Sex in the Garden (And Other Good Things About Country Living)
The truth is if money was no object and the children would let me, I would probably choose to live in Dublin, ideally in the centre, or by the sea. Or else in Sligo, also by the sea. In general I find cities more stimulating, more free, and in the case of places like Dublin and Sligo, that are so close to mountains and coast you can potentially have the best of both worlds.
However, I live here, in Co Leitrim, in the North West Ireland. It’s Ireland’s least populated county. A region of low employment, high emigration, and declining services. HOWEVER… there are many positives and things to love about living here, even for me.
- Sex in the Garden – You don’t have to have sex in the garden, but you can. After all who’s to see? You can’t do that in a city garden can you? Unless you want an audience.
- Wildness – This is a place of wild, unspoilt landscape. I just step outside my house and it’s jungle. My neighbours are squirrels, foxes, and trees. There will never be big roads or developments here, thankfully. The hedges are cut seasonally but personally I like when the lanes are overgrown. On summer evenings I’m reminded of Out of Africa when Meryl Streep says; ‘Every time I turn my back it wants to go wild again.‘ And Robert Redford replies, ‘And it will.’
- Air – The air here is so fresh and pure it’s as if no one ever used it before. Living here you could take it for granted but it’s the first thing visitors, and returning travellers always comment on.
- Space – Leitrim is all hills, water, and hedges, so you don’t always see the space but space we got, you know because you can feel it. With Ireland’s lowest population, around 32,000 on 1,590 km² if that means anything to you, math isn’t my strong point. But if you’re claustrophobic, or hate crowds, this is a good place to be.
- Quiet – The older and the more into creative work I get the more I value quiet. With no close neighbours I can blare music as loud as I want, but more times I prefer to listen to the birds, the wind in the trees and whistling around the house. To a ticking clock, a purring cat, rain, and a crackling fire. I really value the quiet that living here brings. It’s good for creativity and thinking. Incidentally, on our last 30 minute car journey as a family we met more horses than cars. We know because we counted, two cars and five horses. Quiet.
- Safe – Ever spent a night on your own in a country house? In winter? Every house has its noises but when outside is pitch black, can’t see a hand in front of your face dark, then a little fear goes with the territory. But like most women I find humans more scary, and they’re in short supply around here. Crime is low, practically non-existent. Community is strong. It’s probably as safe as life gets. After all, living is dangerous.
- Speaking of people… People are friendly, helpful, tolerant, and welcoming. While it’s still more conservative than I’d like, I’m proud we’re becoming a more equal, tolerant, and progressive nation. Headed in the right direction. Forward.
- Sky – A big difference between country and city is in the country you can see the night sky. And you are deeply rooted in the seasons.
- Commute – We have no commute. I work from home and Adrian, my husband, works locally.
- Schools – We have great schools on our doorstep, small numbers, no waiting lists, no discrimination, no travelling, no fees, no trouble.
- Walking – I love walking, I never want to turn back. We have plenty of places to walk, canal walks, mountain walks etc but if you’re lucky enough to have access to land as we do, that is the best kind of walking. Off-road, with no plan or destination.
- Country living is more affordable especially if you don’t have to travel for work or pay childcare. Housing and land are cheaper. Shops are few and far between so impulse buying barely exists. I’m at home with the children so we have no childcare costs. If you want to quit work or work less, living here is a good choice.
- Less stress. With all the above it goes without saying that life here is low on stress.
- More time. This is life in the slow lane. There’s no rushing or racing, no crowding, ugliness (built or societal), no fear. With little in the way of ‘things to do’ especially if you’ve young children, not a lot of money, and aren’t into sport or tv, then you have plenty of time to do the things you want to do. Like writing for example.
- Fewer Needs. I’m super grateful for everything we have and don’t take any of it for granted. I find the long winter nights hard but my needs are really simple. So long as I’m healthy and can write, have some nice wine to drink, my books, and the fires lit, I don’t really want for anything. I have my family around me, and if I get bored or the mood strikes, I could always have sex in the garden.