So I am writing tonight with my feet well and truly up! They are actually on a pillow and I have an alcoholic beverage to hand. Sounds idyllic doesn’t it! Sadly, it is enforced. I’ve broken my toe and I actually can’t move around at the present time, as I’m in pain. The good side is that I’m feeling inspired about all the amazing people around us, and how they help us in times of crisis.
So we moved to our village knowing no one, and to be honest we didn’t really even know where, location wise, we had moved to for a good few weeks. We have a Welsh phone number and a Shropshire postcode, but we actually live in Herefordshire. All very confusing!! We always say that our house found us, as it was purely by chance we actually found it on the day we went to view somewhere else.
So the village we live in is very small. It is home to around 80 people and it centres very much around our pub, which is conveniently crawling distance from our house. In our village, we have met some of the kindest people you could ever meet. On one of the very first nights in our local, we met a man who has since become a very good friend, and he told us that; “it’s not about what you take out of a small community, it’s what you put in.” How true this is!
Cast your mind back to Christmas 2013 and the horrendous floods that the people of Somerset experienced. Who remembers the trailers and lorries of hay, straw and feed travelling up and down the motorways of Great Britain to help the farmers of Somerset who lost literally everything, and were stranded with their animals? Many of the farmers that would have donated that feed and those bales would not have had a huge amount themselves, but they wanted to help out.
In the time I’ve lived in Lingen I can recall so many occasions when we have needed the help of our amazing neighbours around us. Whether it has been to bath the children when the water pipes have blown, put the chickens to bed as we’re late back, put up some emergency fencing as some nut job took a chain saw to 14ft of stock hedging and the animals were going to escape, help us tow a stricken vehicle, fix a quad bike, round up some sheep or come to look at the turkeys when we are just not sure they are quite right. Our neighbours and fellow village dwellers have always been on hand to help as much as they can.
My family live so far away from us, it would be easy to feel alone and isolated. Luckily, the residents of Lingen have not let us wallow and would not allow that to happen, and this is testament to what living in a rural community is like. We have been absolutely welcomed into this small village and the friends we have in the village have all been such a huge part of our lives. When each of our children were born, they were all excitedly awaiting the news of the arrivals, and followed this news with cards, flowers, presents, home cooked meals and cake. Within a few hours of us arriving home from hospital with Dolly, our youngest, we were in the pub introducing her to everyone.
But equally when the people of Lingen have needed us, be it showers when they have no hot water, a donation of a turkey for the village raffle, help chopping fire wood, looking after a sick horse or just some brute force and manual labour. Or we have just invited them to yet another of our paddock parties to say thank you to them for what they have done for us over the year! We have simply been there for them as they have been for us. It is an unwritten rule of living out here.
The rural communities of Great Britain are unique. Having moved into one, we have learned what being part of a small rural community is about. Just like our man said; it’s what you put in, not what you take out. We have found you can distance yourself or be an integral part of the community or anywhere in between. Whatever you want to put in directly reflects what you get out. Not everyone wants an open door policy where folks just let themselves in, as on Emmerdale. Although some of our villagers, including us, love the fact that you can do just that! The kettle is always on at the barn.
So I want to know….. Do you live in a rural community? Have your fellow rural dwellers come to the rescue when all hell has broken loose? I would love to hear all about where you live and the stories about your community, the good the bad and down right hilarious!