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.