Every now and then we begin to feel restless in London. That’s not to say that we don’t enjoy living in the rat race – we love it! It’s just that sometimes it’s good to take a train out to the middle of nowhere and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Often it’s only once we get out of it that we realise how fast we’ve been living in the city. The sheer number of people breathing down your neck on the underground, battling through the crowds to get to the bus stop and even lying in your bed at night listening to people walk past on the footpath one metre from your bedroom window – you forget how little privacy you have until you go to a wide open space where you can’t see anyone for miles.
Earlier this year, when we went back to our native Australia on holiday, I was driving my mum to work down a wide road and there wasn’t another vehicle in sight. I turned to my mum: ‘Where are all the people?’ I asked.
She laughed and asked me what I meant.
‘It’s making me anxious – is there something going on? There’s no one on the roads.’
And that’s how you know you’ve lived in a city too long; when you become agoraphobic!
But it was a welcome relief when we ‘escaped’ the hustle and bustle to the Surrey Hills last weekend. Our friends invited us out there to visit their new home and we had dinner at the local pub in the village. I once heard that in order for a British place to be officially a village it needs three things – a church, a pub and a post office. Chilworth classified as a village – with two pubs instead of one, bonus!
The following morning we set out for a bike ride in the countryside. Climbing the first hill, I quickly began to regret the bottle of wine I had the night before. By the fourth hill, I felt like I was going to puke. By the fifth hill, I got off my bike and walked.
Nonetheless when I had a chance, in between trying to catch my breath and concentrating on getting my feet into the pedal straps (what are the point of those?!), I managed to take in the view.
We pedalled through quaint towns like Shere, where the film The Holiday – starring Cameron Diaz – was filmed, and in many parts the only sounds we could hear were the cows mooing in the green paddocks. It was spectacular and beautiful and reminded me, once more, how good it is to get a deep breath of country air every now and again.