Last year I moved from London to Didcot.
Most people thought I was mad for giving up my London lifestyle, complete with a trendy job in television to move somewhere most people know only because they’ve changed trains at the station, but I had a new job in Swindon and it meant my boyfriend and I could finally move intogether. The decision was made.
The move wasn’t an easy one for me but over the past year Didcot has surprised me.
I’ve lived in London virtually my entire life and consider myself a true city girl. I love the buzz, the busyness, the constant choice of things to do and places to go and I even love the tube (well, sometimes) so I genuinely feared what ‘living in the countryside’ meant for me.
But I’ve since realised my fears were based mostly on one thing – that outside of London there’s nothing to do, and I’d be bored stiff.
Yes, the only shops in Didcot are Next and New Look, we only have one non-takeaway-style restaurant, and i’m not sure many people who live here have even heard of museums, but my lifestyle here is actually far better than my one in London.
It seems a new Harriet has been born – Country-Harriet. And if I’m honest, she’s not the sort of person I’d expected to ever find I’d turned into. Not that I’ve had some sort of Jekyll-and-hyde personality transplant, I’ve just started enjoying different things.
Country-Harriet suggests things like cycle-rides to new un-explored villages, where City-Harriet would have suggested visits to Westfield.
She has also embraced excercise – something City-Harriet considered herself allergic to.
She’s also the proud co-owner of an allotment. An allotment! And is fully expecting much of her summer to involve serving gin-and-tonics to the people digging it up.
Ok, so I haven’t changed that much, I still won’t be the one doing the digging, and while I’m not quite ready to let go of City-Harriet yet, I’m safe in the knowledge that I can enjoy my countryside frolics but indulge my city-loving side whenever I like since London’s only 45 minutes away.
Yes, if my friends arrange things in London on a weeknight it’s tricky (and expensive) for me to get there and back, but the weekends are fair game.
And if my London friends ever want to come and visit Country-Harriet immensely enjoys showing people that she lives round the corner from a cow in a field.