Jarv Morton is a travelling writer, handyman and all-round well-behaved lad – at least that’s what his Mum says.
For those living in the populous urban sprawls of the UK, life in rural villages is something of a mystery: I’m looking to change that.
I spent the first half of my life living in the very heart of rural Somerset.
Barton St. David was the implausibly named village that I grew up in. Today the village’s population has risen to the heady heights of 561, but when I was growing up there was probably around half that many people there. When I introduce myself to new people and mention that I grew up in rural Somerset I’m usually greeted with a couple of standard responses somewhere along the lines of ‘Oh, you must love cider’ or ‘Oo-arr my loverr’.
Now – it wouldn’t be right (or technically correct) for me to call these kind of comments racist, they’re not even that offensive – but, over the years, I’ve noticed how there’s a strong tendency for town or city dwellers to make assumptions about those that live in the country.
This site is my attempt to inform those urban dwellers about what life is like in rural areas, so that the next time they meet someone from Somerset, they can hopefully have a few more cultural references to draw from other than the cliches that they’ve picked up from television and The Wurzels.
Whenever I get into a discussion with someone about the pros and cons about living in the countryside, I like to remind them (rather sardonically) of the classic Aesop fable, The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse.
In this story, a humble Country mouse hosts his well-to-do cousin from the City. The City mouse is taken back at the simple food he is offered and decides to take his cousin back to the City in order to treat him to a taste of the fine life. In the city they both eat a fine meal, but are disturbed by a dangerous cat at the end, forcing them to flee before finishing their meal. The Country mouse decides to return home, preferring the peace and tranquillity of his rural locale.
By the time I get to the end of this story I usually leave my audience somewhat bemused.
So, what is the story trying to say?
That a finer life can be found in the city, but it comes with risks? That true peace and quiet can only be found in this countryside – but one must deal with living a more frugal existence? I think, ultimately, this story is more about cultural expectations and personal tastes than anything else, but it’s still relevant to the issues that I’m trying to tackle here.
Whether you’re a Country mouse or a City mouse, there’s always going to be a certain amount of culture shock to contend with. I’m hoping that this site goes some way to persuading the City mice that the Country is worth exploring. For the Country mice out there, I hope that I don’t ruffle too many feathers!