding a precious pinecone, and hope for the best…

            But somehow I doubted he’d think the skull was a pinecone I was fondling so dearly in my hands, especially as a tooth or two spills out of the skull’s rictus grin, still managed by the warped curve in the raw-hide flesh around the mouth.

            I somehow sensed that rangers didn’t smile upon skulls being removed from their parks. So I had to abandon the gorgeous find or risk the wrath of a ‘roid-raged ranger. I was most depressed. It was QUITE a work of cranial art. I could have Hamletted about with that skull with great pride, indeed…

            And did I seriously just write THAT much to you just now…in seconds, look at the devastation some quick phalanges can produce…and what a boring story, on top of it, with no real outcome at all! I AM sorry…

            BLAST.

            Sheepish cheers,

            Smiling Toad

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          8. Ha!! Your story which is not a story is utterly fascinating. Creepy, I like that. I mean, your story is creepy, you’re probably not.

            I’d love to see a photo of your menagerie one time. And warn your naughty rabbits that they shouldn’t tease cats: my cats eat rabbits. Seriously. They caught several hares and ate them. Like I don’t feed them or what. And rabbits are like hares, as far as my cats are concerned.

            Also, in case you decide to visit my country, rest assured that you can not only take home skulls, you can also roam the fields and search for ancient Roman coins that are occasionally found buried here. The latter is illegitimate but no one will see you because we have no rangers and no police to guard fields. Also, you don’t have it from me. 😉

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          9. Har har these rabbits are street smart! Er…alley cat smart, rather? They were tossed into the park, right amongst a colony of feral cats. This is where they developed their cat-terrifying skills. They are wee bity ninja rabbits, aye that they are!

            Anyhow, I would love to visit your country most vehemently. What you describe sounds wonderful. Especially the trespassing bit. Will I be shot at? I’ve been shot at for trespassing in FL. I don’t know how I did it but somehow I accidentally found myself trespassing, innocently, on a farm way out in the country one summer evening. The owner was not happy with me when he spotted me amongst the muculent pig-stye with the little piglets. I knew I should have turned around when I saw a stop-sign riddled with bullet-holes…

            The police are pretty rabid too. One could trespass all over the place in Northern IL where I used to live (I used to love poking around deserted places looking for dead bodies) but I quickly learned one will rapidly be jailed or murdered if one sets foot in a park that is closed or on some abandoned property. I LOVE abandoned properties, but police LOVE to keep me out of them…bullies…Sometimes I am almost arrested for just walking on a public road. I guess I look like a shrimpy and defiant Marlon Brando or James Dean junior of some kind…

            Cheers!

            AJ

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          10. I can hardly believe I’m saying that, but considering your “special needs” for trespassing and entering abandoned buildings, you’d love it in the Czech Republic. We don’t do here the “trespassers will be shot” thing and mostly nobody cares about trespassers. You could trespass to your heart’s content, though when a building collapses on you and you get killed, don’t expect that you could sue and get a compensation. These are not the States. Cheers!

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          11. “You could trespass to your heart’s content,” is the sweetest thing one could ever say to me. As the phrase goes, a symphony to my ears.

            HA too bad about not being able to sue away…a great source of revenue over here! 😉

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          12. Haha, yes, I realise that you could live on suing other people for giving you cups with hot beverage that might be hot and such nonsense. Not here. We have the perks of trespassing only…

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          13. HAHA I wouldn’t know. I come from a family of lawyer drunkards so I tend to avoid that sort of thing with absolute vehemence. I am sure my great uncle could snort about the joys of suing for 18 years through the scuzzy haze of his “beer therapy”.

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